So, I asked for submissions, and the best I could come up with was "Putting the 'chill' in 'season-ending Achilles injury". Luckily Northwestern has a staff of people who do marketing, and they've decided to go with #Persastrong. If you haven't read about it somewhere, there's billboards, dumbbells sent to national media members, a kinda creepy website featuring nothing but an image of Danny P, and of course, a hashtag. It's a legit movement: NU is making a push to get Dan Persa noticed in the Heisman race, and it's awesome, and I have a boatload of thoughts about this. I'll start with the dumb ones, then get to the better ones. This of course will be after the jump, but, hey, there's a fancy poll before the jump! Choices!
- So far, I have seen the phrase "Persastrong" in several ways: as a way of referring to Dan Persa himself, as an adjective (like "Dan Persa is #persastrong") and as a phrase (apparently meant to be read like "PERSA STRONG"). Which is correct? I say don't choose. As HTP replied to my inquiries on twitter "do not question #persastrong or #persastrong will #persastrong you in ways only described by #persastrong". @Awlang followed up by pointing out that #persastrong could be the new "Smurf", so, expect to see #persastrong wandering around New York in a movie literally nobody intends on seeing sometime in the near future.
- When #persastrong first started, some enterprising individual hopped on the bandwagon by claiming the @persastrong twitter handle. Lil slip-up by the NU athletics department, but now, tenemos un problemo, especially when Tina Akouris from the Sun-Times credited it as the official Persastrong account. Normally I'd be on the side of said enterprising individual, but, well, look: fake Twitter accounts are funny. I get it. We all liked fake Jay Cutler and fake Rahm Emanuel, and the idea worked well with NU sports at first when Fake Kevin Coble started whining about his knee and Fake Evan Watkins (and his compatriots, Fake Kain Colter and Fake Trevor Siemien as well as Fake Mick McCall, all run by the same troupe of fake twitter handle makers) was a stroke of brilliance. But holy balls: in addition to the five guys mentioned above, Twitter features a Fake Bill Carmody, Fake Kyle Rowley, fake Ivan Peljusic (yeah, I thought the same thing), I remember having been followed at one point by a Fake Paul Stevens (NU's baseball coach), and now, Fake Dan Persa (as well as an account purporting to be Dan Persa's achilles tendon). There have been others I can't remember. Fake Northwestern twitter account owners, dude, I think that's Seattle Slew you're thwacking with that cane of yours. No offense, but @Persastrong belongs to NUsports.
- Main reason I think this is awesome: this isn't about getting Dan Persa the Heisman. Dan Persa is an incredibly talented quarterback. One of the best in the country, certainly the most accurate passer, and a great runner to boot. His play is practically the only factor in whether or not Northwestern will have a successful season. But unless he replicates his production from last year, puts Northwestern is in the Big Ten championship game, and NU doesn't develop any type of non-Persa attack whatsoever, he's not a Heisman candidate. Sry. He's not even the most viable Heisman candidate in the Big Ten, because Denard Robinson is superhuman. This is about visibility. Let's say you're a moderate college football fan - not someone on this board - let's say you're even aware that Northwestern has had decent teams the past few years. This is about putting a face to that name. About letting the country know that there's a dude at Northwestern who is pretty sick. If enough people take note, enough ESPN analysts start thinking about him as an outside candidate... maybe we can get him on the stage at Radio City? But more importantly, if we can get people around Chicago to notice Dan Persa and how incredibly good he is - maybe the same people who heard about us playing at Wrigley but didn't get tickets - maybe we can uptick that attendance a little bit more. After all, this is what this is about. Again, I love Persa, but he is a major, major, major longshot for getting to the Downtown Athletic Club. This is another method of building a fanbase, and I think it's one of the best moves yet.
- To summarize that, I think if he puts together a spectacular season, I think he can be one of the top five candidates for the trophy. I don't think he'll win. The odds are just stacked against him, and it takes a lot to change the minds of very stubborn Heisman voters.
- Oh, by the way, nine months ago Dan Persa suffered an injury that typically takes about 12-14 months to recover from and he plays a game 30 days from now. That sound you hear is Northwestern taking the scant few eggs that happened to still be in other baskets and putting them in the one that says "rapidly healing Achilles".