The legendary Tom Osborne is retiring as Nebraska’s Athletic Director at the end of the year. Saturday marks his final home football game as a University of Nebraska employee.
It is impossible to overstate the impact that Osborne has had as a coach, mentor, teacher, U.S. Congressman, Athletic Director, and statesman. Lots of fans have been wondering how the Huskers will properly honor a man who has meant so, so, so much to the football program, athletic department, University, and state over the past 50 years.
The popular suggestion is to have Osborne lead the Huskers onto the field as part of the famed Tunnel Walk, but I just don’t see that happening. Osborne has never been a person who wants or needs the spotlight – as Bob Costas described him after Osborne’s first National Championship “a man who has studiously avoided self-aggrandizement in an age all too devoted to style over substance”.
So how can the Husker program and fans properly honor T.O.? Here are some suggestions:
- During the game on Saturday, have the offense run nothing but option to the short side of the field, fullback traps, and two play-action passes to a wide open tight end. Just like the old days, Nebraska scores 80 on Minnesota.
- Bo Pelini has his jaw wired shut and takes five tranquilizers to mimic Osborne’s stoic sideline presence.
- During halftime, the Cornhusker Marching Band forms the shape of the iconic T.O. profile
- Barry Switzer shows up and tells Osborne he gets “one free swing”.
- Former Big XII Commissioner Dan Beebe shows up offering “two free swings”
- Former Athletic Director Steve Pederson returns and Osborne gets to kick him in the groin.
- Post game comedy show with Tom and Larry the Cable Guy. Tom wears this.
- After every touchdown, the Huskers go for two.
- Adidas provides “throwback” sideline attire for the coaching staff.
- Have Herbie Husker tackle the Minnesota Gopher mascot. Herbie then pulls the head off of his costume to reveal…it’s Tom Osborne (thunderous applause).
- Lawrence Phillips, out on a temporary parole, publicly apologizes for being a black eye on Osborne’s sterling legacy.
- At halftime, a rocking chair is brought out to midfield. Tom is invited to sit in the chair, and then receives a lap dance from the Scarlets dance team.
- Tom invites the 86,000 fans over to his house for a “righteous kegger”. His wife Nancy is seriously pissed, but still makes enough ‘lil smokies for everyone.
- Jason Peter and Grant Wistrom sneak up behind him and dump a Gatorade bucket of ice water on him.
- Tom is presented with one of each of the 19 fish he named in 30 seconds. Fittingly, the fish are wrapped in newspaper columns that questioned him or his team.
- As a thank you for not hiring Osborne after the 1978 season, Nebraska allows Colorado to take three scholarship players to improve their woefully bad football team.
- Tom is serenaded by Joyce of the Sidetrack Band. Tom leads the crowd in a rousing chorus of “Screw the Sooners” before doing a solo version of the Sidetrack Band’s NSFW version of “For The Longest Time”.
Or, more likely: HuskerVision runs a video montage of classic moments and old clips, including several tributes from college football legends (Keith Jackson, Bobby Bowden, Switzer, etc.). After which, the fans give him a long and loud standing ovation while Tom squirms uncomfortably in the spotlight. After the applause dies down, Tom makes a self-deprecating comment with his trademark dry wit.