The border rivalry between the Gophers and Badgers is only getting stronger after Wisconsin's dominating victory at TCF Bank Stadium on Saturday, and a huge part of its growing strength is how the Badgers handled the trophy – Paul Bunyan's Axe – after the victory.
Senior linebacker Chris Orr was among the Badgers who took the Axe to midfield and pretended to use it as an oar while chanting "Row! Row! Row!" It was an intentional mocking of the "Row the Boat" culture Minnesota head coach P.J. Fleck has established.
Why the disrespectful gesture?
"We just felt like they disrespected the Axe by renting it out to people, having it where anybody and everybody can touch it. It means more than that. To people who have played in this game for a very long time, it means more than that. It's not just a little commodity that you can just rent out for money or try to make a profit off of it. I feel like that was disrespectful. They didn't honor the players that came before,” Orr said.
“We felt like it was disrespectful for them to do that, so it was a little disrespect back."
Minnesota had lost 14 straight border battles to Wisconsin before winning the inanimate object back with a 37-15 victory in Madison last year.
“They didn't know what it looked like with their own two eyes, unless they Googled it or something," Orr continued. "I understand why they were doing so much, but that was definitely disrespectful to the people that played in the games before."
Next year's border battle is going to be another level up, and based on the trajectory Minnesota is on, the Axe stands a good chance of returning to the U of M.