Turnover chain 3.0? Canes fans await reveal

Cornerback Michael Jackson celebrates with the U turnover chain after intercepting the ball during a 2017 game at Hard Rock Stadium. Photo credit: Josh White

The Miami Hurricanes football team took the NCAA by storm after unveiling the original Turnover Chain on Sept. 2, 2017, against Bethune-Cookman following an interception by cornerback Malek Young.

Since then, multiple teams have tried to imitate the now-iconic chain. Last football season, Florida State implemented a “turnover backpack” that failed to gain as much attention as the UM original. The backpack will not be returning for another season.

For the 2017 season, the chain created by local jeweler Anthony John Machado featured the “U” logo. In 2018, the chain featured Sebastian the Ibis, which begs the question: Will Canes fans be seeing a third version of the turnover chain during the 2019 season?

Cornerback Michael Jackson celebrates with the U turnover chain after intercepting the ball during a 2017 game at Hard Rock Stadium. Photo credit: Josh White

The answer will be revealed Aug. 24 at the Hurricanes season opener against the Florida Gators. Fans will need a member of the defense or special teams to force a turnover to find out if there a new chain. Or could it be a member of the offense?

After taking over as head coach, Manny Diaz presented the idea of a chain for the offense, an incentive for players to score touchdowns.

“There is going to be a turnover chain at the University of Miami,” Diaz said to Joe Zagacki and Don Bailey Jr. on WQAM’s Hurricane Hotline. “The question is what do we do for the offense? We did a survey. I’m pretty sure they like wearing gold chains as well.”

Since the turnover chain’s debut, the Hurricanes have had back to back seasons with at least 25 takeaways, totaling 56 takeaways in the past two seasons according to NCAA.com.

Cornerbacks coach Mike Rumph is a major supporter of the turnover chain.

“The element that the turnover chain brings this city, it’s amazing,” said Rumph. “What other features do you have on television where you’re in a sport and for 15-20 seconds you can take off your helmet, put on a Cuban link chain and the whole world can see you, and the stadium goes crazy.”

The chain has offered players a chance at national attention, while also acting as a reward for making a crucial game-changing play.

Cornerback Trajan Bandy becomes the first Hurricane to celebrate with the Sebastian the Ibis turnover chain, which was used during the 2018 season. Photo credit: Josh White

“You could be a no-name guy; you could be a walk-on and pick up a fumble and the whole world will know you from what you did off of that play, so I think it’s a great platform for us,” said Rumph.

If Diaz can bring his energy and passion to the offensive side of the ball, it could spark improvement.

“Watching him spread his culture amongst this entire program has been really cool,” said co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach Ephraim Banda. “His ability to see both pictures and know what the issues are. He’s demanding, he’s detailed, he expects the standard of Miami to be the standard in everything.”

Harry Rothwell, the general manager at All Canes shop in Coral Gables, said he is in favor of the excitement the turnover chain generates, but doesn’t think a new chain is necessary each year.

“The turnover chain the first year was lightning in a bottle, it created the fact that we won 10 games in a row,” said Rothwell. “The turnover chain from week one got bigger, bigger and bigger each week. We didn’t change our logo for the fans, you don’t need to change something that worked.”

People can get caught up with all the glitz and glamour of the chain, but what really matters is what the players do on the field.

“At the end of the day, it’s all about making the kids happy, if the kids are excited about it and it makes them perform well then that’s what we will do,” said Rothwell.

Bubba Bolden, a former four-star USC safety who recently transferred to UM, had a simple answer when asked if he was ready to put on the turnover chain.

“You already know,” he said. “You already know.”