Documentary highlights 1969 'Big Shootout'

By: Matt Jones
Published: Thursday, April 11, 2013
Arkansas football coach Frank Broyles, left, and Texas coach Darrell Royal greet on the field in Fayetteville, Ark., in this Dec. 6, 1969, file photo. No. 1 Texas defeated no. 2 Arkansas 15-14. (AP Photo/Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, File)
Arkansas football coach Frank Broyles, left, and Texas coach Darrell Royal greet on the field in Fayetteville, Ark., in this Dec. 6, 1969, file photo. No. 1 Texas defeated no. 2 Arkansas 15-14. (AP Photo/Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, File)

— A documentary chronicling the 1969 football game between No. 1 Texas and No. 2 Arkansas will premiere this weekend at the Dallas International Film Festival.

"The Big Shootout: The Life & Times of 1969" features interviews with former Arkansas coach and athletics director Frank Broyles, and on-camera interviews with late Texas coach Darrell Royal and late ABC-TV executive Beano Cook. The game, played on the last Saturday of the sport's centennial season, is known as "The Big Shootout" in many circles and "The Game of the Century" in others.

Broyles has long claimed he never watched the footage from the game, calling it the most painful loss of his 19-year career with the Razorbacks.

"Once it gets around that Coach Broyles is actually talking about the Big Shootout, it's going to be a shocker to a lot of guys," said former UA running back Bill Burnett.

The game drew many prominent figures to Fayetteville, serving as much as a political event as landmark football contest - the first made-for-TV matchup in history. Texas won 15-14 and was proclaimed national champion by President Richard Nixon in the locker room after the game.

"Seldom, if ever, have I ever been interviewed about another close game," Royal said in the documentary. "This is the only one folks still talk about."

Said Broyles: "We have put it on the back burner because we lost, but for Arkansas with 2.4 million people to be able to play in the game of the century, we've got to celebrate that and quit feeling sorry for ourselves."

The documentary makers aren't the first to take a stab at telling the story of one of college football's most famous games. In 2002, Terry Frei wrote "Horns, Hogs, & Nixon Coming: Texas vs. Arkansas In Dixie's Last Stand".

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