Wisconsin’s quarterback violated the most basic job requirement on Wednesday—he failed to take care of the ball—but everyone had a good laugh about it.
Graham Mertz did not shatter any records as his team beat Wake Forest in the Duke’s Mayo Bowl, but he did shatter the trophy, fumbling the Lenox crystal football during the postgame celebration.
While Mertz and his teammates danced to celebrate, the ball fell off its base and immediately broke into hundreds of pieces on the floor. Mertz, a redshirt sophomore, quickly used social media to plead guilty.
“Yeah, I dropped it,” said Mertz, who showed off his hastily constructed replacement trophy that featured a mayonnaise bottle instead of the crystal. “That’s on me. It happened. My mama would call it a boo-boo, but it’s all right, we’ll bounce back. It’ll be the last trophy I ever drop, I guarantee you that.”
The sponsor seemed pleased with Mertz’s repairs, tweeting: “Duke’s makes everything better, right @BadgerFootball?”
As for the adults in the room? “We just wanted everybody to have a piece of that trophy,” Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst said.
Mertz had a strong day, throwing for 130 yards and a touchdown to complement a pair of rushing touchdowns.
With New Year’s Eve right around the corner, however, this ball drop and the players’ social media posts drove more conversation than the Badgers’ 42-28 victory. Maybe it’s time to reconsider crystal trophies that aren’t secured to a base.
The Coaches’ Trophy from Alabama’s 2011 national title, displayed near coach Nick Saban’s office, suffered a similar fate. It was a $30,000 piece made by Waterford that was destroyed when toppled from its base by a player’s father during the Crimson Tide’s annual scrimmage weekend in April 2012.
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