Face it: being a college football fan requires an intense commitment. Even before the season’s first ball is hiked, there are hours of research, numerous communications with fellow peers, required trash talk with rivals, gear to purchase, a schedule to study, and more.
To reward the fans who put in the most work, Desmond Howard is leading Modelo’s search for the “Fighting Spirit.” The fan that shows the most soul for their school will earn a $100,000 “salary” from the beer brewer. Howard will present the award at the College Football Playoff National Championship game on January 9, 2023, at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood (the current home of Super Bowl winners, the L.A. Rams).
Modelo helped Howard to celebrate the 30th anniversary of his 1991 punt return against Ohio State, so the pair “decided to run it back this year.”
“The thing that’s so attractive is that we always talk about the fighting spirit of teams, but there’s also the fighting spirit of faith. Modelo understands that, and they’re behind the fans 100%,” Howard said.
To take home the $100,000 fan salary, college football fans must prove to Howard and to Modelo why they should be the grand prize winner. They need to submit a photo and a 200-word (or fewer) essay about their work as a “Full-Time Fan.” Modelo and Howard will judge the submissions based on originality, creativity, and overall enthusiasm that celebrates the theme of “Ultimate Fandom.”
What markers of supreme fandom will Howard be looking for?
“Hahaha… they have to figure it out themselves,” Howard said.
Despite not wanting to reveal what it is that will stick out individually for judges, Howard did open up a bit on what makes him continue to love the college game from his podium as a College Gameday commentator.
“I travel all over the country. And there are no fans like college football fans, bar none. They’re just absolutely the best,” Howard said.
During his playing career, Howard earned his highest accolades playing in two iconic football stadiums — The Big House at the University of Michigan and Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Even fanatic Cheeseheads can’t match up with the college spirit because of the nature of the sport.
“Both fan bases love to tailgate, but that love for college football, there’s such a youth about it that brings a different type of energy,” Howard said.
As to what the former wide receiver and deadly kick returner is looking forward to in the 2022-2023 season, it’s the early matches lying just a few short weeks away.
“I’m very excited about those big, marquee matchups very early in the season. It’s really good for college football and for the sport because that’s when even the casual fan may have interest,” Howard said. “You don’t have to be a Notre Dame fan, or Ohio State fan to want to watch that game.”
Before the late afternoon clash between the Irish and the Buckeyes, #11 Oregon will travel to play #3 Georgia at Sanford Stadium in Athens.
Between the start of the season, fans have until November 6 to shore up submissions. Applicants can enroll in the contest at modelousa.com/pages/collegefootball or scan QR codes found at bars and in stores nationally.