Saw a new show on TV tonight . . . "1969"

I know many of you will greet this information with reactions ranging from “who cares?” to “why in the blazes do you continue to hang on to/celebrate a painful loss”. And I must say, a big part of me understands those reactions.

Still, that game is an inescapable part of my life. I guess if I’m being honest, I’ve probably spent about as much time trying to absorb and understand that loss as I have anything else in my life, outside of family issues. Along the way, I’ve come to terms with several things – not all of them negative.

The Longhorn Network today debuted their show “1969” about that National Championship season for them. I came across it quite accidentally – I hadn’t heard a thing about it, but was scanning DirecTV sports options this evening and was looking at Fox Southwest, which is directly ahead of LHN, when I noticed the title “1969”. I knew what it had to be about, and I had to watch it.

There’s no real need to go into a detailed description of the entire Texas season – we all know what happened; they won all their games, including a heartbreaking (for us) win over Arkansas, and then a similar come from behind win over Notre Dame in the Cotton Bowl.

So instead, I’ll just list the “other” takeaways I have after all of these years, and having just watched the new LHN show.

•\tI have always, and still do, “hate” Texas. But I do think that under other circumstance (namely, if they hadn’t have played for UT), this group of Texas players was one I would have enjoyed following – and I respect them (as a whole) and what they accomplished. (Now their fans? That’s a different subject).

Things were different in that era. You could want to beat your rival with all of your heart and soul, and still treat them with respect. You didn’t see any trash-talking on the field in those days (at least in the SWC – more on that in a minute). In fact, it was normal to see someone knock the hell out of someone and then offer a hand to help them up immediately afterward. Some will say that is hypocritical, but I say it was a great model for young men who idolized those players to see and copy.

It was always clear to me in those years that the Arkansas and Texas programs respected each other. Oh, I’m sure there were some things said when they were alone with just their own teammates; “boys will be boys”, as the saying goes. But, deep down, they knew who and what they were going against, and the mutual respect was obvious.

•\tConversely – and, I’d read this before – this Texas team had NO respect for Notre Dame and their players/coaches. They didn’t go into the Cotton Bowl with that attitude – Notre Dame “earned” that by their own actions during the game.

As that game is discussed in this show, the Texas players say that “it wasn’t the cleanest game I’ve ever been involved in”. On one play, one of the two Campbell twins who played in the Texas secondary was involved in a routine play near the Notre Dame bench. As he got up and turned to return to the field, he could hear “hey, number 86 . . . you’re a blankety-blank” and then another voice said something similar directed to him. His first reaction was that it was some of the ND fans on the lower rows. But as he wheeled around in reaction to the taunts, he noticed that they were coming from a Notre Dame assistant coach and a Catholic priest who was on the sidelines. Right after that, Ara Parseghian himself started cursing at him! I can’t imagine DKR or Frank being involved in anything like that – or allowing anyone in the program to act that way.

Yes, I “hate” Texas; but at least (back then) I respected them. Never felt that way about Notre Dame, and still don’t.

•\tFreddie Steinmark was quite a young man, and is an inspiration to this Hog fan. I’ve heard and read enough about him to appreciate and respect the way he handled the ultimate adversity with grit, determination and courage. It’s clear that, 50 years on, his impact is still strong with his teammates.

•\tAs I’ve discussed here before, Mike Campbell gives a detailed description of how he talked a referee into nullifying our second TD, which several Texas players point to as THE key play in the game (IF we score then, many of the subsequent plays may never have happened). This was on our second possession, after we had scored on our first to go up 7-0. Texas had driven to about midfield when they tried a deep pass that Terry Stewart picked off around our own 10 yard line.

From there, Montgomery led perhaps his best drive ever, passing and RUNNING Texas silly. On a second down from around the Texas 25 yard line, he audibled out of a called running play to a pass that hit Dicus running a quick post pattern. Chuck caught the ball around the 5 with no one within 3 yards of him, and easily scored.

Apparently, when Montgomery audibled, the crowd noise was so loud that split end John Rees did not hear it, and so he took 2 or 3 steps and engaged in some light “chicken fighting” with Campbell near the right sidelines. After Dicus was in the EZ and our team was celebrating the score, Campbell said he turned to see an official looking right at him. As our special team was about to come onto the field for the PAT, he said he told the official “hey, #25 was blocking me – that’s pass interference” and the official said “you’re right” and threw his flag. Campbell himself said what I remember from playing football myself in that era – you were told to NEVER talk to officials, lest you get an unsportsmanlike penalty. Not only was he NOT penalized, we were and it was a huge, huge turn of events. IMO, this call was even more egregious than the non-call on the clip later in the game. Rees and Campbell were 20 yards away from the play (watching the replay, they are never even visible on the wide shot of the play) and there was no pass coverage going on. That’s a no-call 10 out of 10 times.

