our crappy "fans"

I became a fan around 2007 to 2008, so I came in without the full history, but I studied and researched, from Wikipedia to the Gophers Illustrated book. Looking back, I think the word "erosion" comes to mind.

Just from reading back, it seems like the move to the Metrodome and the Jim Wacker years seemed to erode the football support. Then the Mason years created a stigma if you will around the Gophers with the late collapses, where the narrative became Minnesota can string together OK seasons, but can't get over the hump in big games.

I think turning that around will take time and consistency, and fortunately the Gophers have been doing some of that since 2012 with regular bowl appearances, although losses like the one in 2015 to Michigan don't help. A season like this can do a lot to build interest, but for sustainability it will have to be a multi-year thing.
 

Cruze

Active member
Minnesota sports fans are NEVER going to buy into Gopher sports teams the way they buy into the Vikings, Twins, Wolves, and Wild. There are more than a few reasons for this but probably the biggest one is the extreme dislike (if not hatred) that a large percentage of Minnesotans have for the U of M and everything associated with it. Although it is primarily a liberal/conservative and urban/rural thing, there are other reasons for it as well. There is evidence for it everywhere. I see it all the time with my family, friends, co-workers, and just being out and about in public.

The state legislature is a prime example of where dislike for the U exists. Republican legislators never seem to miss an opportunity to criticize the U for it's failings and oppose their funding requests no matter how well justified they are. This always gets covered in the news media and people everywhere in the state see it and read it on a regular basis. None of this was happening when I was growing up in the 1960's and the Gopher football team was winning Big 10 championships and Rose Bowls. It was a time when the love for the U as an educational institution and economic driver for the state was almost universal among Minnesotans.
 
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You can't make other people care about something as much as you care.

IMHO, MN fans are notorious bandwagon-jumpers. If a team is playing well or getting positive coverage in the media, they'll show up- until that team loses, and then they vanish just as fast as they showed up.

If the Gophers go 8-0, they might pick up a few more casual fans. If they can win 10 games this year, that might result in some additional season-ticket sales for next year. If they can win a Conference Title or Win a Rose Bowl, you might see more consistent sellouts (as long as the weather is decent).

But, the hard-core fan base for Gopher Football remains about the same - IMHO about 25,000 to 30,000 tops. that fan base might have hit a new low after MegaTongue jacked up the seat donation fees and drove off some long-time season ticket holders. Building that base back up will require more than winning a few games. it will take consistent long-term success - 9- or 10-win seasons, playing in Conf title games, etc.

this isn't the 1940's or 50's. The Gophers are competing against all the other pro teams to sell tickets, and they are competing against 60" 4K TV sets. that is a hard sell.
 

Gold Rush

Active member
This is Gopherhole. Around here if you quote a memory from Mason's last season in 2007, you will hear it from someone reminding you that his last season was 2006 within seconds.

But if you are like me, you are the "Gopher guy" among your friend group and you encounter a staggering low level of Gopher or college football knowledge in general when you walk among the masses, the unwashed Viking fan masses. Or reading comments on Twitter/Facebook etc.

Gophers have "never won anything"

Gophers will "blow it, like all the other MN sports teams" (because the writer somehow thinks anything but an undefeated national championship season is "blowing it")

Start your season and it is "yeah, win some games and then get back to me"
Win some games and it is "Yeah, but talk to me after you have won some Big 10 games."
Win some B1g 10 games and it is "yeah, but beat Wisconsin and get back to me"
Beat Wisconsin and it is "Yeah, but they were bad last year so beat them and and Ohio State and then get back to me"
String together an undefeated stretch on the schedule and it is "yeah but they'll collapse when they play the good teams"
Close games with non-power 5 opponents? Those aren't wins. They are losses.
Blow out some teams and it is "yeah, but those early games that were close - unacceptable"

For these never ending naysayers, the current narrative is the Gophers have had a "cream puff schedule" to this point therefore the win loss record doesn't count somehow and it is a joke to think the team is ranked. The Gophers definitely shouldn't be anywhere near being ranked because of their cream puff schedule (emphatically stated as fact with zero knowledge how hard all the other ranked team's schedules are).

