Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Give credit to Iowa and Nebraska for this: the concept of naming their new annual rivalry game the "Heroes Game" and using it as a platform for celebrating "local heroes" is an original, engaging, endearingly Midwestern concept.
So it's a minor shame the trophy unveiled this week to be awarded to the winner -- and upon which the names of said heroes will be engraved -- doesn't quite live up to the uniqueness of the concept. Here it is:
The base -- with its classic look, engraving areas, and plaque celebrating the two programs involved -- is exactly what you'd want. But did the crown piece have to be so completely, utterly generic?
Remove the Iowa and Nebraska logos, and you're looking at a metallic football that could be attached to any trophy for any rivalry in the country. It's a fine line between classy and boring -- this is still an improvement on, say, the corporate monstrosity that was the original design for this year's Iowa-Iowa State game -- but this strays too far over that line towards "eh." Couldn't the "leaf" details at least be a nod towards the much more Iowa-Nebraska-centric corn than wheat or, we guess, laurels? (Though you don't want to go too far in that direction, either.)
So overall, a solid effort, with just that little bit extra missing ... which, come to think of it, is a lot like Iowa's and Nebraska's 2011 seasons. Maybe the designers know what they're doing afterall.