You know Horns Down, the inverted version of Texas’ Hook ‘Em hand signal? The one Texas’ rivals have been using for years, but which the Big 12 has somewhat recently decided to start penalizing during games?
Big, rich Texas is really sensitive about this, going back to former head coach Mack Brown calling for it to be against the rules ...
"The horns down is disrespectful," Mack Brown said. "We ought to talk about that as a league." #ut— Kirk Bohls (@kbohls) November 5, 2012
... to lots of Longhorns being upset by West Virginia’s usage of it in 2018. “Texas administrators have long believed it should be a penalty for taunting,” writes the Austin American-Statesman’s Brian Davis.
Ahead of 2018’s Big 12 Championship rematch between the Horns and Sooners, the Big 12 sent out a vague and ruthlessly mocked tweet that was understood to be an explanation of why Horns Down gets flagged. At this point, the Big 12 suits are somehow even more triggered by the hand sign than Texas’ are.
And if there’s one thing we know about college students, it’s that something only becomes cooler when a moneyed figurehead says it’s against the rules.
Only partially due to large, delicate Texas being constantly offended, Horns Down has since lost contain.
Here’s UCF mocking USF’s hand gesture, which happens to be the same as Texas’:
More of that, meaning it’s definitely a thing:
UCF players stuck their trophy in the turf after beating USF ... plus a horns down sign, too. pic.twitter.com/TRGLDYbYAA— Andrea Adelson (@aadelsonESPN) November 24, 2018
And, from later in that same day, here’s WVU still getting after it three weeks later, apparently having adopted Horns Down as a Mountaineer gesture not directly related to Texas. This is before a game against Oklahoma, one team that definitely hates the Longhorns more than WVU does. Like, Horns Down is Oklahoma’s THING.
Yeah, there was a ton of Mountaineer Horns Down-ing.
Horns Down is now a West Virginia thing, and there’s nothing Texas can do about it, other than hope the Big 12 penalizes West Virginia for it even in games that don’t involve Texas.
Man, this is college football. Making fun of shit people take too seriously is half the point.
has "horns down" been appropriated as ou's official hand sign? if so, would that mean a taunting penalty on texas when it throws "horns up"?— Allen Kenney (@BlatantHomerism) November 5, 2012
How many times have you seen opposing players chomp the Gators or chop the Noles or mock Miami’s turnover chain? Maybe you’ve seen those get flagged at some point, but have you ever heard Floridians crying to the officials about banning them outright? My favorite is still that time BOWLING GREEN broke out the chomp in the Swamp.
Haven’t you ever seen pro wrestlers mocking each other’s hand signals?
“But pro wrestling is rigged.”
Yes, just like Big 12 football. This is a joke among friends.
I think using Horns Down should signal to fellow college football fans that you are a fan of college football.
It’d be like the college football internet from a few years ago, when everybody used Roll Tide as a generic salute, whether they were Bama fans or not. If you don’t remember this, then you are welcome to join the college football internet, but it was definitely A Thing nationally for at least a few years.
Whenever you see a fan of the Wofford Terriers or Nebraska Cornhuskers or Valdosta State Blazers or UMass Minutemen, hit ‘em with a Generic Horns Down. They’ll return the gesture in kind, and now you are friends.
Texas fans would eventually find a way to take the whole thing as a compliment — look how nationally influential we are! — and see the humor in it, at which point it would slowly lose its fun and we’d all find a new team to make fun of, probably another hilariously wealthy one that got all in its feelings because relatively poor people dared to mock its hand pictures. Texas is finally good at football again and probably has better things to worry about than people making animal shapes that might be frowning.
(Texas people who already see all this mockery as harmless silliness: hello and welcome.)
Now that I’ve typed these words, a Texas fan will tell me I am Salty and So Obsessed With Us [Texas] and that Texas Is Living Rent Free In Everyone’s Heads, because these are the only things anyone can ever say on the internet in response to things that are true. These things will make that Texas fan feel better, but they won’t change the fact that many people enjoy laughing when the most advantaged program in college sports gets sad about upside down cow fingers.