Set in motion by former Dean David Allen after he saw rousing, oversize flags at Brazilian soccer games, the 80' x 60' flag spans a section at Husker Football home games. Nebraska Engineering is proud to partner with Husker Athletics to conduct this tradition that's right at home in Lincoln. Go Big Red!
Sixteen engineering students comprise the flag team roster, and at least eight of them commit to "do the flag" at each game.
With 30 minutes until kick-off, the flag team (wearing flag team t-shirts) gathers inside Gate 23. Within five minutes, they check out the flag from a supply cage in a restricted area under East Stadium, spread themselves out along the length of the big, soft fabric log, and lift the flag to their shoulders. They snake through the concourse crowd—the Sea of Red parting just a little for this procession.
At 20 minutes before kick-off, the flag team takes their stations at the opposite lower corners of the band's vacant seats. The field is busy with the band formations, and Husker fans are socializing in adjacent sections, but the flag team keeps a calm focus. They watch and listen for the cues that trigger their fleeting but highly visible role in the festivities.
15 minutes prior to kick-off, the flag crew has their hands poised on the top edge of the flag that will soon burst up into view. The crowd noise rises at the announcer's words, "THE PRIDE OF ALL NEBRASKA," and several of the flag team members run up the steps, keeping the leading edge taut and elevated. For 85,000+ fans present (and more watching via television), the flag impresses in its shining moment, an inspiration to see.
Then, as the pregame proceedings shift attention to the National Anthem, the flag team hastily drifts the flag's immense fabric back down to its baseline. They gather the unwieldy mass and ferry it out to make way for the band's return to their seats. A quick re-orientation in the storage area enables the flag to be ready for its next use, with taped edges indicating "this end up."
It's literally a big deal, but no big deal to the Nebraska engineers who make the flag happen. They say they're just glad to be a part of it.