NORMAN — Once the starting lineups ended, the Jumbotron high above Owen Field went black.
A bell began to toll. Sooners fans started to cheer.
Across the nation, the start of football season marks so many new things: new schedule, new season, new faces.
As for a new entrance video? Not in Norman. There's Only One Oklahoma.
Entrance videos have come a long way at OU since 2000, when it originally started with the score of “The Final Game,” a song best known for being played in the movie Rudy. But since 2005, OU has stuck with the same four words: “There's Only One Oklahoma.”
The craze for entrance videos leaves athletics departments' multimedia production and marketing teams hitting their creative buttons to produce a new-themed, heart-pounding, energy-juiced video to fans each year. Oklahoma, however, found its one theme in 2005, and it's sticking to it.
That one phrase can be defined by one word — tradition — but explained by so many. Former Sooners defensive tackle Dusty Dvoracek said that tradition is what sets Oklahoma apart from so many other programs.
“People come here so they can play where Lee Roy Selmon or Tommie Harris or Teddy Lehman or the Boz or Rocky Calmus played,” Dvoracek said. “QBs come here to be like Jason White and Sam Bradford, running backs come here to be like Adrian Peterson, Billy Sims, Steve Owens and Billy Vessels, and at the same time, OU fans love the constant remembrance.
“You're appeasing your fans. You're reminding your players about all the great, rich tradition and history.”
The Sooners' first entrance video, in 2000, was developed by OU Athletics and Visual Image, a production company. Now, the videos are produced in house by the athletic department's multimedia team, Sooner Vision.
They've had the Selmon brothers saying, “There's only one Dusty Dvoracek,” which Dvoracek called an honor. And OU coach Bob Stoops gets to hear the famed Barry Switzer say, “There's only one Bob Stoops.”
“Well, you don't get to hear that every day,” Stoops recently said after practice with a slight grin.
Offensive lineman Bronson Irwin grew up watching those videos from the stands. Irwin said the video helps players who didn't grow up in Oklahoma better understand the heritage of the program.
That's because guys like Joe Washington and Greg Pruitt are walking around during the filming. Matt Roberts, OU athletics' associate director of development, said watching the looks on the players' faces when they realize who is standing next to them is what makes it so special.
The players do not watch the videos from the field. They don't need the video to get pumped up for the game. But the videos are special to players, because during the filming, they get to meet Sooner legends.
It's all about remembering the guys who came before them That's why the theme hasn't changed — and it won't change. At least for now.
Sure, there's only one Alabama. There's only one Michigan, too.
Steve Owens, the 1969 Heisman Trophy winner, said the video is something fun to participate in.
“I think we have a university to be proud of here with our history and our tradition,” Owens said. “All of us feel strongly that there's truly only (one) Oklahoma and we're a part of it.”
The football team's entrance video is typically shown to participants the Friday before the first home game of the season.
Stoops said the team will be shown the 2012 version on Friday.
On Saturday, as the players stand in the locker room for a few fleeting moments, the fans will turn toward the video screen.
The bells will begin to chime as the introduction video begins to play, which signifies to Sooners fans and players one thing.
“It makes the hair stand up on the back of your neck and gets your blood pumping and heart going a little bit,” Irwin said. “When that comes on, it means it's game time.”
The songs of OU's intro videos
2000 — “The Final Game” by Jerry Goldsmith
2001 — “The Final Game” by Jerry Goldsmith
2002 — “Hate To Say I Told You So” by The Hives
2003 — “Saturday Night's Alright” by Kid Rock/Nickelback
2004 — “Rawkfist” by Thousand Foot Krutch
2005 — Present : There's Only One Oklahoma theme