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ESPN details the rise of everyone’s favorite petty hand sign: Horns Down

Apparently 11 fanbases think Texas cares about their program enough to consider them a rival. Well, that’s simply not true.

NCAA Football: Oklahoma at Texas Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

I don’t like writing articles like these.

Delivering this kind of sermon — the likes of which you can only receive on a Sunday morning full of grace — makes me feel self-important, arrogant and intelligently superior.

It’s not that I, an obnoxiously proud native Texan, don’t have the aforementioned character traits. I just hate to use my wit on Texas’ little brother, sons, and step-children. You know? It doesn’t feel good to hurt feelings this way.

But we are talking about a special kind of stupid when we talk about the people who feel an incredible sense of pride from flipping the “Hook‘Em Horns!” hand gesture upside down — more commonly known simply as “Horns Down.”

By now, you probably know the legend of the upside-down Horns sign. If you don’t, catch up. ESPN published an article today in honor of those who have taken a cute, “oh yeah? Watch this!” gesture by Sooners fans and turned it into a universal sign for stupidity.

NCAA Football: Oklahoma at Texas Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The article did not disappoint. Just take a look at this adorable excerpt:

“We polled college fans and asked them who their biggest rival is,” Harvard said. “Texas has 11 different teams identifying them as a rival, by far the most in the country.”

Eleven different schools view Texas as their rival? That has to be the least shocking news I’ve heard all day.

I don’t want to portray Texas fans as high and mighty when it comes to this epidemic. Vince Young once fought a club owner who flashed Horns Down during a dispute. At some point, I would bet that even Mack Brown had to have Miss Sally hold him back from throwing hands in a Buc-ee’s parking lot. And I’ve seen with my own eyes how this ridiculous taunt has brought the worst out of Texas fans.

But you don’t disrespect Momma. Sometimes, when that happens, sleeves have to get rolled up and right hooks need to start flying.

Honestly, though, this isn’t even a matter of disrespect anymore, what with the millions of people worldwide coming at Texas with this upside-down gesture.

Horns Down is almost as stupid as “You’re just a stupid t-shirt fan, hardy har har! TU sucks!”

Which, let’s be honest, that is about as dumb as it gets. “Hey, got an idea brother Dale. Let’s call Texas ‘TU’ instead of ‘UT’.”

I mean, how incredibly dense are you to think switching the order of the two letters representing the University of Texas is a big-time burn? Nobody thinks you’re witty. Nobody besides the sheep farmers in overalls is laughing. If anything, people probably just think you’re dyslexic. Actually, the more I think about it, that ‘TU’ joke has got to go because it’s insensitive considering that as many as an estimated 43 million American children and adults have dyslexia.

Do better, Aggy.

Anyway, back to the topic at hand.

Get it? The topic… at hand?

I don’t think the people who flash Horns Down are the worst of those out there who hate Texas.

Have you ever been in traffic on I-35? Trick question. Of course you have.

And that’s why I know you’ve seen some of the most ignorant people that the United States of America has to offer.

Oh yeah, I’m talking about ‘ole boy in the pickup truck who has dedicated his entire back windshield — and half of his monthly earnings — to showing everyone how much he thinks about the Texas Longhorns.

Upside down Longhorn emblem, upside down Longhorn decal, little guy with an OU shirt on peeing on an upside down Longhorn and, of course, a Hook‘Em hand decal upside down.

Imagine that trip to the gas station.

Oklahoma, or Texas A&M, or nine other fan bases, apparently, walking up to the register, not with a handful of their respective school’s merchandise, but with a bunch of Texas merchandise.

And you know they just love when the clerk asks them if they’re a Longhorn fan. It’s a part of the rush for them. “Ha! Nope. Gonna put this stuff on my truck upside down so everyone knows.”

Ok, Donny, but there’s an entire section of your team’s decals and emblems right over there.

Oh, no, not this guy. He’s got a point to prove. He wants you to know who he isn’t a fan of so that you can spend the rest of the traffic jam wondering who he actually even roots for.

And while we’re on the topic, what are the other nine fan bases? I could guess, maybe, four of them outside of Texas A&M and Oklahoma.

But all of this shouldn’t come as a surprise to Texas fans. Look at all of Texas’ children and little brothers and stepsons. Does it really surprise you that this group thinks Horns Down is equivalent to the moment mankind created fire?

Baker Mayfield is the consummate Sooner. Baker, without the slightest doubt in my mind, probably still wears his Lake Travis letter jacket around his house and knows every score to every one of his high school starts. There is a 95-percent chance he can remember every Lake Travis classmate he gave the Horns Down to. Baker is the guy who sat on the hood of a ‘99 Mustang just ripping a hearty Horns Down to every person walking into the high school parking lot who was wearing Texas gear.

And let’s talk about Texas A&M fans. Aggy fans swear this year is the year, even though the last time it was “their year,” the Japanese had not yet bombed Pearl Harbor and cars didn’t have seat belts.

Unfortunately, for A&M, the only Horns they can’t turn upside down are the Longhorns tattooed on the ribs of the greatest quarterback they’ve ever called their own.

Just kidding, I know the Manziel tattoo was a Photoshop joke. But it’s important to note that Horns Down A&M guy is the same person telling you the Big 12 sucks, even though Horns Up Texas folks know that if Aggy never left the Big 12, they are probably playing for a national championship the year Manziel won the Heisman.

You want to know how hated Texas is? At a stoplight in Indiana, I once had a Nebraska fan honk at me at a stoplight until I gave him the attention his mom and dad never did when he was a child.

I rolled down my window and said, “yes?”

His reply: “You ought to feel pretty dumb! Your Longhorn on the back of your car is upside down!”

He laughed hysterically as he drove off. The joke, which he’s probably made 100 times too many, is that my Longhorn emblem was on my tailgate right-side up. So, to him, upside down.

It can be exhausting, dealing with so many people who think their Horns Down is the first time anyone on planet earth since the beginning of time has flashed you the super big-time burn.

But I will never get tired of it and neither should you.

In a room full of people, it’s often hard to weed out the stupid from the smart. Not in this case, though — they typically separate themselves one Horns Down sign at a time.