Every sports reference in The Incredible Hulk

“This is a whole new level of weird.”

It’s Marvel Cinematic Universe Week at SB Nation and across our team brands! We’re using the superior superhero franchise to guide our coverage for this week, as we pass the two-month mark without sports.

Here at Fear the Fin, I’m going to take on a very stupid mission: to watch every film in the MCU and document every reference made to sports throughout. I’m playing a little fast and loose with my definition of “sports reference,” but I’m going to try to avoid making the same jokes more than once in this series. You’ll see what I mean.

That’s 23 films, totaling 50 hours, by 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, May 10.

(I’m aware the week starts on Sunday, but the next theme week doesn’t start until Monday and I got a late start on this, okay? I’m cutting myself some slack to make this ridiculous thing a complete project.)

I’ll be watching in a chronological order (some films take place around the same time, so it doesn’t matter too much) that is dubbed the “spoiler” version, as post-credit scenes will contain spoilers for movies further along in the timeline, as opposed to release order.

I’ve set up a storystream to help you keep track of each post as they go up — which won’t be on any kind of set schedule, since I’m gonna be putting some weird hours into this thing in order to pull it off. No worries, though — that’s the whole point of having a centralized location. I’d suggest reading them in order, but hey, I’m not your mom.

Reminder that time stamps are approximate, not exact, and may vary based on streaming services.

It’s time to meet Bruce Banner. No, not that one. The guy from Fight Club.

The Incredible Hulk (2008)

Director: Louis Leterrier, Written by Zak Penn

00:04:12: Bruce Banner is flipping through television channels in his home in Brazil. He skips past a soccer game as a goal is scored. Not much of a soccer guy, I guess.

00:04:59: So perhaps if you don’t do parkour, you have to do mixed martial arts to be an Avenger — which still pretty much counts out Tony Stark, who so far can only do “dirty boxing.” Anyway, here we see Bruce training in some kind of martial arts.

00:18:29: While on the run from the United States military, Bruce disrupts a neighborhood game of soccer being played on an enclosed cement court. The city is basically built up the mountains, so I was actually a little curious how kids played outdoors while watching earlier establishing shots.

He ends up running for a really long time, with an ever-racing heart rate. I could never.

I guess, to be fair … it does eventually turn him into the Hulk.

00:27:30: Blonsky says the Hulk “threw a forklift like it was a softball.” Forklifts weigh between 4000 and 9000 pounds. A softball is between 6.25 and 7 ounces, with 7 ounces being regulation for adult play.

It definitely wasn’t that easy. Maybe more like a regulation shot, which weighs roughly 16 pounds for men. That forklift still had a little bit of weight to it.

00:34:46: Bruce walks past two guys throwing a frisbee on Culver University’s campus. A soccer net is behind them in the distance.

00:35:35: Background frisbee players are shown again, though they’ve switched from a red disc to a white one.

Also, this is 2008 — how was no one on that campus playing hacky sack?

01:01:00: Referencing the now-super serumed up Blonsky, a doctor says, “He’s got a heart like a machine. Never seen anything like it, outside of a racehorse.” Thoroughbred racehorses can have a resting heart rate as low as 40 beats per minute (bpm), with an average active heart rate of 223 bpm while racing. Though the resting heart rate in humans can be similar if they’re also extraordinary athletes of their species, normal resting heart rate is between 60 and 100 bpm. Active heart rates in humans typically run lower, with an average maximum of 220.

A heart like a racehorse could possibly explode, basically.

01:11:26: Blonsky says “Let’s level the playing field a little bit.” I was curious about this phrase because in field sports … the field is already level. I didn’t realize that it’s actually a concept in commerce about theoretically playing on an uneven field. The More You Know!

01:13:25: Dr. Sterns is seen exiting a building wearing a light blue teeshirt with what looks like a yellow screen-printed basketball and the number 59 on it. The name “WILDCATS” is printed underneath the ball. I can’t read the words on above, and he has a blue cardigan over it like a total hipster dweeb.

Later on, he takes the sweater off. On the back of the shirt is what looks like another basketball, with the number 10 inside it.

The words on top are clear now. They say “Science Magnet”? So is that not a basketball? What is this shirt? Why would the costume department do this?

Are they gonna kill this dude and seriously not explain the shirt?


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