There have been so many innocuous dances in recent years.
Men Without Hats never bothered anybody with “The Safety Dance.” The “Chicken Dance” might be annoying to some, but it’s not overly difficult to master. And Irish step dancing proved to be popular enough to support two successful touring companies, Riverdance and Lord of the Dance.
As for the touchdown dance performed by Georgia’s football team last October in its 42-30 win over Florida in Jacksonville, well, let’s just say some people remain peeved nine months later.
“You haven’t seen it since then, but we have,” Florida senior tackle Phil Trautwein said last week at SEC Media Days. “They show us clips of it all the time. It’s motivation to us. Every time we run stadium steps, that’s what is on the video. It’s definitely motivating us this offseason.”
After tailback Knowshon Moreno capped Georgia’s opening drive against the Gators with a 1-yard touchdown run, more than 50 Bulldogs players raced from the sideline to join the 11 on the field. Georgia coach Mark Richt admits he wanted his players to draw an excessive-celebration penalty following the first score because they had lacked emotion against Tennessee and Vanderbilt, but he said he did not realize most of his team would be on the field.
The Bulldogs were flagged for two celebration penalties and had to kick off from the 8-yard line, and Richt said he called Florida coach Urban Meyer the next day and explained how he was desperate for enthusiasm. Richt offered a league-wide apology later that week, but Meyer seems to be having a difficult time accepting it.
In his book “Urban’s Way” due out in several weeks, Meyer said, “That wasn’t right. It was a bad deal, and it will forever be in the mind of Urban Meyer and in the mind of our football team.”
While Florida isn’t having fun reliving the dance, Richt became uncharacteristically testy last week when he received more questions about the incident than the outcome. Georgia’s win was its second over the Gators in seven tries under Richt and just the third for the Bulldogs since 1990.
“What intensified the rivalry is that we won, OK?” Richt said. “I mean, that’s the reality, but, you know, people want to talk about streaks in that game. The way I see it, we won last year, and we’ve won two of the last four, and if you want to start going back in history, you might as well go back to the beginning of the series and see where Georgia is there.
“I don’t know why everybody wants to go just 15 games back. If you want to go back, go back to the beginning.”
The Bulldogs lead the all-time series 47-37-2 according to Georgia records and 46-37-2 according to Florida records, proving last year’s dance wasn’t the first historical argument between the programs.
Georgia-Florida is a rivalry with a most memorable moment of Buck Belue completing a 93-yard touchdown pass to Lindsay Scott to catapult the Bulldogs to the 1980 national title. The rivalry’s most polarizing figure remains Steve Spurrier, who once coached the Gators to 11 wins in 12 tries and now faces each team at South Carolina. It’s also a rivalry that has yet to match two undefeated teams.
That could change Nov. 1, at least if each team can handle preseason hype and Tennessee, which has won two straight games against Georgia and gets Florida in Knoxville.
“They remember what happened with the dance party, and we know that they’re going to try and get after us,” Georgia defensive tackle Jeff Owens said. “It’s a 60-minute football game, so you just can’t start out of the gate and not finish.”
Was that an invitation to dance?
David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...