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The Tunnel Walk: Nebraska Football's Tradition That Needs Something Refreshed

Eric Francis

With no Husker fan hoping for much excitement being generated by Florida Atlantic on Saturday, fans instead this week have focused on the pagentry around the game...specifically the Tunnel Walk.  CN's own merry band of authors threw own suggestions into the discussion this week, as I'm sure many of your friends have.  (My favorite is the idea of sending Randy Gregory into the opponent's locker room to defecate.)

Why so outrageous?  Well, because it's far easier to come up with bad ideas when brainstorming than it is to come up with really good ideas.  That's why when the World-Herald's Dirk Chatelain called to dump "Sirius" as the underlying music, he didn't offer up alternatives.

Of course, let's begin with the naive thought that the Tunnel Walk is one of those things that somebody comes up with on Saturday morning.  These productions take weeks, if not months, of planning and development work to create. I'm sure that when the folks in marketing and event production in the athletic department read those game week thoughts, they probably just rolled their eyes.

This year's Tunnel Walk will be different.  It is every year.  Sometimes, it changes during the season.  In 2001, the Tunnel Walk changed after the 9/11 attacks.  In 2007, we started the season with the paratroopers/Mikey Bo remix version, which was dumped after Steve Pederson was fired for a more streamlined walk.  What will be changed this year?  More than likely, it's fireworks.

That seems to be the consensus opinion from people who have connections, and that seems to be the most likely change.  How will it work?  It remains to be seen.  Fireworks were tried in the mid-2000's, and I always thought they were a distraction because they shifted attention away from the field.  People stopped clapping and screaming to look at the skies.

So tomorrow afternoon, some Husker fans will be happy with the new version...others won't be.  That's the way life is. And we'll hear once again that some people want to drop Sirius.  Which is fine, because frankly, some people didn't like how Nebraska "stole" it from the Chicago Bulls during the Michael Jordan era.

Here's the thing:  Sirius isn't the problem.  It's ingrained as a tradition at Nebraska, because it reminds some of the glory days.  And it's hard to argue with this:

Or this.

But for fans who weren't around 20 years ago, Sirius falls flat. Now Sirius is that theme song that brought us Bill Callahan and Frank Solich.  And in the best of seasons, four losses.

We can talk the aestheics and production quality of each season's Tunnel Walk on a case-by-case basis.  Some things will be overdone, some will leave you flat.  And some will have you wanting for more. That's only to be expected. But the discussion about the Tunnel Walk needing a complete overhaul is just frustrated talk. Specifically frustration over a lack of hardware in Lincoln.  New championship trophies go a long way in freshening up not only the Tunnel Walk, but also the mood of the fans watching the walk.

I certainly understand why fans are disappointed about not winning a conference championship since 1999, or being in a major bowl game since 2001.  I share that disappointment.  We've come close:  within a second in 2009 and one ankle away in 2010.  2012 seemed like it might finally be that year, only to have it jet sweeped into oblivion.  Is 2014 the year Nebraska football breaks through?  I don't know, but I'm optimistic.

And if it happens, I guarantee that we'll have something exciting and fresh for the 2015 Tunnel Walk.