The Difference between Football in the North and the South

I am reposting this tonight (11 January 2016) because of something I posted on Facebook.  I also updated the story about the MIT student and his “science project.”

I heard part of this over the weekend and went looking for the whole list. This is what I found.


Up North Statues of founding fathers

Down South Statues of Heisman Trophy winners


Up North Mario Cuomo

Down South “Bear” Bryant


Up North Take prospects on sailing trips before they join the law firm.

Down South Take prospects on fishing trip so they don’t leave for the NFL their senior year.


Up North Expect their daughter to understand Sylvia Plath.

Down South Expect their daughters to understand pass interference.


Up North Five minutes before the game you walk into the ticket office on campus and still purchase tickets.

Down South 5 months before the game you can walk into the ticket office on campus and still be placed on the waiting list for tickets because the all the games have been sold out for months.


Up North An hour before game time the University opens the campus for game parking.

Down South On Wednesday and Thursday the RVs sporting their school flags pull into campus and set up for the weekend festivities. The real faithful sometimes start on Tuesday.


Up North You ask “Where’s the stadium?” When you find it, you walk right in with no line.

Down South No directions needed. When you’re near it, you’ll hear it. Just follow the crowd of cheering fans toward the most amazing stadiums build by man, singing their school fight song like it is gospel,. As you wait in line to get to the gate you hear the fight songs by both bands battling it out for bragging rights for another 365 days. On game day, it becomes the state’s third largest city.

Please note that the comment about stadium size does not necessarily apply to school in the South; when the University of Nebraska Cornhuskers play football at home, the stadium becomes the state’s third largest city.


Up North College football stadiums hold 20,000

Down South High School football stadiums hold 20,000


Up North A few students party in the dorm and watch ESPN on TV.

Down South Every student wakes up, has a beer for breakfast, and rushes over to where ESPN is broadcasting on Game Day “live” to get on camera and wave to their Mom and Dad back home and to the idiots up North who wonder why game day is never broadcast from their campus.


Up North Students and Teachers are not sure if they are going because they have class on Friday.

Down South Teachers cancel class on Friday because they are going to the Thursday Night game and they don’t want to see the few hung-over students that might actually make it to class on Friday.


Up North They think a barbecue is putting raw meat on the grill with a few guys standing around drinking a beer with a lime in it, and listening to the local radio station with the back of their truck down.

Down South Thirty-foot custom pig-shaped smoker fires up at dawn. The barbecued smells of ribs and chicken that have been soaking in Pa’s secret sauce for days cover the campus, while you and your closest friends renew friendship and reminisce last years victory over an aged bottle of whiskey and several cases of beer. Cooking is accompanied by a live performance by Jerry Jeff Walker, who comes over during breaks and asks for a hit off your bottle of bourbon.


Up North Drinks served in a paper cup filled to the top with soda.

Down South Drinks served in a plastic cup with the home team’s mascot and is only filled 3/4 of the way to ensure enough room for the right mix of bourbon.


Up North Male and female alike: woolly sweater or sweatshirt and jeans.

Down South Male – press khakis, oxford shirt, cap with frat logo, Justin Ropers. Female – ankle-length skirt, coordinated cardigan, flat riding boots, oxford shirt.


Up North Chapstick in their back pocket and a $20 bill in their front pocket.

Down South Louis Vuitton duffel containing two lipsticks, powder, mascara (waterproof), concealer, and a fifth of bourbon. A wallet is not necessary; that’s what dates are for.


Up North Stands are less than half full.

Down South Only a few ticket holders are not in the stadium as 100,000+ fans stand and proudly sing along in perfect 3-part harmony.


Up North The only ones cheering are the student section and the announcer (and the announcer is paid).

Down South… the fans scream and cheer so loud the stadium roars and a tear comes to the announcer’s eyes because he’s so proud of his team.


Up North Nothing Changes!

Down South Fireworks with a twist of bourbon


Up North Paid

Down South Announcer harmonizes with the crowd in the fight song, with a tear in his eye because he is so proud of his team.


Up North “Nice Play”

Down South “Dammit you slow sumbitch – tackle him and break his legs!!!”


Up North “My, this is a violent sport.”

