Los Angeles is a forward-thinking city, but that doesn't mean it's not enamored with its past.
Fans of the USC Trojans football program are currently caught in that same conundrum. Following the worst football season in two decades in 2018, devoted Trojans are clamoring for a return to the glory days of the early 2000s.
That was never more evident than when former Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush walked out of the tunnel during his highly anticipated return to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on Friday night.
Bush, 34, was a former two-time All-American tailback for the Trojans from 2003 to 2005 and helped lead the program to three title games and two National Championships.
Bush went on to become a Super Bowl Champion with the New Orleans Saints, but he was embroiled in scandal, lawsuits and investigations in the years following his collegiate career.
An NCAA investigation revealed that Bush and his family had received improper benefits during his tenure with the Trojans, and subsequently Bush was ordered to return his Heisman Trophy, and the program had to vacate its last two wins of the 2004 season – including the 2005 Orange Bowl – as well as all of its wins in the 2005 season.
Bush has been banned from the USC campus ever since, and all remnants of his days as a Trojan have been removed from Heritage Hall and the Coliseum. The jerseys of six former Trojan Heisman trophy winners are displayed just below the Peristyle, but Bush's No. 5 is not among them.
Many fans of Trojan nation blamed Bush for the debilitating sanctions that came down on the football program in the wake of the investigation, but it appeared as if all was forgotten on Friday.
Get Los Angeles's latest local news on crime, entertainment, weather, schools, COVID, cost of living and more. Here's your go-to source for today's LA news.
Bush was in attendance as part of the FOX Sports pregame show ahead of the Pac 12 powerhouse matchup between Utah and USC.
Trojan fans adorned in No. 5 jerseys gathered just 20-feet away from the Fox Sports broadcast stage and began chanting, "Reggie! Reggie! Reggie!" hours before the game, at halftime, and after the game.
When not chanting for Bush, fans who remember the glory days of Pete Carroll, called for former Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer to take over as head coach of the Trojans.
Meyer was also part of the broadcast team, and was seated to the left of both Bush, and Matt Leinart, the USC quarterback from 2001 to 2005.
Meyer is currently retired, but the national championship coach of both Florida and Ohio State is considered to be the frontrunner to take over for current USC head coach Clay Helton should he be fired at some point during the 2019 season.
"Hire Urban Meyer!" chanted fans as Helton walked past them on the field to warm up with his players and coaches.
Helton has done a tremendous job of ignoring the outside noise that has placed him on the hot seat for the better part of two seasons now. Even Meyer, a close friend of Helton, pretended to ignore the crowds chants and just stared down at his notes as the audience called for his succesion.
During the broadcast, Meyer acknowledged the immense pressure that the head coach of USC is constantly under by saying:
"There are very few places in America where you're expected to win every game you play. This is one of those places. You have the high school recruiting and all the resources…this is a huge game for USC tonight."
Both Meyer and Leinart picked Utah to win the game, but Bush chose the Trojans.
"I cannot pick against my Trojans," he said. "I will never do it."