His name is Bergwood.
He is a self-proclaimed college football expert who loves bacon, Bobby Bowden, and tailgating.
Anyone who has watched football on Saturdays over the last four years has undoubtedly seen one of Allstate's infamous commercials featuring the insurance liability Bergwood.
In one of the more recent Allstate commercials, Bergwood declares that he has never really been a fan of tartar sauce. Who can blame him?
In another, he decides to try his hand at streaking through a parking lot, Frank the Tank style.
He is one of college football's most eclectic personalities. So it comes as no surprise to learn that he is organizing something called "Proposition Safety," a movement to increase the point value of a safety.
Don't let his quirks and quarks fool you because he might be on to something.
A safety in college football is fairly rare and is the only means by which a team not in possession of the football can score points. Safeties can occur in a variety of ways, most commonly when an opponent in possession of the ball is tackled in their own end zone.
If a safety is one of the rarest plays in college football, why is it worth less than a touchdown or field goal?
Bergwood is posing that very same question to college football fans across the country as he rallies support for "Proposition Safety," a national campaign to increase the value of a safety from two points to eight points. The petition currently has over 3,000 signatures.
Why change it to eight points, some might ask?
"Well, because I like snowmen," Bergwood explained in a recent phone interview. "Just the shape of it looked really good."
Did you really expect a more logical answer from a guy who plays Meat Slap in parking lots before football games?
As part of Rivalry Week, Bergwood will be at Kinnick Stadium's Krause Family Plaza on Saturday from 8-11 a.m. promoting the Allstate Tailgate Tour. He'll be inviting fans to support "Proposition Safety" by signing their names to his giant clipboard while he cooks on his replica Bobby Bowden grill.
Bergwood will also be at the Iowa-Minnesota game, cheering for the Hawkeyes.
"Well, ya got a red shirt freshman quarterback making his second start after an impressive one in Columbus. Then, the Gophers got a veteran quarterback who squeaked out a win against what, North Dakota State Tech A&M? And last year's score of double nickel to donut...ya, let's hope for a repeat."
Turkey wing in hand, the tailgating aficionado should fit right in with the crazies on Melrose Avenue this weekend, as the Hawkeye faithful are no strangers to the pregame festivities and share Bergwood's love of meat.
He might fit in for another reason too.
"Well, I have this identical cousin of mine that is a big Hawkeye fan," explained Bergwood during the phone interview.
The identical cousin he mentions is none other than the real version of himself, Andrew Hawtrey .
Hawtrey was born and raised in Iowa City. He lived across the street from Kinnick Stadium, where he helped clean up after Hawkeye games, and graduated from City High School.
He worships Hayden Fry in real life, like Bergwood worships Bobby Bowden in the commercials.
He told Sports Illustrated during an interview a few years ago, "Coach Hayden Fry is my college football God and I bow at his alter. I would be breathless if I were even able to get close enough to touch him. I am so jazzed right now talking about coach Fry so much I'm going to go kick some field goals and imagine myself being Rob Houghtlin winning the 1985 Michigan game with two seconds left on the clock."
While he will be in character this Saturday, it won't stop Hawkeye fans from expressing their appreciation to Hawtrey. Everyone in Iowa loves Bergwood.
The more you learn about Hawtrey, the more you wonder if the Melrose Mafia tailgaters are the inspiration behind his character. You also begin to wonder how much of an act the Bergwood character really is.
Hey, growing up in Iowa can do strange things to a person.
I should know. Da Gum!!
This article is also featured on IowaHawkeyes.Net , a nerd's blog dedicated to all that is Hawkeye.
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