I will readily say it is fun to see the overall level of interest rise though, and that is displayed within the same comment sections where I have cherry picked the negative themes here. There is a lot of positivity too, and I will be very curious to see how this translates to home game attendance.

Any of you come across similar stuff, have interesting conversations with clueless "fans," or pee yourself into the wind in an attempt to educate anyone yet, during the good Gopher start to the season?
The true Gopher fans have had to endure possibly more adversities and heartbreaks than just about any collegiate team over the past 60 years. Whenever I hear another fan from another school complain about how they have had some bad breaks I just laugh. We have seen more bad calls, unbelievably bad endings, meltdowns, injuries, blowouts and heartbreaks than anyone and we have not had that really special moment ending in a championship or Rose Bowl either. For whatever reason, we got hooked on this team and been there for all of this. You tend to enjoy and savor any good moments that you get a little more and the hope is always there that things will somehow get better. And if things fall apart, we will be back for more next year. I think there are thousands more that want to jump in but they are waiting. With the absolutely pathetic sports teams we have in this area, they are starving for a winning team to get behind.

For those waiting to get in, we are almost halfway trough the season and it's been a pretty enjoyable ride so far. A lot of people are starting to get interested and they are seeing a potential story developing. I am particularly noticing this on KFAN, with the exception of PA who will always be a shill for the Vikings. As for the Gophers - I welcome any new fans and hope we start getting more people to go to the games! If we can take down Nebraska and Rutgers, the crowds will be coming back in force especially if it is decent weather.
 
Nice group therapy thread. Jerry Kill rekindled my interest in the Gopher football program. Fleck has continued it. I bought my first season tickets during the Holtz era and dumped them in the Wacher era. Mason's years were bi-polar, so many ups and downs that for me, I had to condition myself not get optimistic. Like Shawshank, being a Gopher football fan, hope goes to die except that it doesn't.
 

A_Slab_of_Bacon

Active member
Nice group therapy thread. Jerry Kill rekindled my interest in the Gopher football program. Fleck has continued it. I bought my first season tickets during the Holtz era and dumped them in the Wacher era. Mason's years were bi-polar, so many ups and downs that for me, I had to condition myself not get optimistic. Like Shawshank, being a Gopher football fan, hope goes to die except that it doesn't.
I feel like Jerry rekindled it but tragically right at the peak after 2014 where local media was hyped about a NYD bowl game and all that ... 2015 followed and it was just a huge kick in the balls for that momentum :(

Sort of like if Mr. Smith went to Washington ... and then turned around and went back home.

So close.
 
I think there is generally a difference between NFL and college fans. Obviously, many of us are fans of both, but to me, it seems that a much larger percentage of Vikings fans are "fans" of the party atmosphere and not so much for the team itself. They are very casual and might occasionally regurgitate something that one of their friends or someone on TV said about the team. I think they are the most difficult ones to convert to Gopher football.

Winning big games and having very successful seasons will bring in more fan support, but, at this point, it will probably take multiple winning seasons to have a significant effect.
 
I'm often the weird Gopher Guy too. It's kind of funny that I've come across some major Gopher naysayers that are major fans of the Vikings, the ultimate in futile sports teams. Just about every host on KFAN fits that bill.
This thread is SO THERAPEUTIC!!! All of us weird Gopher fans going through the same crap. Hi, my name is Gus and I've been a Gophers' fan for 48 years....
 

MirandaB

Member
I love and follow college football. My coworkers will politely ask how the Gophers are doing, but then either don't care, or don't take what I'm saying as legitimtae. EXCEPT when there is drama around the Gophers, then everyone is an expert and has an opinion. This town loves to rip the U. I also get the experience of being in conversations with others where the other person will look at me like "thanks little lady, let the menfolk talk now." As if my husband is going to know what's going on with recruiting, etc! Thank goodness for you guys (not that you might not roll your eyes at me, but I appreciate the information!).
 

GopherVotary

Active member
I'm the "Gopher Guy" at work and amongst friends. The question I always get is "did you attend the U"? When I answer no (Mankato State) the response is typically shock that as a die hard Gopher fan I did not attend the U. My response is "does everyone in the state of Nebraska attend NU"? But they are all or mostly Husker fans.
This is my case exactly.

