Sports Journalism

Justin is the youngest sports writer for the Bootleg, “the UnAuthorized Authority on Stanford Sports, bringing blockbuster coverage of all in-season, off-season and recruiting news.” He began writing for them at the age of 12 and has never looked back. His first article, “The Muchnick Letter,” published in January 2011, urges Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck to forgo the NFL Draft and return to Stanford for his senior year. The actual letter was handed to Andrew in the team’s hotel lobby prior to his Orange Bowl victory (and just a few days before he made his decision to play one more year of college football). Oliver Luck, Andrew’s dad, confirmed Andrew and his parents had all read the “Muchnick Letter,” leading Justin and the Bootleg community to believe that the letter may have played some small role in Andrew’s decision!

YourSports, a Facebook-meets-ESPN online social sports community, recently launched and welcomed Justin as its youngest Charter Content Creator. Justin writes sports-related articles, including one about the use of goal-line technology in soccer, for YourSports.

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Justin’s View of First Loss

by Justin Muchnick

A slow move in day or a slow moving offense. Those were Saturday’s challenges

The start of the school year at Phillips Academy Andover has arrived, bringing with it an atmosphere of frantic preparation for the upcoming term. Students shuttled boxes, bookshelves, and clothes into their dorm room in a race against the clock to unpack before the first day of classes.

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Muchnick’s Take: Stanford Closes With Win

Justin Muchnick / January 2, 2015 As a relatively young Stanford football fan, I have been fortunate enough to experience consistently incredible seasons from the Cardinal. Blessed – or perhaps spoiled – by four consecutive BCS bowl berths and back-to-back Pac-12 championships…   Read the Full... read more


Justin Muchnick / The Bootleg / June 09, 2014 Preserving the Beauty of the Beautiful Game: A Case Against Goal-Line Technology July, 1966. Overtime in the World Cup Final. England’s Geoff Hurst controls a cross, turns past a German defender, and fires a shot. The ball ricochets off the bottom of the crossbar and back into the field of play. After a moment’s hesitation and a brief conference with his linesman, the referee signals for a goal. English players victoriously prance about the field while the Germans hang their heads in disbelief, but, to this day, aficionados of soccer history still debate whether the ball fully crossed the goal-line.   Read the Full... read more


Justin Muchnick / The Bootleg / January 3, 2014 Justin Muchnick, The Bootleg’s youngest contributor, was befuddled by Stanford’s playcalling during its 24-20 Rose Bowl loss to Michigan State. He believes that the Cardinal’s fatal issues were actually a recurring theme throughout the team’s three losses this season. Here’s his take on the problem and how the team should fix it. In the car with my family on the way to the 100th Rose Bowl Game, I hoped for a day chock full of Cardinal happiness. Visions of Gaffney’s hard-fought rushing touchdowns, Montgomery’s big-play receptions, and Skov’s perfectly-timed blitzes danced through my mind. However, when I trudged back to the car hours later, I realized that the most positive aspect of the day had been the pre-game Alumni Tailgate.   Read the Full... read more


Justin Muchnick / The Bootleg / November 25, 2013 Justin Muchnick, The Bootleg’s youngest writer, checks back in from boarding school on the East Coast. He’s tracked Stanford late into the night throughout this entire season, and he has some thoughts on the Cardinal’s recent Big Game victory. About this time last year, I was lamenting my restricted ability to follow Stanford football at my East Coast boarding school. But returning to Andover as a sophomore, I have learned how to fully fit the Cardinal back into my life.   Read the Full... read more


Justin Muchnick / The Bootleg / January 02, 2013 It’s a great time to be a Stanford fan. Though I’ve been blessed to grow up in an era of Cardinal success, all longtime supporters of Stanford have experienced firsthand the darker, pre-Jim Harbaugh days. However, despite our recent advances under Harbaugh and now David Shaw, the Grandaddy of Them All had proven elusive. After a 13-year hiatus from the Rose Bowl and without a Rose Bowl victory since 1972, and given Oregon’s recent Pac-10/12 Championship three-peat, it seemed somewhat farfetched for Stanford to get a chance to smell the roses. Until now.   Read the Full... read more


Justin Muchnick / The Bootleg / November 25, 2012 Last time I sat in the Stanford section of the Rose Bowl, it was to watch a 35-0 trouncing of UCLA — a win that could have easily been attributed to the once-in-a-generation combination of Andrew Luck and Jim Harbaugh. However, two years later, David Shaw and a very new Stanford football team proved that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Though Kevin Hogan may not be the second coming of Luck, his efficient performance of 160 passing yards, no interceptions, and one touchdown shows that he certainly is the serviceable quarterback that the Cardinal needs.   Read the Full... read more


