Folks, including me, talking about John U. Bacon’s book Fourth and Long have focused on the “serious” stuff like in there, like the discussion of the state of college football and the Brandon’s handling of the athletic department and struggle of Penn State’s seniors to hold its team together. But much of the book takes a lighter look at many of the elements off the field that we all know, especially in these parts, help form the true soul of this sport. Two of those elements he discusses in Fourth have special place in my heart: the Little Brown Jug (Chapter 18) and the Mudbowl (Chap 19).
I played in the Mudbowl but didn’t do much beyond delivering a late hit/cheapshot that triggered a bench-clearing brawl. In future blogger-like fashion I slipped out of the melee because I have sensitive fingers and wrists, man. Bacs described the battle in the slop (two decades removed from my triumph in the early 1990s) and he has it about right:
The play wasn’t pretty, but it was fierce, with almost every down resulting in at least one player getting jammed face-first into the swamp, followed by a five-man shoving match, which usually ended with at least one more player eating mud. If you could claim anything was “beautiful” about a game that was literally the ugliest ever played, it’s that they were playing this hard for nothing more than bragging rights. No money, no fame, just pride—which might explain why neither side backed down an inch.
The Jug chapter is naturally a must read. I got a couple mentions in there including suggesting that the Jug, if put on the market (not to give anyone any ideas) would fetch between $15,000-$25,000. That’s based on my experience watching the unholy trinity of pawn/antiques shows: Pawn Stars, American Pickers and Antiques Roadshow..with an assist to mgo-Seth & Hardcore Pawn).
Keeping the Jug Home – Speaking of the jug, you know that the keeper of the crock for just about every year since 1974 has been the great Big Jon Falk, who’s hanging them up after this year. The folks at MGoPatio along with Jil Gordon, the talented artist behind TrueBlue365 have teamed up for a special event to honor Falk, the Jug, and everything that’s good in the world. You can get a piece of the action via their Kickstarter campaign that was just launched.
They even teamed up with Red Wing Pottery, the company that made the original Brown Jug, to create a few commemorative jugs (1 and 2 gallon varieties) for the event that you can order via the Kickstarter campaign. Deets:
Red Wing Pottery in Red Wing, Minnesota, the original makers of the classic rivalry trophy, has agreed to issue an exclusive run of commemorative stoneware jugs. Past and present Red Wing stoneware is regarded as highly collectible and these hand-made pieces will be no exception. The Red Wing kilns no longer fire five-gallon jugs so they will turn out a limited number of one and two-gallon jugs for us. Every specially made piece will bear a mark in honor of the 110 year history of The Jug and the 100th meeting between Michigan and Minnesota. Act quickly and you can pick up one of the first six jugs, in person, at the MGoPatio reception. (A single two-gallon jug and five one-gallon jugs are currently in production at the famed Minnesota pottery.) These distinctly marked six will stand out as some of the rarest stoneware items related to The Jug.
Also offered up are tickets to the event (scheduled to be held September 30th), t-shirts, and many other goodies. More on this later for sure. Current stats go here: