Ranking the Greatest All-Time Traditions in Longhorn Football History
The University of Texas is steeped in tradition, especially when it comes to its storied football program. For over 118 years, the Longhorns have managed to make their mark on college football with their countless winning seasons, championships—both conference and national—and of course, their unique customs.
Texas' fanbase is one of the biggest in the country, and each of those fans is fully aware of every single chant, sign, quote, fight song, logo and symbol associated with this great school. While some of these might be merely symbolic of a particular event, most of them are ubiquitous and represent the very essence of being a Longhorn.
So, it's time now to rank the greatest all-time traditions in Longhorn football history.
The sounding of this massive bass drum at home games is something typical to Texas football.
Big Bertha was bought by a Texas alum from the University of Chicago for a measly dollar! This drum, which was made by C.G. Conn instruments, was resting under the bleachers at Stagg Field for several years. It even got radioactively contaminated after the Manhattan Project was tested at the stadium.
However, it was decontaminated and shipped to Texas. Later, even the toxic lead paint on it was scrapped off, and its restoration was completed.
This drum is an integral part of Texas football, and it rests in the north side of the DKR Texas Memorial Stadium—near the ticket counters—on its off days.
Largest Texas Flag
Everything is bigger in Texas, including the state flag.
The Alpha Rho chapter of the Alpha Phi Omega fraternity brings this flag on the field before home games and the Red River Shootout. It measures a staggering 75 feet by 125 feet and covers a significant portion of the field.
Since Mississippi governor Ross Barnett gave the original flag to Texas governor Price Daniel during halftime at the 1962 Cotton Bowl, it has regularly made appearances on the field.
The second version of this flag, which was reportedly about 51 feet by 90 feet—same as the original—came about in 1966. This is the third, and largest, flag so far.
Smokey the Cannon
This legendary piece of artillery, operated by the Texas Cowboys organization, is fired at kickoff and every time the Longhorns score.
Smokey was built back in 1953 in the school's mechanical engineering lab. This was a direct response to the shotgun blasts that used to go off during the Red River Shootout.
Currently, the Cowboys use the third version of this cannon, which weighs 1,200 pounds. It can fire four blank 10-gauge shotgun shells at once.
The firing of this cannon is a familiar sound to all Longhorn fans.
Longhorn Band aka the Showband of the Southwest is one of the most recognizable and vocal sites in college football. This talented group of students—mostly, music majors—breaks into classics like "The Eyes of Texas," and "Deep in the Heart of Texas" along with other popular songs.
However, nothing sounds better to a Texas fan than when the band plays "Texas Fight" after every score and of course, win!
Every year, before the Texas A&M game, Texas alums and fans gather with red candles to hex the Aggies.
This tradition started back in 1941, when a few students went to a fortune teller to seek advice on how to stop an unbeaten Texas A&M team. The clairvoyant told the students to burn red candles en masse, since they represented challenge and opposition.
They did as told, and the Longhorns ended up upsetting the Aggies 23-0—and winning at Kyle Field after 18 years!
Needless to say, hexing the Aggies became an annual tradition thereafter. And today, the Hex Rally is attended even by players and coaches. This is a great build up to one of Texas' biggest games of the year.
'The Eyes of Texas' and 'Texas Fight'
Singing "The Eyes of Texas" before and after every game is a must for every true fan. Whereas, "Texas Fight"—both the chant and the song—are a staple during any Longhorn game.
Both these songs are music to Texas fans, especially when their notes fill the packed stands and bleachers at DKR Stadium—as is the case on most Saturdays in fall.
This burnt orange longhorn steer is one of the most recognizable mascots in the country.
Thus far, there have been 14 Bevos representing the University of Texas at football games since 1916. Before Bevo, the school mascot was Piggy, a bulldog. However, a group of Texas alums decided to buy a mascot that better represented the state and went with a longhorn steer called "Bo" purchased from the Texas Panhandle for $124.
There are several theories about how the name "Bevo" came about. The most popular theory is the one about a group of Texas A&M students branding the steer with the 13-0 scoreline of that year's rivalry game—which led to Bo's curators changing it to 13EV0 or Bevo.
No matter what the origins of his name, the presence of the majestic Bevo near the South end zone is a must at every home game.
The Hook 'em Sign
Along with having one of the best mascots, the Longhorns also have the coolest sign in sports. The "Hook 'em" sign is as rock and roll as it gets.
It perfectly symbolizes school spirit and tradition in one easy, yet memorable, gesture!
Lighting of the UT Tower
One of the best sights for any Longhorn fan is the traditional lighting of the UT Tower after a win.
Since 1947, the tower's been lit according to specific guidelines to mark victories and championships. The tip of this 307-foot building is lit with burnt orange light every time the Longhorns win a regular season game. It is entirely drenched in orange light when Texas beats Texas A&M or wins the conference title.
However, no light configuration comes close to the one on display when the 'Horns win a national championship (as seen here).
This is, undoubtedly, the best and most unique tradition at the University of Texas.
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