Editor's note: The video published above is a KVUE report in 2019 on the history of the Red River Showdown.
The century-old rivalry ranks among the greatest in collegiate sports, its history refined and prestigious and played at the illustrious Cotton Bowl during the State Fair of Texas. The rivalry encompasses an interstate hatred between fan bases, spanning generations.
Texas hates Oklahoma and Oklahoma hates Texas. There is no other way to put it.
In 2019, the intensity of the rivalry was illustrated perfectly by then-Texas head coach Tom Herman's first memory of the game. Herman told reporters his first memory depicting the sheer intensity of UT versus OU was as a grad assistant. He said he remembered looking out the window of the Texas bus to see an 80-year-old woman and an 8-year-old boy both giving him the double bird.
Yes, you read that right.
Herman was flipped off by an 80-year-old lady and a child. He also said trotting out of the tunnel into the stadium is not the friendliest place, either. Fans look up the most personal things about you and shout ill-mannered remarks at you about your mother, girlfriend, etc., according to Herman.
So, how did we get to this point? Where did this intense rivalry stem from?
How the rivalry began:
Well, the first game between Texas and Oklahoma was played in 1900. Texas won that game 28-2 and the two teams have played each other annually ever since, excluding in 1918, 1920, 1921, and 1924-1928.
Texas and Oklahoma played in Austin and Norman until 1912, then the game was moved to Dallas. The series ended between the Longhorns and Sooners in 1923. In 1929, the rivalry was renewed and scheduled to be played annually during the Texas State Fair at an old wooden structure called Fair Park Stadium. A new structure was built in time for the 1930 season, also called Fair Park Stadium, but would later be named "The Cotton Bowl" in 1936. The first Texas-Oklahoma game played at "The Cotton Bowl" was in 1937.
It will mark the 95th time the game has been played at the neutral site in Dallas. Texas leads the all-time series 62-50-5.
Red River Shootout ... I mean rivalry ... wait, showdown?:
The Texas-Oklahoma game has been known by a multitude of names throughout its history.
Older generations of fans will recall and refer to this as the "Red River Shootout."
In 2005, the game was sponsored by SBC Communications and the name was changed to SBC Red River Rivalry, replacing the word "shootout" out of a desire not to convey an attitude of condoning gun violence. One year later, SBC merged with AT&T, changing the game's name to AT&T Red River Rivalry.
Finally, in 2014, the game's name was changed again to the "AT&T Red River Showdown."
So, whether you're old school and call it the Red River Shootout, grew up in knowing it as the Red River Rivalry in the 2000s, or are new to the game and call it the Red River Showdown, the prestige of it all remains the same.
100-plus years brings traditions:
With any rivalry series more than 100 years old, there are sure to be some traditions made along the way.
For the AT&T Red River Showdown, there are five "official" traditions throughout the festivities of the day.
First, and the most obvious, is that the game is played annually at the Cotton Bowl during the Texas State Fair. Texas and Oklahoma fans alike will make the trek from Austin and Norman to enjoy fried food, rides and attractions, take pictures with Big Tex, and attend the UT-OU game.
Second, we have "The Battle Line."
It's one of the most unique characteristics of any college football rivalry. Tickets are divided equally between the Longhorns and Sooners and the stadium is split in half at the 50-yard line, making a clear division of a crimson side of the stadium and a burnt orange side.
For Texas, a third tradition during the Oklahoma game week is the Texas Fight Rally, which takes place at the Main Mall on UT's campus. The head coach, players, students, and fans gather for a night of cheering on the team before the game.
Now, the final two traditions are ones fans might be more familiar with. Following the game, there are two "trophies" exchanged by Oklahoma and Texas. First is the famous "Golden Hat" trophy, which is won and displayed by the winning football team. The gold cowboy hat is mounted on a large block of wood and has been part of the rivalry since the State Fair donated it in 1941.
Originally, it used to be made out of bronze and was known as "The Bronze Hat," until it was reworked in the 1970s and came out gold, warranting the name change to the "Golden Hat."
The other "trophy" exchanged is "The Governor's Cup." This tradition began when Texas Gov. Dolph Briscoe donated the trophy and each year is transported from the office of the previous year's winning governor to Dallas. It is displayed in the Hall of State on game day and is transported to the office of the winning governor after it has received its engraving.
Red River Showdown stats:
Texas and Oklahoma played twice in the 2018 season after meeting again in the Big 12 Championship game. This was only the third time in the rivalry's history where the two teams played twice in a single season. Texas and Oklahoma played twice in the same season in 1901 and 1903, as well.
Former wide receiver John Burt is the only Texas player on record to play against Oklahoma six times in a career. Burt played in 2019 and in both games of the 2018 season, but "redshirted" his 2018 season after only appearing in four total games. Burt also played against Oklahoma each season from 2015-2017. Several players in UT's history have played OU five times. According to Texas Athletics, there aren’t records to confirm participation in all six games, but the only Longhorn that would have likely played against the Sooners six times is Rembert Watson from 1901-04.
Texas may hold the all-time series lead at 62-50-5, but the past two decades have been owned by Oklahoma. The Sooners have won 16 of the last 23 meetings, dating back to 2000.
In recent history, every game has been a nail-biter, too. Eight of the last nine matchups have been won by one possession (seven points or less).
Red River Showdown memorable games:
1984: Texas and Oklahoma tie 15-15 ... and Mack Brown was a Sooner?
Texas was No. 1 in the nation and Oklahoma was No. 2. Also, Mack Brown was a Sooner in this game, oddly. Brown served as Oklahoma's offensive coordinator at the time.
