Mississippi State now officially holds the world record for simultaneous cowbell ringing, which doesn’t sound that cool, but sounds way cooler than holding the world record for the things Mississippi State officials were throwing out as possible cowbell substitutes forty-plus years ago.
Thanks to a written complaint to the SEC from Auburn coach Shug Jordan, the bells were deemed artificial noisemakers and banned in early 1975. MSU needed options. Everything was on the table. Because judging by one of the suggestions for a replacement, it wasn’t the cowbells, per se, that were so beloved by fans, but what they did: Limited Bulldog opponents to only four senses.
“Mississippi State officials say they are casting about for some other device with which to support their teams,” the AP reported after the ban went into effect.
One suggested device: Handheld mirrors. Why mirrors? Oh, just because the mirrors would, you know, be “quite flashy”, as head Mississippi State cheerleader Frank Anger (no typo), who was spearheading the cowbell replacement campaign, told a reporter. And hey, they’re silent.
The two most popular alternatives being considered by MSU’s Student Government Association: shaking de-clangered cowbells while shouting “Ding Dong, Dammit”, and waving cow tails like shakers or towels or something.
Anger told the UPI that he wasn’t sure whether “the students who suggested cow tails mean fake appendages or the real thing.”
But with their distracting device designs still up in the air, students began boning up on their finger whistling, just in case.
Whistling, Anger said, “isn’t an artificial noisemaker.”
Mississippi State ultimately said screw it, we’re keeping the cowbells — clangers intact — and proceeded to ring them illegally for the next 35 years, and not without incident. After the 1981 Auburn-Mississippi State game, a Mississippi State professor actually sued Auburn University and the SEC for violating his constitutional rights after his cowbell was confiscated by Jordan-Hare Stadium security.
In 2010, the SEC finally said fine, whatever, ring them — just be cool about it.
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More MSU stuff:
* Former AU quarterback Phil Gargis talks about the 1974 Auburn-Mississippi State game that led to cowbell ban
* Dana Carvey, Kevin Nealon were stoked to watch Auburn beat Mississippi State in 1986 ‘Saturday Night Live’ episode
* Mississippi State fan sues Auburn, SEC over confiscated cowbell; calls rule ‘unconstitutional’
* Shug: ‘The cowbells have no place in college football’
* That time Mississippi State accused Auburn punter Terry Daniel of filling footballs with helium
* Watch Terry Bowden’s press conference response to 1993 MSU allegations that Auburn inflated football with helium