Remember when Parks and Rec decided to randomly change course before the final season and start a drawn-out, poorly explained feud between its two main characters? That was weird. It was also a departure from anything the show had done until that point. Like, piss-a-lot-of-people-off weird.
Frost pulled a Parks and Rec during Nebraska’s Spring Game last Saturday but it wasn’t quite as random. The music for the Tunnel Walk changed and there’s a pretty decent pocket of people that are all in their feels about it.
So, naturally, I think there should be arguments for and arguments against moving away from The Alan Parsons Project’s “Sirius” as the walk-out, hype-up music. On Wednesday we presented an argument in favor of changing the song. Now, an argument for keeping it right where it is.
Tradition. Nebraska is built on it and steeped in it. Play all the hip hop and rap and EDM you want in the pregame while the players are on the field but that Tunnel Walk is not to be touched. We’re talking about the song that played while rocketing National Championship trophies dropped out of the sky and planted themselves next to Memorial Stadium. We’re talking about the song that, once it came into use in 1994, preceded 70 Nebraska wins over the next six seasons, three national championships and only seven losses.
Dad doesn’t know “POWER” by Kanye West, Dad knows “Sirius” by The Alan Parsons Project and “Sirius” knows winning football.
Scott Frost’s return to Nebraska represented more than just a head coach returning to an alma mater, it represented a Nebraska return to what it used to be. What it used to be was a team of big, strong, knock-your-teeth-out-and-take-your-football kids running out that tunnel to the sound of one song time and time again.
Why would you even want to change that?
This is very simple. Don’t mess with it.
The argument that “Sirius” isn’t even a Nebraska song and belongs more to the Michael Jordan-era Chicago Bulls fails to acknowledge something else: the Bulls weren’t the only ones to use it. The Kansas City Chiefs were using the song in the early ‘90s and a pro wrestler was using it in the ‘80s.
And here’s another, if the song belongs to only one team and we can agree that the Huskers and the Bulls have the two best claims to it, shouldn’t it go to whoever has been the most successful with it?
Since 1994, the year Nebraska started using it to come out of the tunnel, the Huskers have a better winning percentage than the Bulls, the same number of titles and fewer losing seasons. Since ’94, Nebraska has won 71.0 percent of its games — and yes, that includes the Callahan and Riley eras. Over that same time frame, the Bulls have been a .500 team (.501 to be exact). Chicago has also endured eight losing seasons to Nebraska’s four.
I think we know who the song truly belongs to.
The argument for modernization is a smart one to make in a day and age that is seeing programs go through a sort of facilities race, and Frost touched on that Wednesday night on the Huskers’ “Sports Nightly” radio show. He talked about striking a balance between honoring tradition and embracing updating. The full quote:
"It was a small part of a huge Husker tradition, a very small part of a huge Husker tradition. I don't know that we're going to do anything to try to harm that tradition or change the things that really matter. But if there's some other things that we can do to still honor Nebraska and what it really stands for, and the tradition and greatness, but modernize what we're doing, we're going to look for some of those chances as well.”
In the grand scheme of things, yes, an intro song played when the team takes the field is a small part of a larger tradition of greatness at Nebraska but if the fans want the Tunnel Walk untouched then there are other areas to modernize.
Instead of the intro, maybe change the on-field activities that take place during warm-ups (did you see the three-man weave Nebraska was running?), maybe change the social media strategy to keep pace with all the eyeball emojis and graphics and video packages going around, maybe tweak the jersey or the pants (red pants anyone?) or the shoes or the gloves or add an alternate. There are other ways to embrace moving forward without changing the Tunnel Walk.
Derek is a newbie on the Hail Varsity staff covering Husker athletics. In college, he was best known as ‘that guy from Twitter.’ He has covered a Sugar Bowl, a tennis national championship and almost everything in between (except an NCAA men’s basketball tournament game… *tears*). In his spare time, he can be found arguing with literally anyone about sports.