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The Rose Bowl Through the Eyes of a Texan

September 12, 2023

Explore the timeless allure of the Rose Bowl through the perspective of a devoted Texan. Dive into the rich history, cherished memories, and the profound impact this iconic stadium has on the world of college football. Discover the magic of the 'granddaddy of them all' and its enduring legacy, as seen through the eyes of a passionate sports enthusiast.

The Rose Bowl Through the Eyes of a Texan

I am a native Texan, born and raised. Football, particularly College Football, is part of my DNA. My dad is a University of Texas alum so we were all raised as Longhorn fans. My earliest memories of the game include “Hook ‘Em Horns”, Darrell Royal, and the Wishbone.

Saturdays were devoted to watching the 2 or 3 games that were on TV that day (pre-cable and streaming). They all built up to that most glorious football day of all – New Years Day. For us, there were two “must-see” games: the Cotton Bowl if Texas was in it and the Rose Bowl. Being Longhorn fans, it’s easy to understand the former. But why the latter?

Unlike every other game, the Rose Bowl was not just a football game, it was an Event. We usually spent New Years Day visiting relatives, but we had to be someplace in time for the start of the Rose Bowl. From the beginning, with the view of the iconic Rose Bowl Stadium marquee and its single rose, you knew you were watching something special. When Keith Jackson welcomed you to the “granddaddy of them all”, it was simply electric.

The Stadium, a perfect venue for the college game, was beautifully symmetric and wonderfully colorful, with the San Gabriel mountains looking on approvingly in the background. And, speaking of those mountains, the sight of the sun setting behind the mountains in the 3rd quarter was (and still is), by far, the most picturesque scene in all of College Football.

Growing up, the Rose Bowl kept its hold on me and I watched faithfully year after year. Imagine then, my utter delight when the Longhorns took on the USC Trojans in the 2006 Rose Bowl game for the national championship. For me, this was one of those “do you remember where you were when” moments. The Texas victory ranks as my all-time favorite college football memory (just edging out the 1969 Texas -Arkansas game). The Greatest College Football Game Ever (arguably) in the Greatest College Football Stadium Ever (no argument).

A few years ago, I was asked to join the Rose Bowl Legacy Foundation’s Borad of Advisors. That was a very quick yes! It is such an honor and privilege to be part of the organization charged with preserving and enhancing America’s Stadium. It has afforded me the opportunity to visit the Rose Bow on several occasions and I can honestly say that the thrill of seeing that iconic marquee and grand old stadium has not diminished one bit.

Through my participation, I have been able to introduce my kids to the Rose Bowl. Watching my son reenact Vince Young’s winning touchdown run on that field was special. Seeing the look in the eyes of his wife, a huge soccer fan, as she toured the Rose Bowl museum and saw the World Cup history of the Stadium as well as the statue of Brandi Chastain outside the stadium was equally special.

Watching the 2022 Rose Bowl game with my daughter and her husband (he is a huge Ohio State fan) created memories for all of us that will last a lifetime. I have one more daughter to introduce to the Rose Bowl, hopefully soon. She’s a Notre Dame grad and will no doubt love the tribute to the Four Horsemen on one of the Stadium’s walls. It is satisfying to know that the Rose Bowl will be a special part of my family for years and years to come.

They say everything is bigger in Texas. For the most part, I have to say that is true. While Texas does have a Pasadena, the Rose Bowl Stadium resides in its California counterpart so I have to give them that. No matter. The Rose Bowl may reside in California, but it belongs to each and every true College football fan of yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Can’t wait for my next visit!