On April 8, 2000, the actor Christopher Walken hosted Saturday Night Live. Joined by Will Ferrell and Jimmy Fallon, among others, Walken starred in one of the great skits in SNL history. "More cowbell" became a phrase that caught the fancy of American pop culture.
The skit took place in a recording studio, where the rock band Blue Oyster Cult was working on the late '70s song "Don't Fear the Reaper." Walken's need "for more cowbell" and the distractions Ferrell was causing by banging the cowbell made for great theater.
On Saturday, when Mississippi State and Michigan meet, the stage for cowbells will be at EverBank Field for the Gator Bowl.
The Bulldog faithful will bring in their cowbells as they have been doing since the early 1950s, and they are definitely an issue for the opposing team. In 1974, the Southeastern Conference tried to ban cowbells from Scott Stadium in Starkville, Miss., but tradition won out as State fans snuck the bells into the stadium, making it almost impossible for anyone to stop the clanging.
Michigan, of course, is preparing for "more cowbell." Cowbells have been clanging in the ears of the center and the quarterback for much of the practices leading up to the game. Watching it and listening to it, does create a few snickers on the sidelines, but this time a cowbell is serious stuff.
The distinctive noise is something I have never been privy to hear at football games. I am pretty sure it won't be as bad as soccer's vuvuzela. A big day for Michigan would go a long way to get that ringing out of everyone's ear.
Interesting Note: The Michigan football team busses were locked out of the Jacksonville University this morning. The gates were locked and no one had a key. The team busses were on the street with curious onlookers wondering what was going on. After about 10 minutes, a Jacksonville police officer took a bolt cutter to the lock to get the busses and the team into the practice area.