Minnesota fans, as a rule, love homegrown players who make it big in college or the pros.
Minnesota fans, as a rule, love homegrown players who make it big in college or the pros. We love them so much that an apt term has come to describe such sports figures: One Of Us.
Joe Mauer, rumored to be from St. Paul, is One Of Us. John Carlson, the Litchfield High product who signed Wednesday with the Vikings, is One Of Us.
But when Minnesotans talk about wanting someone with local connections to be hired as the new U of M athletic director or pine for Flip Saunders to get a job that is not even open (as Gophers men's basketball coach), are they any different than fans on the East Coast or in Chicago or anywhere else in the world?
This query called for a One Of Us expert, and luckily we found him. Stephen Ross has a Ph.D. in leisure behavior from the University of Illinois and has been an associate professor of sport management in the U of M's School of Kinesiology since 2003. He didn't grow up here, so he's not quite One Of Us. But his research on fan behavior and sports consumer psychology make him quite qualified to speak on the subject. He started off talking about "points of attachment" and how they relates to fandom.
"There are a lot of different areas that people can attach themselves to," Ross said. "Someone can certainly identify with Wolves players or Gophers players. But if there is a player or coach from that geographical region, that just intensifies the thoughts or feelings. ... People feel a liking to that individual because they have something in common. That's across the board -- nothing particular to Minnesota."
OK, but ...
"It does seem a little more intense here," Ross said,
Aha! So we do love One Of Us more than other regions. But why?
Ross explained that he thinks our relative isolation is the trigger, noting there's "not much between here and Seattle ... and not much between here and Chicago." (Wisconsin might beg to differ, but we're backing Ross on this one).
Provincialism has other side-effects, too, Ross said.
"I don't think I've ever lived anywhere that there were more fair-weather fans," said Ross, who has lived in Illinois, Connecticut and South Carolina, among other places. "When a team is tanking, people disassociate themselves immediately."
That gets back to the trump card: winning. The Startribune.com online comments about the Vikings signing Carlson indicate fans aren't sold on the move, regardless of his hometown.
"When it comes down to a decision, the homegrown connection is big. People think of it in terms of marketing," Ross said. "But at the end of the day, it's about wins."
|Tennessee||7||1st Qtr 4:00|
|Philadelphia||12/20/14 3:30 PM|
|San Diego||12/20/14 7:25 PM|
|Minnesota||12/21/14 12:00 PM|
|Baltimore||12/21/14 12:00 PM|
|Detroit||12/21/14 12:00 PM|
|Cleveland||12/21/14 12:00 PM|
|Atlanta||12/21/14 12:00 PM|
|Green Bay||12/21/14 12:00 PM|
|Kansas City||12/21/14 12:00 PM|
|New England||12/21/14 12:00 PM|
|NY Giants||12/21/14 3:05 PM|
|Buffalo||12/21/14 3:25 PM|
|Indianapolis||12/21/14 3:25 PM|
|Seattle||12/21/14 7:30 PM|
|Denver||12/22/14 7:30 PM|
|New York||28||2nd Qtr 8:30|
|New Orleans||12||1st Qtr 4:31|
|Oklahoma City||9:30 PM|
|Colorado||0||3rd Prd 19:32|
|St. Louis||9:30 PM|
|St Thomas (TX)||61||FINAL|
|Stony Brook||48||2nd Half 2:31|
|Seton Hall||85||2nd Half 3:35|
|Nicholls||40||2nd Half 11:40|
|Morgan State||31||2nd Half 12:11|
|Idaho State||45||2nd Half 8:30|
|South Dakota St||45|
|Oakland City||16||2nd Half|
|Appalachian St||32||2nd Half|
|Connecticut||25||1st Half 0:20|
|Southern Miss||14||1st Half 4:13|
|Coastal Carolina||41||2nd Half|
|Montana State||15||1st Half 10:23|
|Cal State Fullerton|
|Walla Walla||9:00 PM|
|Portland State||9:00 PM|
|Nevada||12/20/14 10:00 AM|
|Utah State||12/20/14 1:20 PM|
|(23) Utah||12/20/14 2:30 PM|
|Western Mich||12/20/14 4:45 PM|
|South Alabama||12/20/14 8:15 PM|
|BYU||12/22/14 1:00 PM|
|Marshall||12/23/14 5:00 PM|
|Navy||12/23/14 8:30 PM|
|San Diego St|
|Central Mich||12/24/14 11:00 AM|
|Fresno State||12/24/14 7:00 PM|
|William & Mary||71||FINAL|
|West Virginia St||58||FINAL|
|Jacksonville||59||2nd Half 1:14|
|Tenn Tech||38||2nd Half 8:23|
|Samford||9||1st Half 9:39|
|New Orleans||21||2nd Half|
|Incarnate Word||26||2nd Half|
|Ark-Little Rock||15||2nd Half|
|South Dakota St||29|
|CS-Northridge||11||1st Half 11:14|
|Santa Clara||8:00 PM|
|(19) Oklahoma St||8:00 PM|
|San Diego State|
|Cal Poly||8:00 PM|
|(10) Louisville||8:00 PM|