The confetti has settled, and yet, we still can’t stop talking about all that ensued on Monday night.
Monday night’s game drew 25.7 million viewers. Okay, that’s a lot of people… well, not so much, it was down 23% from last year’s game. (The Oregon and Ohio State title game drew 33.8 million viewers.) To put this is perspective for you, the men’s college basketball national title game in 2015 brought 28.3 million viewers to their TV sets across the country, also on a Monday night.
Colin Cowherd argued Tuesday on his show, that America is bored with Alabama. It is the same old, same old. Granted, it is the Tide’s 4th title in 7 years. Which is totally ridiculous when you think about it. A 7-year-old has seen Alabama win 4 national titles in it’s lifetime. Many will live and die never seeing their team win it all, in any sport.
Cowherd may have a point. I recently moved away from Alabama and I have realized like I never have before that most people hate the Crimson Tide. You know, the whole, “they hate you, ‘cuz they ain’t you” kind of thing. Which is perfectly fine but it’s what I heard Tuesday that made me think, wow, people are REALLY over it. Coworkers blurted out that they just didn’t believe in Nick Saban’s games anymore. They knew his no smiling act was for the cameras and they were over his press conference meltdowns. It was all an act and none of it was interesting to them. Basically, it was left, “cool, Bama won ‘another one.'” Pun intended.
I really began to scratch my head. Did you even watch this game? Are we talking about the same Nick Saban? The one I used to hate?
If you allow me to get a little personal to help you understand. Quick background: I was born and raised in Alabama but I grew up a Notre Dame fan (yeah, I know, sorry.) I knew Alabama. I followed Alabama. I hated Alabama — and when 2007 rolled around, I hated Nick Saban. He was a jerk, to put it nicely. I hated the fans, they were obnoxious. I just hated it all. Then, I went to school there because academics trump athletics (lol, yeah right, not in Alabama. Although, contrary to what you may hear, I did receive a quality education.) I soon became one of them. Not one of them like Harvey Updike one of them, but one of them like part of the family. (Sorry, Hunter Johnson, I used the Barn’s word.) I give you this because crimson and white isn’t all I’ve known. I remember feeling the way most of the country feels about the Tide. Even so, there is no way you should be bored with THIS Alabama, not after Monday and the reason is simple.
This team, this win, it is different. It is sweeter.
Not because of anything more than those who are involved. These players and those who led them to this point.
No championship is better than another but this one is definitely one all college football fans should remember forever. Why? Because it was not boring. At all. It just wasn’t. Despite what anyone says, it was a battle on the gridiron. A true #1 vs #2 match-up. That’s why this one is different.
After a couple of “down” years in the eyes of those who bleed crimson and white, 2015 hit with expectations bigger than ever and it delivered. This team. This coaching staff. They won. And It’s not just that they won, it is how they won that made #16 so sweet.
This team did things that no other Alabama trophy raising team has done.
It read it’s own tombstone.
It relied on true freshmen to make plays on both sides of the ball.
It saw a once underused tight end have an outstanding game, in what might be his last in crimson and white.
It saw a player, who would likely only be remembered for his injuries, overcome and make his mark — all 95 yards of it.
It saw a record breaking running back win the Heisman trophy, after it had already been awarded to someone else in September.
It saw a kid who always dreamed of playing for the Tide, take an unprecedented path to become 14-0 as a starter.
It saw a coaching staff that will now be remembered for a kick, just a few short years after it was beaten by one.
It saw a coach smile, when no one believed he ever would.
It was a team that was doubted, only to prove you never doubt Saban and the Tide.
This team is different. No matter what you say. This team is special because they are more than a team led by a a star running back. More than a “bama-bang” quarterback. More than a program who won it’s 4th national title in 7 years. More than everything they traditionally represent.
They are different than the norm because they are more than that —
They are sweeter.