Friday, November 28, 2008

The Egg Bowl and Egg Trophy

Today the annual Egg Bowl takes place between Mississippi State and Ole Miss...below is the history behind the Egg Bowl and the Golden Egg Trophy... (Golden Egg Trophy, photo, right)

Up until 1926, Ole Miss had claimed only five wins in the previous twenty-three meetings of the teams. When Ole Miss beat what was then known as Mississippi A&M College 7 to 6, the Ole Miss fans were celebratory, rushing the field, some trying to tear the goalposts down. A&M fans did not take well to the Ole Miss fans celebrations, and fights broke out all over the field between the schools' fans. Some A&M fans defended the goal posts with wooden chairs, and several injuries were reported. Ole Miss and A&M students vowed then that such an incident should not happen again.

The result was the "Golden Egg", a trophy to cool the heat of battle - the trophy, not the goalposts, would be the winners' reward. The name derives from a large trophy which has been awarded to the winning team each year since 1927. The trophy consists of 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 shape of the football on the trophy naturally depicts a football from the era when the trophy was first awarded. 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.[3]

For many years this game was played at Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium in Jackson, which seats approximately 62,000 spectators. There were several reasons behind this. Besides being centrally located in the state, at the time it was the only venue in the state capable of seating the anticipated crowd; for many years Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in Oxford seated only about 32,000 and Scott Field in Starkville seated only about 31,000.

Both have been considerably expanded and are now capable of accommodating the crowds which can realistically be expected, and both on-campus venues have been continually upgraded to the point where they are actually superior in amenities to Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium, so the decision was made to move the game into a home-and-home series in the 1990s. It was decided that the on-campus atmosphere is generally better; the game is now more useful for both schools as a recruiting tool, and this has the additional advantage of only requiring the bulk of one team's core fan base to make a road trip rather than both of them as was previously the case.

The 2:12 clip below is of the 2007 Egg Bowl in which Mississippi State won 17-14 on the last play...check out Mississippi State head coach Sly Croom running with the MSU flag after the game...

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