Discuss 71
November 23, 2011
The Veil of Arrogance: Who is DeLoss Dodds really fooling?
photo: Andrew Kilzer, TexAgs
 
The barnstorming Cover Your Own Arse tour of DeLies Dodds, the self-important leader of all things Longhorn, has built to a crescendo this week.

Dodds has hit the media circuit, trying to explain what’s good for us. Amid growing discontent for his pivotal role in the purported end to the Lone Star Showdown, Dodds’ words have massively contradicted his deeds.

It’s been a futile, almost laughable attempt to deflect the obvious. The only person Dodds fools anymore is himself.

From infamously uttering, “We are the Joneses,” and long-ago setting the template that destroyed the Big 12 as we all once knew it, Dodds suddenly has found humility.

He told the Columbia Missourian, “Does somebody think we’re being a bully? Well, that’s up to them to think we’re a bully. We want to keep the conference together. We want equal sharing.”

After nearly brokering a deal to depart the Big 12 for the Pac-12, which led directly to the Aggies finding greener pastures and safer grounds in the Southeastern Conference, Dodds now acts as if he was the savior.

After nearly brokering a deal to depart the Big 12 for the Pac-12, which led directly to the Aggies finding greener pastures and safer grounds in the Southeastern Conference, Dodds now acts as if he was the savior. {"Module":"quote","Alignment":"right","Quote":"After nearly brokering a deal to depart the Big 12 for the Pac-12, which led directly to the Aggies finding greener pastures and safer grounds in the Southeastern Conference, Dodds now acts as if he was the savior.","Author":""}
He says, “We ended up in the right place in the Big 12 and that’s where we wanted to be from the beginning … Since the beginning it’s been the place for us.”

After pitching a fit and ditching an in-state rivalry game that is much an institution as the Universities themselves, Dodds now tells the Houston Chronicle, “We didn’t put ourselves in this position, so what we are going to do is make good decisions for Texas.”

On and on DeLies go.

Pressure and uneasiness mounts around Dodds as the face and forceful executioner of the Texas-Texas A&M rivalry. Yet he continues to put up walls that inevitably will crumble around him.

Dodds has at once attempted to come off as ... a martyr: “Since the beginning, (the Big 12) has been the place for us. It’s good for our kids. We made the decision for our kids.”

A victim: “We did not put ourselves in this position ... It’s a rivalry we will miss. We are absolutely disappointed that it cannot continue.”

A spin-doctor: “We picked up a good West Virginia and a good TCU.”

A philanthropist: “We want equal sharing. We want our own network for our kids. We’ll give half of it to the university.”

The more DeLies talks, the more it becomes apparent the very thing that led to the breakup of one of the game’s greatest rivalries is ultimately what will bring it back.

Pride. Dodds certainly has proved to be a tinkerer in various Seven Deadly Sins, but he undoubtedly is the master of one.

It was pride that led to so much of Dodds’ once-respected reputation spiraling into oblivion, to the point that now Longhorns fans, administrators, coaches, even legislators and political figures pressure Dodds and Texas to renew the state’s most storied rivalry.

Dodds dared other institutions to do as he wanted, or else leave. And they did.

Andrew Kilzer, TexAgs One man's arrogance will make this sight a thing of the past ... but not forever. {"Module":"photo","Alignment":"right","Size":"large","Caption":"One man\u0027s arrogance will make this sight a thing of the past ... but not forever.","MediaItemID":3267}
He challenged the Aggies to stay in the Big 12 fold or risk being ostracized and scratched from schedules on the playing fields. And they called his bluff.

He figuratively shouted from the top of the Burnt Orange Tower with all his might, for all the world to hear, that he’s DeLoss Dodds and he knows better.

But ... he doesn’t.

Reminisce and wax poetic all you want, but Thursday night’s showdown at Kyle Field will mark the end of an era, not a rivalry.

For all the squawking about the series ending, Dodds has too much pride and not enough power to hold back the tide of emotion and political weight that simply will not let this series die.

Dodds has been a great athletic director for the University of Texas in many ways, leading unprecedented growth, construction and success financially and otherwise.

But he knows, if this is it — the final game — Dodds forever will be known as the man who killed the Texas-Texas A&M football rivalry.

By now, that fact surrounds him. His aggressive, defiant public stance in recent weeks indicates Dodds already understands his legacy has plummeted. His mission now is salvaging neither a conference nor a football game, but his own reputation.

When the final gun sounds and the lights go off at Kyle Field on Thursday night, the pressure to set aside petty egotistical games only will grow. A series will be renewed — with or without Dodds’ approval and probably sooner than the mythical standard of 2018 he set.

In the dark on Thursday night, Dodds finally will realize something everyone else already knew: The burning desire was there long before him and will be long after; this game is bigger, even, than his ego.
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