Friday, July 29, 2011

"Heroes Game" Label Goes Over With a Thud

After several days buildup, Nebraska and Iowa unveiled the name of the newest "trophy game" this morning in Chicago.  The ridicule of the "Heroes Game" designation was immediate and nearly universal. It's almost the same response the Big Ten's "Legends" and "Leaders" concept received. It's a concept that emerged from a corporate boardroom without ever being reviewed with fans. It's a concept that falls flat, and gives credence to critics who discuss the arrogance of the Big Ten.

It's hard to argue with that. It's a lousy name, and totally unnecessary. The "Iowa vs. Nebraska game (presented by Fareway)" doesn't need a trophy before the series really kicks off. It's reminiscent of how the Big XII tried to force a rivalry between Nebraska and Colorado on Thanksgiving weekend. It never went anywhere because (a) Colorado was seemingly bad more often they were good and (b) some Colorado fans acted like complete imbeciles whenever they saw somebody from Nebraska. Tom Osborne and Nebraska know this all too well, which makes it disappointing that they pursued this trophy designation in the first place.

I know the backstory about honoring fans who contribute to their communities, and it's definitely a positive addition to the game. But it's out of place being part of the name of the game, and it has no business being the identifying mark of the game. People will never learn about the reason for the name, and ridicule both programs for considering themselves "heroic".  And a trophy?  Please. Just because 13 other games in the Big Ten have trophies doesn't mean that Nebraska-Iowa have to have a trophy in year one. Someone in the Big Ten conference offices should have reminded both schools about the last artificial trophy.  Michigan State and Penn State play for the oft-ridiculed "Land Grant Trophy", which is ugly and meaningless. I dare say that the Nebraska/Iowa trophy is likely to result in the same result.

A trophy should have meaning, and should naturally result from the rivalry. Doing this now is fake and forced. It's a complete waste of time and effort.  It actually takes away from the series.  It's good that Nebraska and Iowa are going to play an annual series now.

It just royally sucks that somebody is going to insist that it be called the "Heroes Game".  (Which I won't, from here going forward.  It will be the "Iowa vs. Nebraska game, presented by Fareway".  Fareway is an Iowa based grocery chain (like Hy-Vee) that, unlike Hy-Vee, has great prices, great customer service, and a tremendous meat department.  Try their Bratburgers at your next tailgate; it's a bratwurst without a casing that you eat like a hamburger.  Awesome for a tailgate.)

Heroes Game?  Ugh.

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