•\tIt actually makes me happy to know that the players from both sides of that game are – and have been – very friendly in the years that have passed. Yes, it will always be a painful loss for the Arkansas players. But the Texas players understand that and they focus on the sportsmanship, fellowship and how privileged both sides were to be involved in the game that TRULY was THE game of the Century. It would have been a foolish decision to have had the Horns introduced on the field at halftime of the 2004 game in DWRRS that marked the 35th anniversary of the Big Shootout (though that’s what author Terry Frei wanted to see, and he was sharply critical of Frank and Arkansas when that didn’t happen). It would have been the wrong time and place (no good would have come out of having those players booed, which is what would have happened). But I am very happy that they had the reunion and enjoy the fellowship then that they still do today.

I know most of you will pass on this, but I do recommend it. It is playing multiple times over this weekend (and, I’m sure, at other times later) on the Longhorn network. Probably available on the ESPN app as well.

The only way I will ever intentionally watch Bevonet is if we’re on there live, such as our baseball series at Disch-Falk last spring (although I was working those nights and never got to see it).

I will agree with you about the sportsmanship and respect even 50 years later.

One more thing I’ve noticed in the then vs. now department. After Bobby Burnett scored the touchdown that beat Nebraska in the '65 Cotton Bowl, he threw the ball high in the air in celebration. Today that would trigger a blizzard of yellow laundry. Then? Zip. Kick the extra point, kick off from the 40.

Well Wiz no reason to make a long love-hate debate it, you pretty much covered it from all angles.
It’s a game, still entrenched in my memory. At least we were a participant in the “Game of the Century” and played well enough to win it by far & were worthy of being National Champions that year as well. Oh well, not crying over spilled milk now.

Yep, Freshman in 1969, kicked out my 7th floor Yocum Hall dorm room early as the Secret Service cleared all the top floors that could see into the stadium where the President would be a few hours later. As for the game, it is the epitome of the coulda, shoulda, woulda that seems to lurk in almost every missed opportunity in Razorback sports that I’ve watched in the 50 years hence. I got over that one the same way I got over other ones, with a bit of help from a friend if you know what I mean. It doesn’t make the hurt go away, but it does tend to make me forget the worst pain that is in that moment.

I went to Austin the following year for the 1970 game. It was a blowout Texas win, but we were treated very well by the fans, before and after the game. We went to an Austin restaurant that I believe was called “The Barn”. It was a steakhouse with a bar right out of the San Francisco 1800s, complete with scantily clad girl swinging over our heads on a velvet swing with large $$ bills stuffed in her garter belt. The two governors were there. Lots of Texas rah rah music, and then, someone called the Hogs and the Texans courteously and enthusiastically chimed in. That was respect and good sportsmanship.

The penalty was weird then and still is all these years. I recalled it as holding, but Dave correctly mentions it as pass interference. I know he’s right. The main thing I remember, is that I don’t think you should ever throw a flag after a play. As they say, it was a weak call.

The other call that has always been debated is the decision by Broyles to go for a pass on third down from the 7-yard line when it was 14-8. He could have called a running play and then sent in Bill McClard for a field goal from point blank range. Of course, you still have to make the field goal. But McClard was reliable. It should have been 17-8.

Instead Bill Montgomery was intercepted by Danny Lester. That was a huge play in the game, one on the same level as the call by the official to wipe out the Arkansas score that Wiz detailed.

Good stuff by Wiz to start this thread. Actually, it’s wonderful stuff.

I was probably responsible for the decision not to allow the Texas players onto the field, although I didn’t have an opinion on it, or at least think I did. Maybe my decision to write the story would say otherwise.

I did an interview with Chuck Dicus about the decision to honor the Texas players on the field. There was an uproar on our website. So I called Chuck, then with the Razorback Foundation, and he let loose in a fury directed to our fans. It was probably a mistake for me to run the quotes, but he told me to run them and repeated them.

He said, “Our fans need to get over it.” Chuck added that we as a state and program are going to get over the hate we have for these Texas players. He said our players are friends with them and we respect them. We don’t hate them. He said we have been around them many times in social events and we like them very much.

