Off Tackle Empire is a part of the SB Nation Network, which happens to be a part of the Vox Media Empire, which also owns Vox, which likes to use explainers to give insight into things that you were too afraid to ask questions about. With the Heroes Game coming up, I thought it would be good to answer questions that you, the average person has about this contest.
An incredibly basic definition of the Heroes Game
Let's go to the Heroes Game website for their definition:
The "Heroes Game," scheduled for the Friday after Thanksgiving, pits conference powerhouses Iowa and Nebraska in what promises to become an epic battle for bragging rights in the nation’s heartland. The two teams will be playing for more than a trophy, however; with the help of Hy-Vee, they will use the national stage created by the game to recognize individuals for acts of heroism in their communities.
So basically, the Heroes Game is a football game between Nebraska and Iowa that is a corporate-sponsored event because YAY CORPORATE SPONSOSHIPS!
Hold on, so what you're telling me is this is a manufactured rivalry?
Well, it depends on how you decide to take it. I mean, yes, technically this is a really contrived name. No, most people are not actually referring to this as the Heroes Game. Yes, it does seem like both Universities are playing into the, "Hey, extra money!" trap here. But we'll get to that in a moment.
Wait a minute, what is 'Hy-Vee'?
Excellent question. Hy-Vee is a grocery chain based out of Des Moines, IA. According to Wikipedia, Hy-Vee currently has 240 stores across Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wisconsin. If you haven't been to a Hy-Vee, think about your average suburban grocery store, add in a pretty decent salad bar and Chinese fast food joint, and get a plus produce department, and there you go.
So, your stupid game is a cash grab?
Let's go over to our friend StewMonkey for that answer...
"Of course not. There are real heroe$ all acro$$ the$e two great $tate$, and the two team$, along with HyVee, find it incredibly important to recognize them."
So let's get back to the Heroes part. What exactly is a hero?
Um, I mean, you know what a hero is, right? But in this context, each state nominates and wins the, "this person did a good deed above and beyond the call of duty." award. This is not a bad thing per say, but what it has to do with football and this game is beyond me. Really, you think bowl game sponsorship is dumb? This kind of takes the cake. Now, all that said, I'd be totally cool if this was just the Heroes Game without a lot of the corporate hoopla. The Universities honor individuals, pictures are taken, and then two football teams try to murder each other on the field. Is that what happens here? No. It's all hoopla and then we pretend like either of these teams has any history outside of, "We live in neighboring states and both kind of dislike playing Iowa State for varying reasons."
Uh, Jesse? Chill.
So is there a dumb logo?
Okay, maybe not the worst, but let's take some time to properly identify all of the things I hate because why not.
1) We get it, Iowa is yellow, Nebraska is red. Those don't contrast well unless you're McDonalds and/or Iowa State. Moreover, it's not necessary to make a logo like this garish. We get that the two teams have different colors. How about something like blue letters? Or like, black or silver or something?
2) That crest with the HG is so dumb. I have not seen that logo without the unnecessary words so basically we're being redundant because BOOM HEROES GAME!
3) The colored wheat or whatever is dumb.
4) Do we have wheat in Iowa and Nebraska? Or is that Corn silk? What's going on here?
5) We have two states that are farming community based and this is what we came up with?
6) In case you forgot, this is Hy-Vee sponsored
Okay, those are admittedly weak takes, but this does not take away from the fact that this is a dumb logo.
Would this game matter if it were not the Heroes Game?
This is probably my biggest gripe. You cannot convince me that Nebraska and Iowa is not going to develop into a really fun game each year. There is suddenly a lot of hate flowing from both sides, and with the stakes what they are for Iowa, and the fun spoiler role + good vibes moving into recruiting for Nebraska, you have got to think that adding this nonsense is just squelching the momentum. Yes, this game would matter because they are division mates with geographic familiarity. Why do we need a boring trophy?
Speaking of which...
Well, it's a trophy?
Awesome, so it looks like this is just all window dressing for what will hopefully be a good game?
Yeah, but what else is new. I guess the bottom line is that this is a corporate and somewhat silly cash grab. Please do not feel like you have to call it the Heroes Game. Please feel free to offer up better names. Oh, and please feel free to mock all parties involved for the ridiculous corporate name dropping happening in pressers. Because come on, not everything needs a sponsor.
Ok, that's cool. Can we talk about the game? Are these teams any good?
LOL, no. Neither of these teams have played anybody. Of course they're not good.