/The Vet So much rich Mississippi history

The Vet So much rich Mississippi history

Producers Jon and Henry Wiener (the Bash Brothers of film-making Bash Brother Media) faced a dilemma: how to capture so many historical moments – so many heroes and so many dramatic scenes – in less than 60 minutes. Jon Wiener told me that he could have done 60 minutes on Artie Cosby’s kickback in 1983. I didn’t consider that the Wiener brothers hadn’t been born in 1983 when I made that statement. I was 30 years old, and I was standing right beyond the end zone when Brent Parker took the perfect snap and dropped the ball on the 17-yard line on the south side of the stadium. Artie Cosby was 19, and could have passed for 16. He swung his legs and hit the ball perfectly. The next thing that happened was the most amazing thing I have ever seen in my entire life. It is. It was, as was reported in the newspapers the next day, the only kick that was ever celebrated by the winning and losing teams. Mississippi State players cheered Cosby’s kick that went right through the middle uprights. Next, Ole Miss players celebrated as a gust wind blew the ball up into the air. It was either 50-60 mph or 60 mph. The ball fell in the end zone. Cosby claimed that he hit it perfectly and then looked up to see the ball pass the goal posts. He said that he actually saw the ball suspended in midair. Emory Bellard (the State coach) told me that he saw the ball suspended in the air. The Weiners’ documentary focuses on that, and many other events that took place in the gray-colored lady now known as The Vet. It includes Walter and Eddie Payton as well as the Jackson State teams who integrated the stadium. It also covers Archie Manning who enjoyed some of his greatest moments at the stadium. It includes doubleheaders, which made Jackson the centre of college football. It includes Nov. 1, 1980 when Mississippi State stunned the football world by defeating No. Bear Bryant 6-3 and Alabama, No. 1 in the rankings. Bama, a 20 point favorite, had defeated State 22 times in a row and won 26 consecutive SEC matches. The last time State defeated Alabama, not a single State player was alive. Bryant’s Crimson juggernaut was just as fearsome back then as Nick Saban’s today. Bama lost football games almost as often as America elected its presidents. The Tide lost that autumn afternoon on a warm autumn day, three days before Ronald Reagan became president. John Bond, State’s quarterback, described the locker room scene to my face twenty-five years later. “Everybody was running wild, screaming, jumping up and down, and spraying Cokes on one another. Then there was a hush, which rolled around the locker room. I looked up to see who it was. Coach Bryant was a highway patrolman who helped Bryant up on a metal stool. He said that we deserved victory and that no one should tell us otherwise. The moment and the day were special. Four years later, another November afternoon saw undefeated Mississippi Valley State (with Jerry Rice and Willie Totten) face off against undefeated Alcorn State on Sunday. Over 60,000 people filled every seat and many were seated in the aisles to hear the P.A. The announcer called it “The game of century.” It was supposed to have taken place in Itta Bena, which had a capacity of less than 10,000. Since a doubleheader was being played on Saturday, I suggested that they play the game at Jackson on Sunday a month prior. Both schools agreed to it, and it was the largest pay day in the history of either school. Alcorn won the game 42-28. The game was telecast statewide and went head-to-head against the NFL games. Alcorn-Valley came in second. It seems impossible that it could have happened, but it did. Cosby’s kick was 6 to 3, Walter, Archie Who and many more. It’s impossible to imagine covering it all in less than an hour. But I will be watching the Bash Brothers do it. *** The following stations and times are for “The Vet”, which is presented by C Spire.