Oh, well, the “get over it” remark didn’t go over well. Kinda hard to get over losing the Game of the Century.

Funny, but I left town on vacation as the column was coming out. I think I wrote it on a Wednesday and it ran in the Saturday paper. Early on Saturday I got a call from Frank Broyles on my cell. I was walking through a hay field on a private lease near Walden, Colo., to fish the North Platte.

Frank just wanted to confirm what Chuck had said because his phone was ringing off the hook from fans who said they refused to “get over this” and resenting someone telling them to. It was clear that Frank had reversed his decision to let the Texas players on the field. He said it wasn’t going to happen. But he just wanted another assurance from him that I got the quotes right. I did. I told him Chuck insisted that I write that particular phrase – something to the effect that Chuck said it twice for emphasis but that I chose only to quote him once. I do not think Chuck denies it, but maybe regrets having said it. But we haven’t talked about it all these years.

I haven’t watched the game replay. I have been in a room where it might have been playing, but didn’t care to watch. I didn’t want to relive it. I have seen a few of the plays again, like the Street pass or one of Street’s run that was mentioned. I saw the replay of the clip. I think I’ve seen the Lester interception again. That’s enough.

Again, good work here to detail this kind of stuff Wiz. You do this so well and you are a resource to this board, as are many others.

I’ll never get over that game. I was 13 years old. Other than the Ice Bowl in '67, this is the only game that ever brought me to tears.

I was 15 and I had an empty feeling for days. The buildup had been all year and then to lose like that was just devastating. I think I speak for the entire fan base, although that would never be my intent. I just think there are few that didn’t feel that way after the game.

Actually, Clay, the call was offensive pass interference - not holding. Regardless, it was a totally bogus call on it’s face, and doubly so because of when (several seconds after Dicus had scored) and why it was called.

One thing that is ironic, at least to me, is that when replays of the “full” game are shown (on ESPN Classic or LHN), the version they show (2 hours) is cut so that this entire 2nd scoring drive (the one called back) is omitted. I understand that some plays/drives have to be cut to get a game down to the number of minutes allotted, but it’s criminal to delete one of the most important sequences of the game, IMO.

Yes, there were MANY other key plays in that game; In the OP, I focused on the two blatantly bad calls by officials (the other being an obvious clip on Mike Boschetti during Street’s TD run on the first play of the 4th quarter that was not called). Some of the others were self-inflicted - such as the interception you described - and some were low percentage plays attempted by the Horns that came up aces for them. Ironically, to this day Bill Montgomery asserts that the pass call on the goal line was deliberately made because it was so “safe”. And Dicus was open - if the ball had been thrown more to the outside or had a little air put under it. Instead, as he wheeled around to his left to make the throw, Montgomery’s front foot slipped slightly on the soaked AstroTurf, taking just a bit of velocity and distance off the pass and making it relatively easy for Lester to jump in front of and pick off.

Something else I noticed watching this 1969 show that I hadn’t really taken note of or thought about before, is that the final pass - the one that Campbell intercepted to effectively end the game - could have very easily been our “answer” to the Street to Peschel pass.

As Campbell himself points out (and the slow-mo replay bears out), on that play, when John Rees planted his left foot to cut to the sidelines, Campbell’s left foot planted at exactly the same moment. For that to have happened, he could NOT have been reacting to Rees (if so, he would have been at least a split-second behind him); no, he effectively had gambled and decided that we were going to run an out pattern, and he “jumped” the route. If we had called any variation of a stop and go there, Rees would have been WIDE open by at least 10 yards for a TD (it was man to man coverage). All Bill would have had to do was loft the ball over Campbell’s head and the worst thing that could have happened would have been a completion deep into Texas territory - but most likely, it would have scored. Of course, that’s NOT what was called. The difference between being aggressive - as Texas was on the HUGE gamble they took on 4th and 3; and the more conservative call we made on first and 10 from about the Texas 45 yard line.

As for the Terry Frei business and the plan to introduce the players on the field at halftime, I vividly remember the debate and outcry on this board when it was announced. I strongly advocated against it. My reasoning is that while I DO respect their players and would applaud them in a different setting, when a fan base is in frenzy mode with their “game faces” on, against a rival with the history we have against Texas, they are in NO mood to applaud a team that ripped our collective hearts out. That doesn’t make them “bad fans”; it makes the timing and venue inappropriate for such recognition.

