Week 2 of the NFL season. First home game of the year for the Packers against Detroit. This happens:
It was an amazing play. A game-breaker. And the exact moment I realized just how much of a part of football the crowds are. Obviously without fans there are no professional sports, but until this year of COVID, that had always been a hypothetical discussion.
But watching him slice through the D, it occurred to me that without what would no doubt have been a deafening roar from the crowd… and watching his subsequent Lambeau Leap without the arms of Packers fans waiting for him on arrival… I realized just how much a part of football the crowd is… and how much I miss it.
But in this COVID world, there are far more serious concerns. So rather than complain, I’ll take a moment to be grateful we have football at all… It wasn’t that long ago we weren’t sure if we would… and turn to what, in my opinion, may be the most under-rated invention of the age of information… Youtube.
Why? Because seeing that empty Lambeau Leap reminded me of another of our Wisconsin teams’ tradition… the Wisconsin Badgers crowd and “Jump Around”. Rather than explain it, thanks to the aforementioned Youtube, I’ll just show you.
It’s not complicated or fancy. Just tens of thousands of fans jumping up and down and singing along to a 20 some year old rap song. But it’s everything that is college football; it actually measures on the Richter scale when it happens… every home game at the end of the third quarter.
Of course cheeseheads aren’t the only ones who love our football teams, and we’re not the only ones with crowd traditions like the Lambeau Leap and Jump Around.
So let’s take a trip around the country, shall we? COVID may have taken this from us for now… but we’ll be back. And in an ideal world, we’ll come back with a deeper appreciation for those events and traditions now that we’ve had a chance to miss them.
We’ll start with a jump up the road, staying in Big Ten country; College Station and for a Penn State tradition they simple call “The White Out.”
This one is even simpler; 100,000 people all wearing the same color. And yet… it’s incredible.
A short trip west brings us to the home of the Iowa Hawkeyes. Here we find what may be the most touching of all college football crowd traditions; the Iowa Wave.
We now head south to South Carolina; a visit to Clemson. The Tigers have a number of crowd traditions, but this may be the coolest.
We’ve all seen it… after a huge upset of a big rivalry win, the crowd storms the field. Only at Clemson… they do it every game, giving fans a chance to mingle with the players. Every game.
A bit north and we find the Campus of the Virginia Tech Hokies, where, similar to Wisconsin, they have a 90’s song they share and shake the earth with.
Songs are something of a common theme amongst these college football crowd traditions. In the mountains of West Virginia, Mountaineers fans end every game like this…
Mountaineers fans aren’t the only crowd to have adopted a song… here are a few more…
And finally to Florida… Gator country. This was a particularly amazing incident… just days after Tom Petty passed away.
Still in Florida, over to Seminole country, Florida State’s fans are known to erupt into what they affectionately call the “War Chant.”
There are many more; seemingly every college in America has traditions like this. I won’t include all of them; rather I’ll encourage you to take to Youtube yourself for a look. Finding them is half the fun.
If you’ve made it this far, I’ll end with what may be one of the coolest crowd moments in the history of college football… maybe not a ‘tradition’ per se, although it does happen from time to time… but… well, just watch.
That roar when they brought the Sargent Major out… the look on his family’s faces… a shared moment by a stadium full of people… no Seminoles fans or Gamecocks fans in that moment… just Americans. There is so much hatred and bickering in America today… somehow we’ve become a nation where people hate those with different opinions than their own now… that many of us seem to have forgotten that this is not only what college football is about… this is what America is about. Or supposed to be, anyway. Hopefully… this collection of our traditions reminds some of us of that…
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Categories: NFL Throwbacks