Down South “Dammit you slow sumbitch – tackle him and break his legs!!!”


Up North Also a Physics Major

Down South Also Miss USA


Up North The stadium is empty before the game ends.

Down South The celebration begins with the bragging rights to going to the victor for another 365 days. Fans from both schools share some home cooked ribs and a fine glass of aged whiskey and plan to start all over for the next home game.

Some stories I have heard and enjoyed:

There’s a story about a MIT student who spent an entire summer going to the Harvard football field every day wearing a black and white striped shirt, walking up and down the field for ten or fifteen minutes throwing birdseed all over the field, blowing a whistle and then walking off the field. At the end of the summer, it came time for the first Harvard home football team, the referee walked onto the field and blew the whistle, and the game had to be delayed for a half hour to wait for the birds to get off of the field. The guy wrote his thesis on this, and graduated.  Note added on 11 January 2016 – apparently this story has the status of an urban legend.  According to the notes in Wikipedia, there is no record of this ever having been done.

After Bear Bryant dies and enters the Pearly Gates, God takes him on a tour. He shows Bear a little two-bedroom house with a faded Alabama banner hanging from the front porch.

“This is your house, coach,” God says happily. “Most people don’t get their own houses up here.”

Bear looks at the house, then turns around and looks at the one sitting on top of the hill. It’s a huge, beautiful two-story mansion with white marble columns and little patios under all the windows. Auburn flags line both sides of the sidewalk and a huge Auburn banner hangs between the marble columns.

“Thanks for the house, God,” Bear says. “But let me ask you a question. I get this little two-bedroom house with a faded banner and Shug gets a mansion with Auburn banners and AU flags flying all over the place. Why is that?”

God looks at him seriously for a moment, then says, “Bear, that’s not Shug’s house. That’s mine.”

A true event (I am not so sure that it is true but it might have been) happened during a football game in the Southeast Conference between the great rivals of Alabama and Auburn back in the days when Bear Bryant was still living and Pat Dye was the coach of Auburn. The first-team quarterback for the Alabama team had been injured, so they were left with the second-team quarterback. Alabama was on Auburn’s twenty-yard line, and had a five point lead in the game. There was two minutes left in the game and Alabama had a first down. Coach Bryant yelled into the ear hole helmet of the second-team quarterback, “Whatever you do, do not pass! Run the ball all four plays. And then if we have to hold them, our defense will get us through and we will win.”

The second-team quarterback ran in full determination. On first down, Auburn crushed the Alabama attack. On second down Auburn once again held the line of scrimmage. On third down, Alabama gained a yard. On fourth down, some how the Alabama handoff was muffled and the quarterback wound up running the ball. Running around the backfield, he looked down field and saw his split end wide open in the endzone, so he threw the football towards him.

What the quarterback failed to see was the fastest man on the field was the free safety for the Auburn Tigers, who broke quickly for the ball. The free safety came in front of the receiver, intercepted the pass and started to race down the sidelines for the endzone. The Alabama quarterback, not very fast himself normally, sprinted down the field, caught the man and tackled him. Alabama won the game.

Coach Dye said later to Coach Bryant, “I read the scouting report on your quarterback, he is suppose to be slow. How is it he caught up with the fastest man on the field?” Coach Bryant replied, “It is very simple. Your man was running for the goal line and a touchdown. My man was running for his life!”

And my favorite

Auburn vs. Alabama, SEC Championship. Fourth Down. One yard to go. 2 seconds left. It was 15-17, ‘Bama leading.

Pat Dye beseeched the Lord. God said, “Pat, go for the touchdown and run right.”

Pat Dye gives the instructions to his players; the play executes, ‘Bama stops Auburn’s offense just short of the goal line, ending the game.

‘Bama won.

Pat Dye was distraught. “Why, Lord?” and God said, “I don’t know. Bear, why did we tell him that?”

11 thoughts on “The Difference between Football in the North and the South

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  7. Absolutely right. In the suburb of Atlanta where I grew up, high school football was the #1 religion. The 2nd was the Baptist Church. Teachings of Jesus Christ came in about 10th.

  8. Pingback: The Chant | A guide to the south’s favorite sport: football

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