For those fans of the Big Ten and Pac-12 conferences’ football teams, attending the Rose Bowl in its traditional format truly represented a year of greatness. But while the tradition of the game involves a parade and football, lately the band from Stanford also decided to use the halftime show to take shots at the other team.
Cow stars in Stanford band's halftime show https://t.co/vqDfOJn6SR
— Kenneth W Buser (@eagles1feather) January 2, 2016
Dubbed “The Granddaddy of Them All,” as the original bowl game that began in 1902, the Rose Bowl is the most traditional of bowl games. Between 1947 and 2002, the champions of the respective conferences met at the Rose Bowl on January 1 each year, and now a matchup of the conferences occurs every three years when it is not used as one of the “playoff” games to the college football national championship.
This year’s game – officially the Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual – slotted the Big Ten’s second-place team, the University of Iowa, against Pac-10 champion, Stanford. Whether the fans knew it or not, agriculture is a big part of the economy for the representative states and was both cheered and jeered in off-the-field activities during the game.
While Stanford won big in the football game, they also got under the skin of Iowa fans, farmers, and some Rose Bowl lovers in general with their band's antics. Meanwhile, Iowa continues a restarted tradition that honors farmers on their helmets.
Stanford’s band “scatters” Iowans
During the show, which was in part shown on the live television broadcast, the Stanford band marched – and later tipped – an oversized Holstein cow costume onto the field, mentioned FarmersOnly.com, and created formations to show a sad farmer and a corn maze. ESPN seemed to cut out of the live coverage as Iowa fans in attendance began to “boo” the performance.
Loud, loud boo's from Iowa fans upon the conclusion of the Farmers Only halftime show. pic.twitter.com/4Kckysi4Pj
— Bryan Fischer (@BryanDFischer) January 2, 2016
— Follow News (@follownews_com) January 2, 2016
— USA TODAY Sports (@USATODAYsports) January 2, 2016
The band was actually banned from traveling to road games in May 2015 for one year, for violating school policies relating to alcohol, drugs, and asking inappropriate sexual questions. However, the band was allowed to play at home football games and certain non-athletic events, and evidently also the Rose Bowl.
Maybe fans should have seen this coming, since the band’s previous two Rose Bowl game performances also incited anger. In 2013, the band gave an “Ode to Cheese” in the game against Wisconsin and in 2014 formed the SnapChat logo (the picture-sharing phone app that started at Stanford).
But mocking the other team is often what bands like Stanford’s aim to do. Unlike many traditional marching bands, Stanford’s band is a student-rum “scatter” band that doesn’t march between formations, often using humorous stunts and non-traditional musicians and instruments. Scatter bands are found at many of the nation’s elite schools, including all in the Ivy League schools outside the land-grant Cornell University.
Of course, neither Stanford, Stanford, Calif., nor the University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, are their states’ land grant colleges. But someone might want to share with the band that California has over 5 million cattle, while Iowa had 3.9 million, according to the January 2015 cattle inventory.
Iowa continues ANF sticker
Farmers on social media did take pride in the ANF stickers on Iowa helmets, a tradition stemming from the 1980s farm crisis. In 1985 when at least one-third of farmers throughout the U.S. were suffering financially, according to federal government statistics, Iowa coach Hayden Fry slapped “ANF” logos, standing for America Needs Farmers, on his players’ helmets.
The gesture came as the Hawkeyes won the Big Ten Championship and reached the Rose Bowl, providing a big audience for the seemingly small gesture. The Iowa Farm Bureau Federation partnered with the University of Iowa to reinstate the tradition in 2011.
This year’s Rose Bowl appearance lead to more publicity for the acronym, with some discovering on Twitter what the sticker meant for the first time.
Just figured out that the Iowa ANF helmet sticker means "America Needs Farmers". Pretty neat! #RoseBowl
— Will Newton (@Willy_G_jr) January 1, 2016
As for the game itself, Iowa fans may have been extra angry due to being down 35-0 at halftime. They lost the game 45-16, after a 12-0 regular season and a loss in the Big Ten Championship to Michigan State.