The legend of Floyd of Rosedale

The story behind the Minnesota-Iowa rivalry game.

by Adam Richard

The history behind the Minnesota and Iowa rivalry game trophy is clouded by accused racism, a potential riot and a prize hog.

In 1934, Iowa had a star tailback in Ozzie Simmons. Simmons was an African-American who started for a major college football program, which was extremely rare at that time.

During the 1934 game, there were accusations of dirty play by the Gophers, including kneeing Simmons repeatedly in the ribs. Gophers head coach Bernie Bierman said that they treated Simmons like any other player. Simmons, many years later, stated that the Gophers did hit him late and try to pile on extra hits.

The Iowa fansâÄô perception was that the Gophers had played dirty and they let that be known through threatening letters to Bierman. Bierman had requested a police escort for the team, and Iowa Gov. Clyde Herring said that if Simmons was roughed up in the game, the crowd wouldnâÄôt stand for it. Minnesota feared a riot and Bierman threatened to break athletic ties.

Then Minnesota Gov. Floyd B. Olson sent a telegram to Herring that said, âÄúDear Clyde, Minnesota folks are excited over your statement about the Iowa crowd lynching the Minnesota football team. If you seriously think Iowa has any chance to win, I will bet you a Minnesota prize hog against an Iowa prize hog that Minnesota wins today.âÄù

The telegram lightened the mood, and after Minnesota won 13-7 Herring didnâÄôt welch on his bet. He brought a prize-winning Iowa hog from Rosedale FarmS to Minnesota and it was named after the Minnesota governor.

The Floyd of Rosedale trophy has been awarded to the winner of the interstate rivalry game each year since. Minnesota leads the all-time series 40-34-2.