You expect to see a lot of things on the basketball court during the national championship game. Grit. Heart. Determination. A will to win.

You don’t usually expect flour tortillas.

But then again, we don’t usually see the Texas Tech Red Raiders in the championship game either. And naturally, the two are related.

If you’re wondering why, of all things, a tortilla briefly stopped play during the game, you probably aren’t too familiar with the traditions over in Lubbock. It’s more of a college football thing, but basically, Tech fans love throwing flour tortillas on the field after the kickoff of their football games. And that includes away games and even neutral sites (like the national championship).

Where does this curious tradition come from? We turn to Texas Tech blog Viva The Matadors for answers.

The tradition of throwing tortillas has very humble origins. According to, the tradition hails from 1989, when students would take the lids off of their 44oz cokes and throw them on the field. Soon thereafter, the lids were gone, and since tortillas are a pretty popular tailgate food item, cheap, and fairly easy to hide on your person, they became the throwing item of choice. The more dramatic version of the story says that when top-ten ranked Texas A&M came to Lubbock in 1992, an ESPN announcer said that there was “nothing but Tech football and a tortilla factory in Lubbock”. Therefore, in a little bit of cheeky fun, tortillas were thrown before the game. The Red Raiders went on to upset the Aggies, and we just kind of kept on doing it before games after that. Nowadays, it doesn’t matter where you go, if there are Texas Tech fans, there is more than likely going to be a flour-based substance flying through the air like a UFO.

So there you go. Hopefully, Red Raiders fans got it out of their systems and don’t get their team in trouble against Virginia. Lord knows every point is precious in this defensive showdown.


About Sean Keeley

Sean Keeley is the creator of the Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and author of 'How To Grow An Orange: The Right Way to Brainwash Your Child Into Rooting for Syracuse.' He has also written non-Syracuse-related things for SB Nation, Curbed, and many other outlets. He currently lives in Seattle. Send tips/comments/complaints to