It was a disappointing Mayo Bowl this year, with neither team running a spread offense. But Wisconsin whipped Wake Forest 42-28 on Wednesday, setting the stage for what I believe to be a great lie perpetrated by the trophy-industrial complex. In a moment of postgame jubilation, as victorious QB Graham Mertz danced for Tik Tok or whatever, championship trophy in hand, the unthinkable happened: It fell, and shattered into a million pieces, and the once-vaunted Mayo Bowl suddenly became a punchline.
Mertz graciously took the blame on his own shoulders. He didn’t say it, but we must: It was not his fault. Shoddy craftsmanship was the culprit. Saddle up, because we’re going back and to the left.
First, for reference, here’s this guy holding the trophy.
Note that his grip is low, and he’s applying no pressure to the upper section, a glassy football made out of something called “Lenox crystal,” per ESPN, which knows these things. (It does not seem particularly expensive, a Google Shopping search reveals.)
Anyway, this is a traditional, natural grip, almost always how people grab trophies, however briefly, before locking them away forever in a display case. This grip is precisely how the trophy-manufacturing fat cats have gone unexposed for so long.
Now, check out this screenshot of Mertz gripping the trophy, just before it fell, while stunting for the internet. Mertz’s grip is noticeably higher than that of the guy above — high enough, even, that he’s applying just a tiny bit of pressure on the crystal section with his thumb and index finger:
Here’s the trophy a few frames later, just as it falls from Mertz’s hand. Importantly, it’s already in two pieces before it hits the ground:
The two halves of the trophy were poorly fastened. It came apart at the faintest application of pressure!
The proof, best I can tell, is captured clearly here on tape. The trophy broke while still in Mertz’s hand, which sent the base flying out of his grip to the ground. Had he dropped it, the whole thing would have fallen in one piece. But his grip was not the reason for this tragic tale. The piece of shit trophy fell apart.
Scrub through the video yourself with a careful eye, frame by frame, and all will be revealed: