The Georgia-Auburn game of 2007 will be remembered by all who attended as one of the best football games ever played between the hedges. Yes, Georgia won by a score of 45-20, proving many wrong who proclaimed that Auburn would have their revenge for a spoiled 2006 season at the hands of the Bulldogs. But the game was special not just because of the score and the plays on the field, but because of a new tradition that emerged on that cool evening in Athens and excitement never before seen in Sanford Stadium. The first blackout was something that every Bulldog fan should have been a part of, whether in the stadium or at home watching on TV.
Below is an extraordinarily epic video someone made to try and show how crazy that evening was.
To cap off a magical season, another blackout was held in New Orleans at the Sugar Bowl. That turned out to be a pretty good game too (for Georgia).
And then came 2009, another blackout, and a 31 point 1st half deficit.
At one point, it appeared that the blackout and black jerseys would be a new yearly tradition. The senior players would pick one home game, the fans would be notified, and the hype would build. But after Alabama turned the blackout into "a funeral," things aren't looking so clear.
A few days ago at the SEC Media Days, a reporter asked Coach Mark Richt about the black jerseys. His reply?
"We may wear black jerseys again. We don't know. One thing about the blackout is if the fans don't buy into it, it's no good. After what happened against Alabama last year, I'm not sure everybody will wear black. We have the ability to do it. We have the jerseys."
It seems that Coach Richt still would want to do the blackout, but he isn't confident that the fans will agree. It also seems the general consensus is that the players liked to wear the black jerseys. But do people want to see Sanford Stadium decked out in black again, at least in the near future?
I say yes. Let the team wear black again, this season.
First, this Georgia Bulldogs squad of 2009 is a different team than the one we saw last year. Sure, there are plenty of familiar faces, but a whole bunch of new ones too that would be new to the blackout idea. With a lot of new players who are eager to show what they can do on the field and MUCH lower expectations from the media for 2009, it's unlikely we'd see a problem with complacency or lack of effort from the team just because of some jerseys for a big game at home.
Second, to abandon the blackout is basically to admit defeat. UGA is 2-1 in games that are "blacked out." The first 2 games were special, and the third was utterly depressing. But should the tradition that was started in 2007 be thrown away just because of one (big) slip up in 2008? Plenty of bloggers and fans have argued that to move the Cocktail Party out of Jacksonville is like running away with our tail between our legs, basically admitting that we can't beat Florida in Florida. Well, I see the blackout the same way.
If we put away the black jerseys it's like we're trying to hide the fact that we lost a big game in 08. Teams lose games. Sometimes they lose bad, and sometimes they lose embarrassingly bad. But that team still has to go out and play the next game. Do we really want to throw away something great because of one bad loss? All it takes is Georgia going out there in black jerseys again and winning to make everyone forget that Alabama ever happened. Let's just call it redemption.
Third, everyone knows (and says) that the jerseys/blackouts don't win game. Clearly, they don't. Georgia's players and coaches have experienced that firsthand. I don't think they would make that mistake again this season. But if we do forget the blackout for some time, maybe a few years, a new Georgia team with completely new faces may not remember that lesson so well. Do we really want the blackout to always be remembered for the Alabama "funeral" instead of the beatdown of Auburn that was perhaps the most electrifying atmosphere ever felt in Sanford Stadium?
So vote in the poll on the right and give your opinion on the blackout.
Do you want to:
Have another blackout this season
Wait a couple of years to have another blackout
Never have a blackout again, but have black jerseys again
Have the players wear black as a surprise but no fan blackout
Never have a blackout and never wear the black jerseys again