Justin Muchnick / The Bootleg / November 20, 2012 When I arrived in Massachusetts this September to start ninth grade at a New England boarding school, I was excited to chart a new path in my educational career. I must admit, however, I had a few reservations: Would I be able to handle the academic rigor? Would I transition smoothly into a new social environment? … And, most importantly, would it be possible to support Stanford football as passionately as I had from my home in southern California?   Read the Full... read more


Justin Muchnick / The Bootleg / January 06, 2012 Our pal Justin Muchnick personally experienced the painful final moment in Arizona at the 2012 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. With a chance to reflect on the oh-so-sublime blend of anticipation, excitement, shock, and disappointment, our young scribe is somehow able to focus on what we can learn about the ebbs and flows of pigskin passion during our time on the planet. The fact that a team with a 1-11 record has, just five seasons later, become a nationally-recognized powerhouse with back-to-back BCS Bowl appearances astounds me. Even though Oklahoma State ended up with the three-point victory that we deserved, the Stanford Cardinal put in an extremely valiant effort and played aggressive, hard-nosed, old-school football that stands unrivaled in a college football environment dominated by fast-paced, flashy offenses.   Read the Full... read more


Justin Muchnick  / The Bootleg / November 03, 2011 In just a few seasons, our man Justin Muchnick has already experienced a lifetime of exciting college football. He has little memory of the dark years, so it’s fun to view the rising Cardinal through his eyes. You have to appreciate the sheer audacity of a bright, 13-year-old super-fan willing to take to task the offensive play-calling of an 8-0 team scoring 49.5 points per game! Kid is money! Third and four. Score tied at 27-27. Just over three minutes to play. Andrew Luck takes the snap, looks for a receiver, and . . . interception? That’s how I saw it, from the small but mighty Stanford rooting section at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Perched in Row 70, I squinted as I watched our National Championship dreams crumbling before my eyes. The game had seen a sudden outbreak of Stanford three-and-outs, errant kickoffs from a backup kicker, and a barrage of uncharacteristic penalties. Now, to my dismay, it appeared as if it would end up representing an infamous night in Cardinal history. Then, a glimpse of hope.   Read the Full... read more


Justin Muchnick / The Bootleg / January 12, 2011 The Bootleg is pleased to make available on a world-wide exclusive basis the remarkable contents of a personal support letter young Justin Muchnick reportedly handed to Stanford star quarterback Andrew Luck on 1-02-11 at the Fontainebleu donut shop. In this instant classic pièce de corréspondence, our man Justin crafts his compelling case as to why #12 should remain at Stanford for one more year. Dear Andrew, Normally, when a college football phenom is the main contender for the number one NFL draft pick and a multimillion dollar signing bonus, it seems as though the obvious choice is to enter the draft, not stay at college for one more year. But for you, a true student-athlete, your choice is much less obvious than most think. Not only are you a great quarterback, you are a great quarterback at one of the most prestigious universities in the country that happens to be ranked number four in the BCS poll. Staying at Stanford for one more year would benefit you much more than some might realize. … Read the Full... read more


Justin Muchnick / The Bootleg / January 10, 2011 The Bootleg is excited to mark the jarring journalistic debut of junior sportswriter Justin Muchnick, a pigskin-passionate Stanford sports fan who made a memorable boys’ trip to Miami with his Cardinal-crazed family and has agreed to share his exciting experience with us all. We hope to see “much” more from our main man “J-Much”! A Seventh Grader’s Perspective on the Orange Bowl Experience Since my arrival at the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach on January 1, 2011, the Stanford football team had seemed exceedingly calm and relaxed. Matt Masifilo could be found in the lobby sitting on a couch and “people-watching,” Andrew Luck was spotted buying a cupcake from a pastry shop in the hotel, and Shayne Skov raised some eyebrows of hotel staff due to his striking Mohawk hairstyle. My brothers and I meticulously tracked down every wide receiver, tight end, running back, special team member, and tunnel worker that we possibly could, making friends with people such as Drew Terrell’s mom and Sione Fua’s dad (who is, unbelievably, bigger than Sione himself!). It wasn’t as easy as it sounded, either. The sheer size of the hotel made even Fua (and his dad, too) seem small.   Read the Full... read more

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