With six seconds remaining in Georgia Tech’s 28-27 win over Georgia, Gregory Anderson, seated in the front row of the Tech section at Sanford Stadium, snapped a photo of the stadium video board for posterity, to preserve an image as happy proof of the Yellow Jackets' defeat of the Bulldogs.
He liked how the image turned out, as Tech’s cheerleaders were included in the frame. But why not wait until the game was officially over?
“They shut down the scoreboard after time runs out so nobody can get a picture,” said Anderson, a Tech grad and the Brookhaven city engineer.
It is indeed common for Georgia to remove the score from the video board at the west end of the stadium immediately following losses, the result apparently too offensive to communicate any longer than necessary. Many Tech fans can proudly say they’ve experienced this firsthand, as the Yellow Jackets have now won three times there in their last five trips. (Tech video operations director Andy Blanton said in an e-mail that he couldn't recall Bobby Dodd Stadium scoreboard operators doing likewise.)
The practice is familiar enough that not just Anderson had his smartphone ready as the clock wound down.
“It’s kind of a running joke among Tech fans that’s been going on for years and years,” said Paul Freet, a Tech grad.
Following the game, on a Tech message board, fans were discussing whether anyone had been able to capture the fleeting image.
As it turned out, a fan on the message board had indeed gotten a shot off before the final score was removed, which Freet copied and sent out from his Twitter account, describing it as a "unicorn." Judging by the video board image, it was no more than two or three seconds after Tech linebacker Brant Mitchell secured the game-ending interception.
“It’s a race between you getting that picture and the scoreboard operator turning off the scoreboard,” said Freet, who works with Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute.
It's a challenge Tech fans would undoubtedly be happy to embrace in 2018.