Nothing gets between Mississippi State Bulldogs fans and their beloved cowbells. No matter how good the Bulldogs are on the gridiron, you will almost certainly leave Davis Wade Stadium on a fall Saturday with a skull-rattling headache, possibly not even induced by alcohol. The "Klanga-langa-langa" is the perfect onomatopoeia for what these Mississippi State cowbells sound like ... in text.
From an outsider's perspective, you may look down on this fanbase for being a podunk cow college, but these noisemakers are a symbol of unity, resilience, and above all else, a damn good time. So what we are going to do today is understand what was long incomprehensible. The only prescription beat doctor Bruce Dickinson needs is more cowbell.
Legend has it this tradition starts with a big win over a hated rival shortly before World War II and a behemoth beast of a bovine. Per the Mississippi State University official athletics site, a Jersey cow made it onto the field while the Bulldogs were playing arch-rival Ole Miss. The Bulldogs clobbered the Rebels that day, and this ton of beef became a living legend, but the poor cow did not even know it...
Oh, when I tell you it gets zanier, I'm not kidding. There's so much more to this one-of-a-kind tradition.
Mississippi State football: Why do Bulldogs use cowbells at home games?
Eventually, the Jersey cow mascot was no longer being brought to games. Instead, the cowbell was adopted as a noisemaker in its place. It really started to take off in the 1950s and became a cultural symbol for the university by the 1960s. Of course, not everyone loved the idea of hearing constant metallic ringing in their ears (and heads) whenever they played home games against the Bulldogs...
By 1974, the SEC outplayed the use of artificial noisemakers during home games. The university tried to fight this tooth and nail but to no avail. For the next 36 years, there were no cowbells at Mississippi State home games. Then in 2010, the 12 SEC member institutions decided that this tradition needed to be brought back to the forefront. In essence, it was grandfathered back into the fold for the university.
Upon learning about the most sacred cowbells of Mississippi State, it is a tradition of resiliency and strength. It first came about during the glory years of the program shortly before World War II. While Mississippi State football has been mostly down since, its reintroduction in the 2010s coincided with the program's ascension under Dan Mullen, followed by Joe Moorhead, Mike Leach and Zach Arnett.
So until football is stopped being played all together for some reason, there will ring some cowbells.