Hero Complex: Big Ten Adds Pretentious, Douchey Vibe To Iowa-Nebraska Rivalry


I don't ask for much, Big Ten, but please keep your goddamn queefcore out of my rivalry game.

The most newsworthy thing to emerge from Big Ten Media Days might just be the fact that the Iowa-Nebraska rivalry game now has a name: "The Heroes Game."  Yes, two teams from Iowa and Nebraska are representing the Legends Division in "The Heroes Game."  Iowans and Nebraskans tend to be characterized by humility and a lack of pretension.  They are not typically known for their braggadocio or their boasting.  And yet here we are with "The Heroes Game."

To be fair, there are some elements of "The Heroes Game" that are not objectionable -- that are even praiseworthy.  Recognizing the good deeds of individual Iowans and Nebraskans is nice; leaving aside the maxim that good deeds are worth doing with or without recognition, there's nothing exactly wrong with celebrating good deeds.  And raising money for the Nebraska and Iowa chapters of the Red Cross is very commendable; the Nebraska-Iowa games are going to generate a lot of interest and excitement (and, oh yeah, money), so putting some of that to genuinely good use is a fine idea.

But "The Heroes Game"?  You could sum up the reaction to that announcement on Twitter with one statement: /dismissing wanking gesture.  To be sure, making decisions based on likely Twitter reaction is not exactly smart business.  But it's not irrelevant either and this is yet another new branding idea -- on top of "Legends" and "Leaders" and those godawful end-of-the-year awards -- that's invited scorn and mockery for the Big Ten and its leaders.  At some point maybe they'll get the hint and they'll just stop naming things.  (They won't.)  On the bright side, it won't be the first rivalry game that's never referred to by its "official" name (see: Texas-Oklahoma, Florida-Georgia).

They debuted a logo, but no trophy -- yet.  Apparently it's still being designed or constructed.  Or maybe they decided it wasn't pretentious enough so they sent it back to find a way to make it seem more arrogant and out of touch.  The plan is for Iowa to bring it to the game this November and unveil it then.  Based on the Big Ten's recent track record with things like this, I'm sure they'll come up with something tastef-hahahahahahaha.  They'll just have a statue depicting a bunch of random Iowan and Nebraskan citizens re-enacting the famous scene of planting the flag at Iwo Jima while crucified versions of Nile Kinnick and Brook Berringer look down on them.  HEROISM.  NOBILITY.  SACRIFICE.  FREEDOM ISN'T FREE.

Mind you, there's still a way to save things.  (Well, other than latching on to the "Meth Wars" concept, although I concede that might be difficult for Iowa and Nebraska officials to formally embrace.)  It's even mentioned in the official press release announcing the name:

And, while the goal is the same as other "trophy games" – win the struggle on the gridiron and claim the trophy — the Hawkeyes and Cornhuskers won’t use their annual meeting to determine ownership of football bragging rights for the Corn Belt exclusively.

Corn Belt?  BOOM.  Take a wrestling (or boxing) title belt and slap some representations of corn on it?  Now that's a great idea for a trophy. 

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