While there has been much debate about the players, their execution of the game plans and plays called during the game, and the coaching of the Mississippi State Bulldogs during the 2013 season, the atmosphere of Davis Wade Stadium has managed to bother nearly every Mississippi State fan this season. Fans are tired of seemingly endless and ill-timed games and commercials. They are tired of the band not being given a chance to pump up the crowd. The atmosphere almost seems too corporate and too much like something it is not supposed to be.
Next week, Mississippi State has a chance to inject change into the atmosphere and over the course of the next two Mississippi State home games, the university has a unique chance to right a wrong from years ago. With the unlikely scenario of the Egg Bowl at home to end 2013 and Southern Miss at home to begin 2014, Mississippi State should do the right thing and have Hank Flick on the public address microphone, even if it is just for introductions, for those two game and give him the proper sendoff he never received.
When fans went to a Mississippi State game while he sat behind that microphone, one did not have to wonder where they were. He helped make games at Scott Field, and later Davis Wade Stadium, stand out. You could tell that there was a passion for Mississippi State in his voice as he addressed the crowd. He provided a unique voice to Mississippi State athletics. Not too many people would have gone to Jackson for games, done all of the basketball games, and even track and field, but Flick did all of that while being the professor who has a class that everyone wants to (and honestly should) take. Then he was just dismissed from it all.
Greg Byrne did many things right, but one thing he completely handled the wrong way was letting Flick go, especially without a proper sendoff. Most folks associated with Mississippi State know that Flick is about as True Maroon as they come. The guy lives and breathes Mississippi State. I dare you to try to get him to say a negative thing about the university. You cannot make it happen. Unfortunately, the athletic department of the university he dearly loves treated him poorly in the end, but that does not mean things cannot be made right.
With all of the negativity about the atmosphere at Mississippi State games in 2013, one simple action in what might be the biggest game of the year for Mississippi State could help take away so much of that negativity. If Hank Flick welcomed the Bulldogs to the field and introduced the starting lineup, a majority of the crowd would go wild. As with anything, there were a few that were not great fans of Flick, but those who enjoyed him far outweighed those who did not. There may never again be such an an opportunity presented to Mississippi State such as the opportunity presented by the next two home games to right this wrong. Mississippi State needs to make the right thing happen, and that is having Hank Flick behind the PA microphone in some capacity for the next two games.