Pete did very little to correct the general assumption that Florida fans have an extra whining chromosome with his Tuesday column, which made the rounds of Auburn message boards overnight (neither did GatorBait.net writer Guerry Smith, but at least Smith was writing for an overtly partisan site). Among the many helpings of sour grapes was this whopper:
It was not a safe environment, as evidenced by the thousands of fans who rushed the field unhindered immediately after Auburn scored a gimme touchdown on the last play of the game.
I was in the stands on Saturday night, and I didn't recall seeing anybody rushing the field, much less "thousands of fans." In general, I avoid emaling small-market newspaper employees (there aren't enough hours in the day to correct the likes of Jay Tate or Neal McCready), but in this case I figured what the heck and dashed off the following:
That's a lie, Pete. Security was surrounding the field. Nobody rushed it. Now that you've had a couple of days to get over your obvious disappointment, you should print a retraction.
Perhaps you can explain to me, then, who all those people were streaming onto the field before the final gun sounded. Auburn couldn't have tried a PAT even if it wanted to (and didn't).
This continued for another couple of testy emails, after which Petey apruptly stopped responding.
Unlike Pete, I don't expect anybody to take my word for this stuff, so let's go to the videotape, or rather to the high-definition recording on my Tivo. Here's a shot of the north end zone, where Patrick Lee scored Auburn's final touchdown as time expired (click on any of the photos to see them full-sized). It was taken immediately after that touchdown, as the two teams converged at midfield:
Gee, that's funny. The only people on the field appear to be security guards (they're the ones in the Osmose-yellow shirts), photographers, and football players. Seems to be plenty of space available if Auburn had wanted to bother kicking a meaningless extra point. But hey, I bet if we jump ahead a minute or so, all those drunk Auburn fans will show up:
Hmm. Not there, either. How about in the blimp view?
Now, if "thousands" of people were rushing the field, you'd be able to see them coming in from the sides and end zones, but whoops, still nobody there except the two teams. But hey, I bet that Auburn student section rushed the field like they were auditioning for parts in "Braveheart 2!"
Okay, to be fair, it's hard to see around that (quite lovely) AU flag, but on either side of it and in the end zone, you can still clearly see that the students are still in the stands, and there's nobody on the field who shouldn't be.
Well, with the exception of alleged genius Urban Meyer, I mean.
So, Peter. You're lying. You lied in print. There were never any "thousands of fans who rushed the field." And you've been caught. High-definition photographic evidence shows us that ZERO fans 'rushed the field.' So, where's your correction and apology?
UPDATE: Talk about not knowing when you're beaten. Kerasotis emails, "Can you identify for me which security guards were carrying the Auburn flags?"
Those are called "cheerleaders," Peter. They are commonly found at events known as "football games," and, believe it or not, they are allowed on the playing surface before, during and after these "games."
Give it up. You've lost. Not unlike the Gators.