BT game day traditions: Iowa

The traditions series marches on with Iowa, which generated a ton of responses from you fine folks. I had the chance to attend three games at Kinnick Stadium in 2009, including a night game against Michigan that might have provided the best atmosphere of the fall.

Up next on the traditions list is Purdue, so Boiler fans, send in your suggestions before Friday morning.

Here's a look at some of Iowa's top game-day traditions:

  • In Heaven, There is No Beer/Hawkeye Victory Polka: After every Iowa win, the marching band delights fans with the playing of this song, which features the lyrics, "In Heaven, there is no beer... That's why we drink it here... And when we're gone from here... Our friends will be drinking all the beer."

  • Back in Black/entrance video: One of the best pregame intros you see, Iowa players are shown walking down the tunnel from their locker room to the field as AC/DC's appropriately titled hit blasts through the speakers in the stadium. On the video screen, Herky Hawkeye drives Iowa's equipment truck over the logo or mascot of that day's opponent.

  • I-O-W-A chant: Whether Iowa is playing at home or on the road, groups of fans will often spell out I-O-W-A, with each group representing a corner of the stadium. This chant is always done after Hawkeye touchdowns.

  • Touching the Kinnick Statue: After the buses arrive at the stadium, Iowa players and coaches make sure to touch the 20-foot statue of Nile Kinnick before going through the team entrance.

  • Kinnick's Heisman acceptance speech: Before every home game, Iowa plays video of Nile Kinnick's memorable Heisman Trophy acceptance speech in 1939. The speech took place during World War II and concludes with, "I thank God I was warring on the gridirons of the Midwest and not on the battlefields of Europe. I can speak confidently and positively that the players of this country would much more, much rather, struggle and fight to win the Heisman award than the Croix de Guerre."

  • "Big ass turkey leg": There's only one acceptable pregame meal at Kinnick Stadium, as fans flood the food stand selling, well, big ass turkey legs on Melrose Avenue. Yum. The guy hawking the turkey legs is rather entertaining.

  • Beer band: Not technically a game-day tradition, but on Friday nights before home games, a pep band makes its way to the Iowa City bars and plays the fight song, Victory Polka and other numbers.

  • Magic Bus: Widely recognized as the No. 1 tailgating spot before Hawkeyes games, the bus, operated by the Iowa City Rugby Football Club, is a can't-miss destination.


Joe from Iowa City, Iowa: Hey Adam, Just throwing some more Iowa traditions at you. 1. I-O-W-A cheerthe Spirit Squad ways the four l-O-W-A flags at the corners of the field while the stadium cheers in Unison2. Back in BlackKirk always brings the team out to the field a bit early so they can get pumped up by the crowd and Back in Black is blasted through Kinnick to signal their arrival.3. Nile Kinnick's Heisman Award acceptance speech.During every pregame an excerpt of Nile Kinnick's Heisman award acceptance speech is played. Its considered to be one of the Best!4. The Hawkeye Victory Polka(This one is special for me because I'm the Drum major of the Hawkeye Marching Band and the only one who gets to conduct it!)At the End of a Hawkeye Victory the Drum Major of the Hawkeye Marching Band starts the victory polka. And depending on the importance of the Win or opponent such as a rival it can go on for quite some time. For Example....We played it at Iowa State till we were told to leave.

Zach from Iowa City: Another set of Iowa Gameday traditions, obviously tailgating is huge in Iowa City and one of the best spots is the Magis Bus, also as the team leaves the locker room and heads toward the field ACDC's Back in Black gets the entire stadium buzzing inside and out within earshot, The team arrives with a police escort at 9 am and a new tradition has started as players rub Knile Kinnicks bronze foot as they enter Kinnick to get ready for the game.

Leighton from Iowa City: in re: to your posting on team traditions:sure many are repeats from other emails you've received, but for the Hawks they include:- "In Heaven There Is No Beer" after each Hawkeye win (all sports)- touch the Kinnick statue on the way into Kinnick Stadium (football)- dominating (wrestling)- trophy games (about which I'm sure you're aware)- "Big As* Turkey Legs"- Friday night the band plays in the bars downtown ('pedmall') - not sure if this is unique or not- pink locker room in Kinnick for visitors- "The Hawkeye State"

Mike B. from Iowa City: Hi Adam,I'm writing to chip in some game day traditions for Iowa Hawkeye Football. I'm a student at Iowa and here are some of the traditions i've noticed at games.1. The Hawkeye victory polka or as the students call "in heaven there is no beer". This song is sung after every victory and i'd say that most students and fans know the lyrics. Some people don't like it because it promotes drinking but they won't ever get rid of the song because there was a lot of negative feedback when the university tried to get rid of it last time.2. Before the national anthem a portion of the end of Nile Kinnick's heisman Speech is played in the stadium3. Like many schools we do a chant of our name. I-O-W-A4. ACDC's "Back in Black" is always played as players enter the field5. Adam if you are ever in Iowa City on Game day, you have to get a "big ass turkey leg" from Chuck. It's a big part of Iowa tailgating.