Heroes get remembered, but legends never die.
The iconic line from “The Sandlot” inspired Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez to hop over the fence and face The Beast.
In Tallahassee, Florida, the line has a literal meaning. The Florida State Seminoles had a tradition to permanently encapsulate its football program’s legends.
Florida State’s Sealed Locker Tradition
Deion Sanders walked off the field at Doak Campbell Stadium as a winner. His Seminoles had just thrashed the Florida Gators 52-17. He went into the locker room, put all his things back in his locker, and handled his regular post-game routine. The locker looks exactly how Sanders left it for decades.
Legendary FSU head coach Bobby Bowden wanted to make the locker room a sacred place. He came up with the idea of retiring or permanently sealing players’ lockers to honor the program’s best. The glass-encased lockers were sealed with the player’s final home-game uniform along with their gear intact. The idea was their presence lives on in the locker room and would inspire current players.
The requirements were simple: a player must be a two-time consensus All-American or a Heisman Trophy winner. So far, Ron Simmons, Marvin Jones, Derrick Brooks, Sebastian Janikowski, Peter Warrick, Charlie Ward, Chris Weinke, Alex Barron, Jameis Winston, and Sanders have had their lockers sealed. Sanders was the first.
Today, the Florida State football legends are honored a little differently. Following FSU’s locker room renovation in 2014, statues of the best of the best were placed around the locker room for the same purpose as sealing lockers. The jerseys are lit at all times.
Florida State University has as rich traditions as any program in college football. Whether Chief Osceola throws a flaming spear into the ground at midfield while riding Renegade, the famous war chant, or the sod cemetery, the Seminole spirit can never be questioned. However, those traditions are for the fans.
For the players, the sealed locker, or the statue these days, is the tradition to aspire to.