I know so many Viking fans who laugh at my Gopher fandom. One of several reasons why I love to see the Vikings lose. Fortunately they do a lot of that.
 

PMWinSTP

Active member
Part of the problem is that we have so many different options. Pro teams; Vikings, Twins, Timberwolves, Wild. Minor league; Saints, Loons (yes a minor league by quality standards big time). Many college sports, many high school sports, in addition to all the theater and the arts in the area.

People want to go to something that is good and don't want to waste their money supporting so-so activities. The exception would be the Vikings and they draw from Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota, and Iowa for the most part meaning a larger demographics.
Yep. Seems like we have this discussion at least once a year. We have the benefit of all these entertainment options and can pick and choose which to support, which primarily works against Gopher football and basketball (men's hockey to a lesser extent). Add to that what others have posted about the long standing up and down nature of Gopher football and basketball, and you are left with a core group of fans. This will not change until there is a sustained elevated level of success in the programs.
 

gopherjay

Active member
Yawn, 98% percent of fans talk like this especially when there team has not won a pivotal game in decades, like us.
 

RodentRampage

Active member
Nice group therapy thread. Jerry Kill rekindled my interest in the Gopher football program. Fleck has continued it. I bought my first season tickets during the Holtz era and dumped them in the Wacher era. Mason's years were bi-polar, so many ups and downs that for me, I had to condition myself not get optimistic. Like Shawshank, being a Gopher football fan, hope goes to die except that it doesn't.
I remember going to a restaurant for lunch, trying to watch the Gophers and some jerks kept going "touchdown Jackrabbits!" over and over like it was the funniest thing in the world. I do think it's gotten better since Jerry Kill.
 

Schnauzer

Pretty Sure You are Wrong
That's the other thing. People really liked Jerry Kill but PJ Fleck has waaaaaay too much of a personality and says words and stuff to the point there is a significant portion of the would-be fan base that simply can't get "used car salesman" out of their heads regardless of how many games the team wins, players graduate, and children's hospital patients are comforted. Minnesotans want their coaches to have the appearance of hard working, humorless, salt-of-the-earth types and deviations from that are hard to overcome. Bud Grant, Jerry Kill, Tom Kelly, etc. That's our type. Lou Holtz was the rare exception but bolting to Notre Dame was all the confirmation many people needed that a personality is the devil.
 

bigtenchamps1899

credulous skeptic
i mean people become inured to the habits of their team. if ohio state went on a 60 year mediocre to ****ty streak, their fans would look like us.

it's gonna take a generation to break the pathological mindset.
 

gopherdudepart2

Active member
That's the other thing. People really liked Jerry Kill but PJ Fleck has waaaaaay too much of a personality and says words and stuff to the point there is a significant portion of the would-be fan base that simply can't get "used car salesman" out of their heads regardless of how many games the team wins, players graduate, and children's hospital patients are comforted. Minnesotans want their coaches to have the appearance of hard working, humorless, salt-of-the-earth types and deviations from that are hard to overcome. Bud Grant, Jerry Kill, Tom Kelly, etc. That's our type. Lou Holtz was the rare exception but bolting to Notre Dame was all the confirmation many people needed that a personality is the devil.

Pat Reusse has perpetuated this used car salesmen gimmick with his Twitter rips, and making fun of PJ'isms. You would swear that Grumpy old man is a Gopher fan but he sure likes to dog out Gopher football, with rips and snide comments for some reason. At lease once a year he dust off a column that you would have sworn you have read 15 to 20 times already that is a back handed compliment or some hidden rip of past Gopher coaches, alumns and season's. Jim Souhan is no better and he really stirred it up when he ripped Coach Kill and his Epilepsy situation.
My immediate family are all Gopher fans and a few close friends. Co-workers, and casual friends all Hawkeye, Badger, Spartan, Wolverine, Cyclones, and Boilermakers fans. When you mostly have worked for large firms it tends to be that way that a lot of your Co-workers graduated from other schools. We have U grad's where I work, but we tend to be quieter and not as boastful and bragging as much about our teams. Fleck has grown on me I was a skeptic at first but you can tell he seems genuine in wanting to build the program in to something better than just football. I will admit I was not a fan of the U until getting season tickets as a student and the success of the basketball and hockey teams in the late 80's.
 
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