Chris Del Conte and P.T. Barnum have the same number of syllables in their names, though certainly the similarities between the two do not end with that simple fact. Both are/were salesmen of the highest order, and both are ringleaders of similar, rather chaotic circuses.
Hopefully, like Barnum, Del Conte will recognize that the most important part of any circus is what goes on inside the rings.
Outside the rings, Del Conte is on tour across Texas telling Longhorn fans exactly what they want to hear about potential changes to the football game day experience. Gonna turn San Jacinto Boulevard into a festival. Might call it Bevo Boulevard on Saturdays. Gonna exchange cars for bands. Gonna get us some Austin-y food trailers. Gonna make sure everybody is, ummmm, well-hydrated. Gonna stop with the God-forsaken weather forecasts on the GodzillaTron…etc. etc. etc.
And it all sounds great. It IS great. Texas fans deserve a better, more affordable atmosphere, and Del Conte is going to give it to us. It needs to be easy to attend a ballgame, not hard. It has to be more user friendly. And Del Conte assures everyone that this will definitely be the case. He may be at the front gates of the stadium giving out hugs before the game, for all we know.
The new Texas athletic director has been a whirlwind since his hiring, a hurricane of fresh air on the Forty Acres. Everything he says is spoken with passion and conviction; every action he takes is decisive and aggressive. I want him to be my Bro.
And all of this is awesome and perfect, leaving only one item remaining to make this renaissance complete: winning on the football field.
The truth is – and no one knows this more clearly than Del Conte – none of the innovations and positivity and creativity and communication and boundless love will matter if the Longhorns don’t win. Tom Herman knows this, too.
Herman, like Del Conte, has had an excellent few months. His recruiting – both of high school phenoms and transfers – would make Mack Brown envious. Heck, he’s even recruited Mack Brown. He’s made coaching staff changes that have been unanimously lauded. Like Del Conte, Herman has been a communicator of the highest order.
But once August becomes September, Herman and Del Conte and anyone who knows the football is blown up and not stuffed recognizes that this “other” stuff means nothing if the Longhorns can’t back all of this momentum up with winning.
In September, the Texas Feel Good Tour comes to an end, and all of the great ideas and great intentions and great everything else is nudged aside so everyone can see what happens when the ball is kicked off. The laughs and applause and one-liners will take a backseat and someone will hit the “power on” button and the scoreboards will be lit and operational.
Tip of the cap to Del Conte. Pat on the back to Herman. Thanks for backing up and letting the sports guys do sports, Greg Fenves. You all have set a table that looks downright feast-like for Longhorn faithful who are hungry to the point of starvation.
Please feed us on Sept. 1.