The infamous Aggie halftime
incident took place way back in November of 1973
. It is quite astonish
ing that it still gets talked about in AD 2000
, but since it does, I guess it qualifies as history
It was a day game at Rice Stadium. At halftime, the Owls were ahead 17-0, so the Aggies were in no mood for satire when the MOB goose-stepped onto the field to begin its "Salute to Texas A&M". The show was a fairly typical MOB spoof, but Aggies take their traditions very seriously. By the time the band formed a big fireplug to the tune of "Where, Oh Where Has My Little Dog Gone?", ice and trash were already raining down onto the field. They closed their set with The March of the Tin Soldiers, accompanied by indignant jeers from the Aggie partisans.
Reveille, who was alive, healthy, and in attendance, seemed to take it in stride, but some A&M students were miffed enough to shove some of the Rice band members around before the game resumed.
It all might have turned out okay, except that Rice had the poor judgement to overcome an Aggie lead in the closing minutes of the game. Instead of going home, many of the A&M fans stayed in the stadium, gesturing and shouting at the band through a circle of police. The Cadet Corps remained in the stadium, but their student leaders prevented them from rushing the MOB and mincing them with their sabres. A crowd of about 500 remained outside, waiting for the MOB, who were escorted into a tunnel under the stands. The standoff between police and fans lasted a couple of hours, until the university brought in food service trucks to carry the MOB to safety.
The incident was so controversial that the MOB did not venture to Kyle Field the following year, but the next time they faced A&M, in 1975, their "tribute" was to themselves. Among other things, they formed a human backside, from which a piece was removed.
Since that time, the Marching Owl Band has formed the fireplug at a few more Aggie/Owl halftimes, presumably in an effort to get everybody to lighten up, but it is safe to say that the MOB is still held in low esteem by many Aggies. Did I mention that they take their traditions seriously?
The eatme story may be, like the dead Reveille story, apocryphal. However, another tale of the MOB's villainy is probably true. It is said that they learned some of the whistle commands used by the Aggie band, and skillfully disrupted one of that band's intricate marching routines to the extent that they had to stop the show and march off the field in disgrace. The Fightin' Texas Aggie Band no longer uses whistle commands at Rice University games.