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2020 Annual Hawkeye Festivus Airing of Grievances

It’s a Festivus for the rest of us!

Image from @KingsCowboyHat

It’s finally here. That special holiday you’ve been waiting for the last 364 days. That’s right, it’s officially Festivus! That most special of holidays that has something for everyone. No, none of that commercial and religious stuff you might get with other holidays this time of year, this is a Festivus for the rest of us!

What is Festivus, you ask? Well young buck who clearly has poor taste in evening television entertainment, have a look for yourself:

Now, as is tradition, we’ll begin with the annual airing of grievances.

We got a lot of problems with you people and now you’re gonna hear about ‘em!


In a year like 2020, it’s really hard to limit the number of grievances aired. I mean, putting aside the horrible health crisis and it’s real life impacts on millions of people, the impact on all of us from a sports standpoint has been unbelievable. For starters, the wrestling team lost a likely national title because of COVID, we missed our chance at a Big Ten and NCAA Tournament run in 2020 and despite getting something out of it, the football season was a disaster.

But beyond the impacts of COVID, I’ve still got plenty I’d like to yell into the void about.

Can we get a QB that connects on even close to 50% of his passes downfield? That feels like a small ask but for whatever reason, QBs come to Iowa City and all of a sudden their ability to connect on long throws over the top just disappears.

How about a little consistency out of our OC for one God-forsaken season? I mean really? We’re gonna throw 53 times in a game where we are spotted 17 points? Unreal.

And when combined, we get what we always get: all the what-ifs to hound us into oblivion over the next half century. After watching the Big Ten Championship game, all the fears about the death star in Columbus melted away and frankly, this is an Iowa team that was an OC brain fart and some QB consistency away from an actual shot at the playoff. AND NOW WE GET TO REPLAY ALL THE DETAILS OF HOW THAT DIDN’T HAPPEN FOR EVER.

On the basketball side, there is clearly less to be upset about. We’re staring at a top-5 team with the best player to ever wear an Iowa jersey before our very eyes. It’s a joy.


Can we get some freaking recruiting juice from this? For once, can we use on-court success to build something for the future?

And like the rest of you, I’d sure like a little better rebounding and improved defense. But let me tell you what really gets me going: fans that b*tch and moan about defense and rebounding on a team that’s top-5 in the country and act like they’re watching some Todd Lickliter production.




Bartt Pierce

This is an unprecedented time in world history. At least for 100 years in the past and another 100 in the future. In the scheme of things, sports aren’t that big of a deal. That said, you’re on this website because they are kind of a big deal. Iowa football is pretty much an unhealthy obsession of mine. I let the outcome of a game determine my mood and mental well-being. A loss makes the entire week a struggle. So, it’s not a surprise that after losing to Purdue I was pretty much bumming. Purdue should never beat us. David Bell needs to take his talents elsewhere. Good riddance, young man, you can ball.

Our boys jumping out on top of the Fighting Fitzy’s 17-0 made everything right in the world. And then, with an inexperienced quarterback, who didn’t have an offseason, playing in his second game in college, was asked to throw the ball 50 times. 50?!?! 50?!?!!? We led for much of the game. As stated the Hawks jumped out to an early lead as the result of some Northwestern miscues. The Hawkeyes were running the football adequately on the day (an average of 3.3 yards per carry). And Brian Ferentz decided to go all Texas Tech Patrick Mahomes on it and throw it 50?!?!!? times. I’d love to see a simulation play this game out starting the second quarter with the Hawks up 17-0. I would have the simulation run 3 plays up the middle and punt. Every time the rest of the game. My guess? The Hawks win 95% of the time. Uggggggggg. I have officially become the “Get off my lawn; run the football” old guy and I’m ok with that. Go Hawks!


Here is my grievance with Iowa football: the wrong thing is prioritized. For whatever reason, I was searching for Kirk Ferentz’s contract and was reminded of the ridiculous $500k bonus he receives for Iowa winning 8 games. Fine, whatever. But what’s truly ridiculous is how he gets just $200k for winning the division or $250k for winning the conference.

Can we flip those priorities a little bit? Maybe $500k for the division and $200k for getting 8 wins. I mean, if you’re in the conference championship game, the math says you’ve probably got 8 wins.

The current incentive structure does not force Kirk Ferentz to prioritize every conference game equally. It allows him to over-index on the trophies (a banked 3 wins/season the last 6 years) while feasting on the dregs of the conference (Illinois) and non-conference opponents, save North Dakota State.

Kirk Ferentz’s legacy, right now, is longevity. He is the Cal Ripken, Jr. of the Big Ten. it would be really nice to see him press to get into the conference championship just a time or two before he retires.


There is a lot to complain about regarding the state of the world these days, but things are looking pretty rosy for the black and gold, and what few gripes there are to be made about Iowa athletics over the past month and a half or so have already been aired by myself and others in articles across this site. However, when the real world crashes into my perfect little sports bubble, that’s when I start to get irritated.

As a Hawkeye fan who resides in the Mid-Atlantic, Iowa’s yearly trips to play Maryland are basically the only chances I get to watch my beloved team in person. Now that Iowa FINALLY has a basketball team that I fully expect could beat Maryland at the XFINITY Center, the game will be played with no fans in the arena. So, unless I can manage to become very close to the Garza family very quickly, I’ll be stuck watching my Hawkeyes run the Terps out of their own building from the comfort of my couch. To be clear, my gripe isn’t with the Big Ten for limiting attendance at the game, but rather with the state of the world being such that the simple pleasure of going to watch my favorite team play in person has become too unsafe to be tenable. Do better, 2021.


It feels a little irrational to complain about Hawkeye sports right now when a few months ago we were not sure if we would get any of them this fall/winter. BUT....I’m not here to be rational.

First of all, Gary Barta, Iowa’s Athletic Director, is the current head of the CFP and they continue to give this football team no recognition. I get it, they lost to Purdue and Northwestern to start the season, but these rankings should be about the best teams right now. The current version of the Hawkeyes doesn’t let either of those teams within single digits the entire second half. To keep Iowa stagnant in the rankings is wrong and misguided. Then again, this is exactly what we should expect from a Gary Barta lead group.

Now to get me really fired up. Why in the world are we not able to get to watch the Hawkeye wrestling team right now?!?!?! Last spring they were robbed of a National Title and now we are robbed of getting to watch them at all until 2021. Phil Parker and I share this reaction.


I’m a simple man, with a simple grievance:

Stop piping crowd noise into Carver. On TV, it sounds like me when I’m trying to imitate the classic screaming sound of a TIE Fighter when I’m playing with my Baby Yoda action figure. I want to be able to hear Fran McCaffery’s profanities crystal clear when watching at home.

The fake gargling sounds they’re currently force feeding us will not stand. I think Jordan Bohannon needs to get off Twitch, quit dropping benign fire emoji-laden indictments of the NCAA no one disagrees with, and make a stand about how bad the Carver crowd noise is.

This is the hill I will die on.

Now, grab your aluminum pole and air those grievances. Get them all out! Once you’ve all had your turn, we’ll move on to the feats of strength. Festivus is not over until someone pins Daviyon Nixon!