IOWA CITY, Ia. – Matt Roth and Bret Bielema have similar Iowa football backgrounds. But that’s where the comparision stops, aside for each having what many still believe were entertaining, spontaneous moments.
Bielema said something off-color to then Iowa State coach Jim Walden after the teams met in 1992 — and he’s the head coach at Wisconsin. Roth had one of those moments, too, but with a middle finger before Iowa beat LSU in the 2005 Capital One Bowl.
“Do I plan to get into coaching like Bret did?” Roth asked. “Those guys are crazy.”
That’s Roth’s G-rated way of saying he never will enter a profession that many former players find lucrative.
Now that he’s retired from the NFL, Roth plans to hang out at as many Hawkeye football games as possible while working on the final 30 academic hours that stand between him and his degree. On the sidelines — wearing a headset — is the last place he will be found.
“The money’s great, for sure,” said Roth, who played seven NFL seasons before retiring after playing nine games for Jacksonville in 2011. “But the incredible long hours those guys put in — that’s not for me.
“If there’s anyone out there who needs someone for a sales job — tell them to call me.”
Roth was Iowa’s honorary captain during Saturday’s 9-6 loss against Iowa State at Kinnick Stadium. He spoke to the team Friday night, waved to the Kinnick Stadium crowd Saturday before the game, and then watched from various places as Iowa State beat the Hawkeyes for the second season in a row.
“I paid attention to Iowa a lot when I was in the pros,” Roth said. “A bunch of us watched games on Saturdays before we headed to whatever city we went to next. We made a few friendly wagers — and talked a lot of trash.”
Fans sometimes still bring up Roth’s doozy while pepping up fans before facing LSU in Orlando, Fla.
Roth spoke on stage to the crowd and then offered a parting shot:
He said he had two final “words” for LSU before flashing the middle fingers of both hands.
“Fans haven’t forgotten,” Roth said. “People bring it up all the time, and I tell them that it was all in good fun.”
Iowa won that game on the Drew Tate to Warren Holloway 56-yard pass as time expired, leaving Iowa fans euphoric and then-LSU coach Nick Saban stunned.
That was Roth’s senior season. It was Saban’s last at LSU before he became the head coach of the Miami Dolphins.
“And get this,” Roth said. “He knew about that Hawkeye Huddle thing, and then we beat them in the game — and then he turns around and drafts me in the second round.”
Roth says he won’t find himself in that same decision-making situation.
“That’s not for me,” said Roth, who lives three blocks from Kinnick Stadium. “Those guys put in way too many hours. They come in sometimes at six in the morning and sometimes don’t leave until midnight.
“Those guys are crazy.”
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football