What Traditions Iowa Submitted to EA Sports’ ‘College Football 25’


IOWA CITY — The May release of the official reveal trailer for “College Football 25,” which previewed the upcoming video game, featured an iconic Iowa football tradition.

The “Kinnick Wave” is one of the more raw, human moments in all of sports. As the first quarter ends, the crowd at Kinnick Stadium waves to pediatric patients watching from their perches at UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital.

More than halfway through the trailer for “College Football 25” was a short clip of Iowa’s “Kinnick Wave.” The animated film featured several Iowa players, including quarterback Cade McNamara and running back Leshon Williams, waving at a hospital.

There is significant excitement in the sports community about the return of the Electronic Arts-produced college football video game. The last time EA released a game in the series was NCAA Football 14, with Michigan’s Denard Robinson on the cover.

After a long hiatus, the evolving nature of the college sports landscape has allowed the game to make a comeback. The extended hiatus, along with the rabid passion of college football fans, has made the July 2024 drop highly anticipated.

The “Kinnick Wave” cameo in the trailer confirmed its inclusion in the game.

But behind the scenes, the University of Iowa provided resources to make that happen.

This did not happen overnight, as the University of Iowa’s communications regarding the game extended several years into the past, based on open records requests obtained by the Register. The work on Iowa’s part included providing many photos of Kinnick Stadium and the surrounding gameday atmosphere.

Among those photos were multiple angles of the “Kinnick Wave.” There were zoomed-in photos of the UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital, along with photos of people at Kinnick Stadium waving at the facility. Iowa offered a collection of views of the moment, allowing it to provide a realistic view of what the impactful tradition entails.

Trophy games

EA has made it clear that it wants to embrace the unique atmosphere of college football. This was concretely reflected in the following information drop:

“Enjoy the legendary traditions, sights and sounds that electrify college football stadiums every Saturday. Featuring unique team runouts, rivalry rituals, synchronized crowd chants, loudness meters and real game audio, fight songs and of course, mascots, everywhere you look, you feel your home.

EA has clearly done that for Iowa football with the “Kinnick Wave.” But that may not be all.

Rivalry games are an important part of college football culture, including the trophies that come with them. The Hawkeyes have no shortage of games where hardware is up for grabs.

Iowa submitted detailed information on four trophy games, including the rivalry’s name, teams involved, start date, history and insight into the trophy design. Multiple photos of each trophy were sent.

Here’s every Iowa rivalry (Note: These are not the exact photos sent by the UI, but for the sake of trophy display, these are some visual reminders).

Floyd of Rosedale: Iowa vs. Minnesota

Cy Hawk: Iowa vs. Iowa State

Heroes game: Iowa vs. Nebraska

Heartland Trophy: Iowa vs. Wisconsin

The trailer clearly points to the inclusion of rivalry trophies. A short clip showed the Illibuck Trophy, which Illinois and Ohio State are competing for. But it’s worth noting that each of the trophies submitted by Iowa have not been specifically confirmed to be in the game. This is just the information provided by Iowa.

Other photos

Iowa provided several other images to represent what game day looks like in Iowa City. It’s unclear what the reason for the play was, so take it with a grain of salt, but here are some of the things Iowa submitted:

  • Aerial view of Kinnick Stadium, both empty and full.
  • Players swarm onto the field.
  • Cheerleaders run onto the field with “I”, “O”, “W” and “A” flags.
  • Herky the Hawk (the trailer featured mascots, but not specifically Herky).
  • The band.
  • Kinnick Stadium during the day and at night.
  • Players put on gear in the locker room.
  • Tunnels under Kinnick Stadium.
  • Fans gathered outside Kinnick Stadium.

Regardless of what gameday elements are actually in the game, the various photos of the UI provide an accurate representation of Saturdays during the football season in Iowa City, passing the baton to the developers of “College Football 25” to build their work magic.

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