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Wayward goose captivates world, inadvertently shows value of branding

Everybody duck

Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports

Spring football is over. So's the NFL draft. OBNUG usually settles into a weeks long dormant phase around this time of year...just waiting to erupt with the arrival of the countdown (May 26th, in case you were wondering). But yesterday, a Boise State story captivated the nation...nay, the world. It was a simple tweet from the Boise State football twitter account that set the virus spreading:

That's a picture of a Canada (not Canadian) goose at the 25 yard line of Lyle Smith Field. The picture was re-tweeted 14,000 times and favorited over 20,000 times. Why you ask? Not because people love geese, I'm guessing. In fact, geese are notorious jerks. themselves all over park grounds and sidewalks and hiss at you when you try to pass by too closely. Heck, we used to call the intramural field on campus "Goose Crap Field" in honor of their prolific scattering of landmines on the green expanse. I had a friend scratch his cornea when a cleat kicked up a goose gift into his eye when he was playing a game of ultimate frisbee. Yeah, if geese were humans, they'd have a spray tan and drive a Hummer, so why did this clever tweet get at least 35,000 "impressions" as we call it in the web world (and countless more when outlets ran with the "story")? Because Boise State's blue turf is awesome and it has it's own mythology.

The "myth" of course, is that ducks and geese die by the droves by "crash landing" on the famous blue turf—mistaking it for a lake. Well, I've never seen a lake with white lines every ten yards, nor have I seen a duck or goose "dive-bomb" their watery landing pad—that's more of a pelican thing...but the myth persists, and damned if we're going to kill it (the myth, not the goose) because it adds to the Rocky Long mystique of our stadium. In a 2007 LA Times article about Boise State's famous rug, Chris Petersen tried to tamp down the rumors of The Blue being a waterfowl graveyard in the least persuasive way ever:

Petersen said, "We do our best to perpetuate that myth, so to speak."But the other day, before we leave, I walk out onto our turf and there is a dead duck laying there in the middle of our field. And I'm looking around like 'Are you kidding me?' Maybe they are still dive-bombing here. So I'm not sure, but we did have one dead on the turf the other day."

Totally a myth, BUT there was a dead duck laying on the turf this morning so YOU TELL ME.

Ducks and geese do land on the turf...this can be independently verified by anyone that's ever been down by the greenbelt. Ducks and geese land on everything, blurring the line between Cottonwood fluff drifting on the breeze or goose down. Whether our feathered friends land on the turf because they believe it to be a corporate-sponsored lake remains to be seen. The real myth is that the wayward fowl break their fragile little necks on our storied turf. Note: I am not a biologist, but based on what I know about ducks and geese, that's probably not their preferred method of bird suicide. But maybe, just maybe the blue turf is quietly thinning the flocks. Maybe PETA will deploy some agents to Albertsons Stadium this fall. Maybe this lone goose is just a scout for the eventual feathered takeover of the campus. Maybe this tweet inadvertently showed the massive brand value of Gene Bleymeier's silly little idea 30 years ago. I think I'll go with that one.