Perhaps The Dumbest Play Evah.

Late on Thanksgiving night, we were watching the Ol’ Miss vs. Mississippi State football game. The two teams have the 10th longest continuous running rivalry in college football, dating back to 1901 when the two teams played for football supremacy in the state of Mississippi.

The game is also known as the “Egg Bowl,” a name which has it’s origins in a fight that occurred between fans after the 1926 game.

To prevent such events in the future, students of the two schools created the “Golden Egg,” a large trophy which has been awarded to the winning team each year since 1927. The trophy is a large football-shaped brass piece mounted to a wooden base and traditionally symbolizes supremacy in college football in the state of Mississippi for the year. The footballs used in American football in the 1920s were considerably more ovoid and blunter than those in use today and similar to the balls still used in rugby; the trophy thus, to modern eyes, more resembles an egg than a football. The awarding of the “Golden Egg” was instituted in 1927 by joint agreement between the two schools’ student bodies. In the event of a tie (before overtime was instituted in Division I college football in 1996)[11] the school that won the game the previous year kept the trophy for the first half of the new year and then the trophy was sent to the other school for the second half of the new year. The game was given the nickname “Egg Bowl” by Clarion-Ledger sportswriter Tom Patterson in 1979.

As usual, the game on Thanksgiving was loud and raucous but with very little of the “chippiness” that has come to characterize many rivalry games.

With the clock ticking, Ol’ Miss down by 7 and probably looking at their last timed play of the game, Ol’ Miss quarterback Matt Corral threw a 2 yard pass to wide receiver Elijah Moore for a touchdown, bringing the Rebels to within one of tying the game with the Bulldogs. Then the unbelievable happened.

Moore has since apologized for his actions.

In addition,…

Ole Miss head coach Matt Luke and athletics director Keith Carter issued a joint statement about Moore’s celebration, apologizing as a program to the Ole Miss family for the “disappointing and unacceptable action” that occurred during the game.

“Elijah is a fine young man who lost control of his emotions in the moment,” the statement said. “This incident does not reflect in any way the type of student-athletes on our football team or the culture of respect that permeates our locker room. Discipline is a staple of our program as evidenced by being the least penalized team in our league, and we will continue to uphold uncompromising standard of behavior on and off the field.”

Moore’s actions seem to be a continuation of the “look at me” attitude that is prevalent in sports today.

Watch the play where Moore scores again.

Moore did not snap the ball.

Moore did not throw the ball.

Moore did not block so quarterback Corral was upright and could make the pass.

Moore did not run more than one route that would take defenders away from him and allow him to make the catch.

In other words, it was a team effort.

Yet after the play, when a lineman and another receiver run up to Moore to celebrate with him, Moore crawls away them in order to simulate urinating like a dog; a selfish “me” moment which caused his team a 15 yard penalty which made the game tying try for the extra point much longer and tougher.

While there is no way that one can say that Ol’ Miss would have won the game if it had gone to overtime, the fact of the matter is that prior to the kick, kicker Luke Logan was 35 of 37 points after touchdown for the year. The odds were in Ol’ Miss’s favor that Logan would have made the kick.

What is even stranger about this is that Ol’ Miss was penalized for the same infraction in 2017 when wide receiver D.K. Metcalf also drew a penalty for the celebration in 2017 after scoring a touchdown.

The coaching staff before this game had talked to the team about such displays and that they couldn’t do silly things and expect to win.

That obviously went in one ear and out the other.

We are strong believers that sports often is a training and proving ground for people. By “proving ground” we don’t mean wins and losses. Sports are a proving ground for your character. In that schools are supposed to be training people for life after sports, the excuse of “caught up in the moment” doesn’t fly. It doesn’t fly for Moore and it doesn’t fly for anyone who would act in such a selfish manner.

After all, would you want someone working in your office or business who simulates urinating on other people’s desks?

Would you want someone working for you that was more interested in themselves rather than team and company goals?

The statement from coach Matt Luke and athletics director Keith Carter went on to say that they would handle any discipline internally and would not comment on that discipline.

That’s fine as there is an old saying that you “praise in public and condemn in private.”

We are deeply troubled by this incident because it is happening everywhere in team sports. There used to be a saying “there is no ‘i’ in ‘team,'” but it appears now that players are saying, “there is a ‘m’ and an ‘e’ in ‘team,’ so look at me!”

“Look at me being a selfish individual who didn’t need the rest of the people on the field – the rest of the team – to score.”

It’s sickening to us. We are old school that way, but then again, we enjoyed celebrating scoring and wins with teammates.

We always felt we won and lost as a team, so we celebrate as a team.

Apparently that quaint notion has gone the way of the dodo bird.

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