I also respect Chuck and our other players who spoke out against it, and I can see why THEY feel they way they do. But they are simply tone-deaf where this is concerned, probably because they were the warriors and they don’t fully understand how personal that loss was to the fan base. I like to think I have grown up and can put it into perspective now, but when that 2004 game was going on (I was in the stands), the LAST thing I wanted to do was give polite recognition to anything related to the Longhorns. Frank did the right thing by cancelling those plans. Still, I’m very happy that the Razorbacks hosted their counterparts and were able to enjoy the fellowship that they did; and I’m also happy that they did so privately, for ALL concerned. I would have really been disappointed if the introductions had gone forward and the 69 Longhorns had been lustily booed, as I’m certain they would have been (by some, at least). They deserve better than that, AND it would have given our fan base a huge “black eye” in the view of the national media - it would have been a “lose/lose” situation and marred what was otherwise a very successful event.

I’ll again say that this is a good watch, and I recommend it. About half of it is about the Arkansas game, and includes some short clips from interviews with Montgomery and Dicus. I expected going in that this would be a burnt-orange spin job giving little credit to Arkansas, but that is not the case. The account of the game and comments by the Longhorn players are properly balanced and respectful. And I found the segments about the Cotton Bowl and Freddie Steinmark very interesting.

I know many on the board just have no concept of what this meant. I have even heard some say the TN game was the equal (not even close). Just reading this puts a downer on me. It was my Sr. year at UofA. Still, the point of the respect between the players and coaches is very valid. Also, the success of players on both sides should not be overlooked. I think that speaks to one of the reasons those were two great teams.

I was at the game too. I was 16.

I still have the football program from the game. Not sure why I’ve kept it all these years. It just brings back painful memories :frowning: whenever I see it

That part about the Texass’ players/fans being civil and treating Hog fans well after the game and into the immediate future might have turned out a little different if they had lost the game like they should have…

The first high school football game I can recall going to was a Pine Bluff Zebras home game with my Dad. When the opposing team came out, I went along with the crowd and booed. My father told me you cheer as hard as you can for your team but that booing the other team was unsportsmanlike, and if I booed one more time I was going to go home right then and there.

Unfortunately, things changed, and what he objected to was just the start of it. It is not uncommon for fans to boo the opposing team. Or the refs. Or their own coaches. Or their own team.

I was crushed after the 1969 Texas loss. Still am. I will never “get over it”. But I got over booing the opposing team at the first high school football game I ever went to. And Chuck Dicus and the rest of the 1969 Razorbacks showed a lot of class not only on the field but in inviting their opponents to Fayetteville.

On the other hand, I loved the humor in Hogsrus’s post. I would never boo any team, but if Texas had had the decency to lose the game, I would have applauded them.

I was only six at the time so my memory of the game isn’t the best. I just remember watching the game in my little rocking chair and crying afterwards. My mom sent me to my room.

There is no crying in baseball, but there sure is in football. This is confirmation.

I read Frei’s book until the fourth quarter. There I stopped and never have revisited it. No, no, no.

I booing the other team is just so bush league. I would never, ever consider doing that. Follow the example of DKR and JFB and we will be fine.

I know that’s not the way you should do it. Booing is not the right way to do life in general. But, having said that, I do not recall going on the road in the SEC and not hearing boos. And, it could be a place that hasn’t seen Arkansas enough to even know who they are booing. I do not think I’ve ever booed anything. I have moaned when in the stands at a baseball game (or at one of my daughter’s soccer game) and I see an umpire/referee that is consistently poor, out of position or just wrong. But I didn’t do much other than make my wife suggest that I don’t moan so loud. I moaned when she said that and she left me alone.

Being booed on the road generally confirms success…

I was 21 at the time, i was completely numb all the way back to Memphis and probably for the next couple days. That said the 69 Texas guys were a classy bunch glad they won the NC since we didn’t, we were the better team things just didn’t go our way.

In general, I try not to boo. I’m human, so can’t claim I never have. On those rare occasions, it’s typically a ref’s call, not a player (maybe once or twice when some bad-actor is flipping off the crowd or something similarly idiotic). I just don’t think it’s productive.

That said, I have a whole lot less of a problem “showing displeasure” with current players (opponents) than I do former players, as was the case in 2004 for the 1969 Texas players. I get how people are amped up during a game and - as I mentioned earlier - have their “game faces” on. So the players in the “other” uniforms are “the enemy” during that time.

But 50 or 60 year old guys that are our guests to WATCH the game should not be booed. However, I’m almost certain they would have been (by enough to be heard), and therefore I’m glad they were not introduced.