Another Trophy: Why the Heartland Trophy Also Needs to Go


I’ve already expressed my distaste for the Wisconsin/Nebraska Freedom Trophy, but now I have to take another issue with today’s Heartland Trophy.

To start, I think the rivalry between Wisconsin and Iowa is the second most important behind the Badgers and Gophers. But unlike Paul Bunyan’s Axe, a trophy handed out each year since 1948 (and Bunyan being a part of American folklore with ties to Minnesota and much of the midwest), the Heartland Trophy is new, with only 10 years of it in play.

I know, I know, trophies are cool for students and look nice in a trophy case. I’ve been to the Iowa State Fair and seen the trophy up close. It is impressive and BIG and something a team would want to show off. But that doesn’t mean it still has to exist.

The Iowa/Wisconsin game has given the fans a lot of great moments — Ron Dayne‘s record-breaking run, the fake punt before Montee Ball scored in the final minutes — and some heartbreak when the Hawkeyes handed Barry Alvarez a loss in his final game at Camp Randall. Only two of those games needed a trophy.

My main reason is the bull.

Having lived in both Iowa and Wisconsin, yes, there are lots of bulls. You need them to make more cows. Cows are extremely important to both states’ cultures. Cows make cheese, the life force of every single living creature in Wisconsin. Even if you’re lactose intolerant you can still wear foam cheese on your head in Dairy Solidarity.

And cows are important for Iowa, too. Have you not seen the Butter Cow? It’s very cool. *(Not making a joke about the butter cow. Up close it’s a work of sculpture art, albeit temporarily, on the same level as ice carvers and those people who make the sand castle mansions.)

But a bull is just a bull. A pig I get, you can make (a Slab of) Bacon from it, but I don’t see the connection of a bull between a game with Badgers and Hawkeyes.

Still though, win that trophy.