Northwestern Football Have Perfect New Slogan, Should Ditch the Old One


pat fitzgerald northwestern football

Northwestern football rolled out their new marketing campaign for the upcoming season and this time they got it almost perfect. The new slogan #HOMEGROWN is just right and perfectly suitable for Northwestern football, men’s basketball and the athletic programs in general.

It refers to Northwestern football coach Pat Fitzgerald (Orland Park, Carl Sandburg high school), hoops coach Chris Collins (Northbrook, Glenbrook North high school) and Athletic Director Dr. Jim Phillips (northwest side/Portage Park neighborhood, University of Illinois) all having Chicagoland roots.

The rollout is perfect…almost. All that needs to be done is a phasing out of the old slogan “Chicago’s B1G Ten Team.”


That catch-phrase has more than run its course. It’s been scrutinized plenty and mocked more than enough since it came along once this decade began. There is no need to poke any more fun at it, or eviscerate the alternative facts logic that it implies. That’s been done enough already. Just phase it out this upcoming season and go all in with “homegrown,”

It’s basically the Northwestern football version of that scene in “The Social Network” when Sean Parker (portrayed by Justin Timberlake) tells Mark Zuckerberg (portrayed by Jesse Eisenberg) “just ‘Facebook’, drop the ‘the’ in it.” Branding of often parsimonious, or Bauhausian “less is more.”

#Homegrown works, Chicago’s team doesn’t because this city doesn’t have “a team” or “one team.” It’s a hodge-podge, a salad bowl, citing a RedEye op-ed from December 2015:

college-gameday illini football

It’s unlikely any one team will ever unite the Second City. Unless a sea change occurs, it’s always going to be a fragmented but passionate and extremely engaged college football landscape.

A 2014 New York Times study claimed that Chicago “may have the most intricate set of loyalties of any city in the country. Those loyalties are split among Notre Dame, Michigan, Illinois, Ohio State and Northwestern.”

The new Northwestern football mantra is simply much more fitting in every way. The best player on this Northwestern football team, running back and Glenbard North grad Justin Jackson (who is rewriting the Wildcats rushing record book), and the starting quarterback/Wheaton North grad Clayton Thorson (who’s broken some NU passing records himself) also hail from the area.

Take a look at the new marketing campaign video with Pat Fitzgerald below:

A native of Palos Heights (a town bordering Orland Park) loves the fact that this ad opens with a shot of the “Orland Park: World’s Golf Center” water tower, which is painted to resemble a golf ball on a tee. This references the very high concentration of country clubs in the Palos-Orland region, which is essentially the southernmost point of Chicagoland.

Anything south of 159th street (Tinley Park and such) and you’re in the DMZ between Central/Southern Illinois/Downstate and Chicagoland. The “official” border between the two is areas is probably Interstate-80. Although this is highly debatable, so have at it in the comments section.

Also, if you’re a NU grad with a “homegrown” story to tell, reach out to Northwestern Athletics on social media with the hash tag #HOMEGROWN

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports and TheBank.News, partnered with FOX Sports Engage Network and News Now. Banks, a former writer for the Washington TimesNBC and Chicago, currently contributes to WGN CLTV and KOZN

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  1. Tom Root says:


    I’m struck by your use of “have” — “Northwestern Football Have Perfect Slogan” — instead of “has.” I know Brits would say “have,” as they treat teams as plural. Is this a holdover from your British/Irish/Scot youth?

  2. Marc Linhardt says:

    ‘Anything south of 159th street (Tinley Park and such) and you’re in the DMZ between Central/Southern Illinois/Downstate and Chicagoland. The “official” border between the two is areas is probably Interstate-80.’

    I disagree Park Forest is clearly Chicagoland. It is in Cook County and its origins come from a planning meeting in the Palmer House.

    A logical boundary might be the south edge of Cook County, IL59 on the west and maybe IL120 on the north, although I could buy the ‘Sconsin border.

  3. paulmbanks says:

    totally agree with you on IL-59, and I understand your point about Park Forest, I could take the southern edge of Cook County as the border I accept that.

    On the north, I’ll have to ask my family who live in Cary

  4. paulmbanks says:

    thanks for posting your humourous and colourful comment! Cheers mate! Your note symbolises your keen ability to analyse and organise your opinions.
    I’d write more but I have to go meet somebody by the harbour now

  5. Brian Walsh says:

    The comments are the most enjoyable part of this article. You win the comments section paulmbanks, but your proposed southern border of 159th is enough to give you away as your spelling.
    Grew up in South Holland at 170th. It was “Chicagoland” in every way.

  6. paulmbanks says:

    as I wrote above, I think 170th is in go between zone that’s both Chicagoland and Central Illinois- which I don’t think actually begins in earnest until I-80/191st.

    Maybe an extension to Lincoln highway/Matteson mall

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