Oklahoma was down 10-0 at halftime, but came back with two touchdowns by running back Steve Sewell. It seemed as if the Sooners were poised to win, ahead 15-12 with just 10 seconds on the clock. Then, Texas quarterback Todd Dodge – who now is the head coach for Westlake High School – hailed a pass into the end zone, only to be intercepted by Oklahoma. However, officials called the pass incomplete. This controversial call angered Sooners fans, and Texas ended up kicking a field goal with five seconds remaining.
"The interception should have never been in question," Dodge told WFAA sister station KVUE. "It was a big-time pass interference before it ever happened."
The game ended in a tie because there was no overtime rules in 1984.
"Pretty empty feeling," Dodge said. "In our locker room, there was no feeling of victory, really."
1996: New overtime rules allows OU a chance to win
For the first time, overtime was a part of college football and it came just in time because the Red River Shootout needed it.
Sooners running back James Allen helped lead an OU comeback in the last 10 minutes of the game. Jeremy Alexandar kicked a 44-yard field goal to tie the game at 24 a piece.
In overtime, Texas Longhorns kicker Phil Dawson put Texas ahead 27-24. However, Oklahoma answered with a two-yard Allen touchdown run for the win.
2000: OU running back breaks school record
This game was a blowout. Oklahoma won 63-14. But that's not the interesting part. It is one of the most memorable Red River Showdown games because of Oklahoma running back Quentin Griffin.
Griffin set a Sooners record with six touchdowns that game. Oklahoma also continued to go undefeated that year, winning its first national championship in 2000.
2005: UT breaks five-year skid against OU en route to a National Championship
In the 100th meeting, Texas was ranked No. 2 overall and Oklahoma was unranked for the first time since 1999. Texas blew out Oklahoma 45 to 12, breaking a five-year losing streak to the Sooners. The Longhorns would later go on to win the 2005 National Championship, which many consider the best college football game ever played. ESPN also voted the 2005 Texas Longhorns as the most dominant team in college football history.
2008: Texas wins battle of two top five ranked teams
Oklahoma was ranked No. 1 in the nation and Texas was ranked fifth. Both teams were 5-0 entering the game. In the first quarter, Bradford completed a five-yard touchdown pass to Manuel Johnson to open up a 7-0 Sooners lead. With 6:41 left in the first quarter, Texas answered with a Hunter Lawrence 26-yard field goal. OU scored two touchdowns in the second quarter and Texas scored a field goal and two touchdown, including a 96-yard kickoff return by Jordan Shipley.
Texas ended up winning this 103rd meeting, 45-35. At the time, it was the highest scoring event in the history of rivalry (the 2021 game now holds that record, with Oklahoma beating Texas, 55-48), and it was seen by the most fans, a record attendance of 92,182.
2018: "Dicker the Kicker" hits the national stage
In 2018, Texas came into Dallas ranked No. 19 facing the undefeated No. 7 Oklahoma Sooners, the first time both teams were ranked since 2012.
Heisman winner Kyler Murray got Oklahoma out to a fast start scoring on a six-play, 65-yard drive that took only 2:40 off the clock. On the ensuing possession, Texas, led by then-sophomore quarterback Sam Ehlinger, answered back with a five-play 75-yard drive. Texas appeared destined to regain the Golden Hat after taking a commanding 45-24 lead with just under a minute left in the third quarter, but Murray had other plans.
Murray led the Sooners for three unanswered touchdowns, including a 67-yard run that took only 11 seconds and tied the game at 45-45 with just 2:38 left to play. But, Texas' then-freshman kicker, Cameron Dicker, grabbed the national spotlight with a 40-yard game-winning field goal with 14 seconds left to play.
Then, the "Dicker head nod" meme was born.
2020: Unranked Oklahoma knock off No. 22 Texas in 4OT, longest Red River Showdown in history
Where to start. This was the longest Red River Showdown in series history. 116 games had been played to this point and none have ever gone to four overtimes. All hope seemed lost for UT late in the fourth, but a heroic comeback spearheaded by Sam Ehlinger helped the Longhorns erase a 14-point deficit late in the fourth quarter.
And that's only where the fireworks started. Spencer Rattler and Ehlinger traded scores in overtime and double overtime. Then, in triple overtime, Oklahoma blocked field goal, only for their kicker to shank his game-winner and extend the game to a fourth overtime.
In the end, OU outlasted UT for the 53-45 win, giving the Sooners its third straight win in Red River Showdown games.
2021: Oklahoma mount largest comeback in Red River Showdown history, scores game-winning TD with 1 second left
Eight straight Red River Showdowns had ended in one-possession games and this one did not disappoint either.
A 33-yard dagger touchdown run by Oklahoma running back Kennedy Brooks with one second left walked off the game filled with theatrics.
Oklahoma mounted a massive second-half comeback, scoring 25 unanswered points. It was Oklahoma's largest comeback victory in the history of the Red River Showdown. With the 55-48 win, OU beat Texas for the fourth straight time in this rivalry despite Texas taking a 14-point lead in the first two minutes of the game. Before the first quarter was over, the Longhorns held a commanding 28-7 lead with all the momentum in their favor.
Former Oklahoma quarterback Spencer Rattler (transferred to South Carolina) seemed rattled from the jump and was eventually benched for backup Caleb Williams (has also transferred from Oklahoma, but to USC). It was the second straight Red River game that Rattler was benched. In 2020, Rattler sat a few series as Tanner Mordecai, who has since transferred to SMU, filled in for the Sooners at quarterback. Rattler finished the game in 2020, but Williams finished off the game at quarterback for the Sooners.
With the win, Oklahoma extended its Red River Showdown streak to four.
And if the theatrics weren't enough, there was also the fox on the field.
More Red River Showdown coverage: