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Photograph shows USC cheerleader celebrating opponent's Rose Bowl-winning touchdown?

Published March 18, 2006


Claim:   Photograph shows USC cheerleader celebrating opposing team's Rose Bowl-winning touchdown.

Status:   Multiple — see below.

Example:   [Collected via e-mail, 2006]

True Blonde Joke

USC cheerleader following the winning touchdown by UT — This is best "blonde" joke I've ever seen!

Click photo to enlarge

Origins:   The

2006 Rose Bowl (or BCS Championship Game) pitted two undefeated teams — the #1-ranked University of Southern California Trojans and the #2-ranked University of Texas Longhorns — against each other for college football's national championship. It was a contest that lived up to expectations, a see-saw affair won by the Longhorns in the game's final moments as Texas quarterback Vince Young scrambled for an 8-yard touchdown run with 19 seconds left to give UT a 41-38 victory and the national championship.

The photograph displayed above purportedly shows the immediate aftermath of that final scoring play, an image that many viewers have found amusing because it captures a USC cheerleader, her arms outstretched and mouth open in mid-cheer, seemingly celebrating the play that resulted in her team's defeat while her comrades stand still and silent. We don't yet know for sure whether the photograph is a genuine,

unmanipulated one, but even if it were, it wouldn't necessarily represent what is claimed of it (i.e., a "dumb blonde cheerleader" cheering for the wrong team).

On that last-minute scoring play, Vince Young slid away from the rush, looked for a receiver, and after spotting an open lane, opted to keep the ball and run it himself, beating USC defenders into a corner of the end zone. The photograph displayed above doesn't look like it corresponds to
Vince Young's final touchdown dash (shown to the right); it's probably a shot taken earlier in the game, or possibly a picture of the successful 2-point conversion play (also scored by Vince Young) that immediately followed Texas' game-winning touchdown.

Whenever it was taken, the image appears to represent not a brainless cheerleader who couldn't tell that the other team had just made a touchdown, but a play that resulted in a close scoring call, with the on-field Texas players signaling their belief that their team had scored, while from other vantage points (such as the cheerleader's sideline view, especially if the goalposts, referee, or other players had momentarily blocked her view) it might have looked at first glance as if USC had successfully stopped Texas short of the goal line.

Last updated:   13 January 2006


  Sources Sources:

    Petty, Terrence.   "One-Eyed Cat Had Medical Condition."

    Associated Press.   10 January 2005.


David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.

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