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....In a speech to the team in the '70s President Mathews said; "No one can help but be aware of the rich tradition that is associated with this Team and this University. Tradition is a burden in many ways...To have a Tradition like ours means you can't lose your cool, to have Tradition like ours means that you always have to show class, even when you are not quite up to it; to have Tradition like ours means you have to do some things you don't want to do and some you even think you can't do, simply because The Tradition demands it of you. On the other hand, The Tradition is the thing that sustains us. Tradition is that which allows us to prevail in ways that we could not otherwise"

No university can build "Tradition" without fans that have a lot of Pride in their school. No university, anywhere in the country, has fans with more Pride in their school than 'Bama fans.

Coach Bryant said it best when he said....... "If you believe in yourself and have dedication and pride and never quit, you'll be a winner. The price of victory is high, but so are the rewards."


Bama Thru the Decades

by Jim Morris
Feature Writer of Alabama Weekly

1999 will mark the beginning of a great end in the annals of College Football History. In the era of the 1900's, we have seen many technological and medical breakthroughs. From the invention of the PC to the discovery of a polio vaccine, this century has been the era of inventions. In the history of college football during this era, one university has ruled as the supreme leader. In the years to come, the achievements of the Crimson Tide football program will become even more incredible. An era in which the Tradition as we know it was born. An era that brought us the greatest coach in college football history. An era in which THE University of Alabama invented College Football as we know it today. An era that defines ALABAMA FOOTBALL.

THE University has fielded a football team each year of the 1900's with the exception of 1918 and 1943 due to the world wars. In 96 seasons of this era, the BAMA Football program has posted 713 wins while losing only 252 and tieing 43. The program has ruled southern football with an impressive 24 conference championships. It has vaulted itself to the throne of college football supremacy with 12 national titles. 84 first team All-Americans have worn a Crimson jersey. Another 187 received first team All-Conference honors. UA teams have outscored their opponents 22895 to 9746 in 1900's. With these incredible achievements, THE University of Alabama has proven itself as the birthplace of college football tradition.

In 1925 the South was in the midst of hard times and depression. When the Tide was invited to play in the Rose Bowl that year, it rekindled feelings of pride and hope for Southerners. Until then, southern football was thought to be far inferior to those of the north and west. For the first time a southern team was invited to play in the Rose Bowl; a game that pitted the best two teams in the country against each other. People from all around the southeastern United States became instant TideFans. Southerners were so excited that theaters in Tuscaloosa and Montgomery were packed to watch a telegraph operator give them instant updates of the game. The Tide win that day sent the region into frenzy. Over 100,000 met the team a week later at the Tuscaloosa Depot. That 1925 team did more than win the National Championship, it put southern football on the map. A year later the Bama boys would return to Pasadena. With the election of the National Champions before the bowl game, UA had won its second national championship in back to back years. Bama would make the trip to Pasadena five straight seasons (1925-29) winning 3 contests while losing 1 and tieing 1. UA superstar Fred Sington would become an American hero; even having a song written about him called "Football Freddy".

The 1930's would begin like the 20's ended with THE University of Alabama reigning as college football's king. BAMA would win the national title in 1930 and again in 1934. The period of the 30's would bring us two ends from a small town in Arkansas. All-American Don Hutson and future Head Coach Paul Bryant would leave the fields of Fordyce for the already rich tradition of Alabama Football. The TIDE won 2 national championships and 4 conference titles during this period.

On September 27, 1940, The Crimson Tide would play its first game under the lights in a 26-0 win over Spring Hill College in Mobile. Seven years later on September 27, 1947 UA would play its first home game under the lights at Birmingham's Legion Field. That night the TIDE would pound the Golden Eagles of Southern Mississippi 34-6. One year later the lights would burn for the first time at Denny Stadium as the TIDE picked up a 48-6 win over Duquesne. Although there would be many firsts for the Crimson Tide in the forties, the effects of the Second World War would have almost catastrophic effects on the football program. BAMA would win the 1941 National Title and the 1945 SEC championship. With many of its athletes serving their country in war, the TIDE would then suffer from lack of players.

The 1950's would mark the first decade since the teens that UA would not win a national title. In 1951 Alabama would play in its first televised game. Lindsay Nelson-a UT alum and Mel Allen-a UA alum, hosted the national telecast of the Alabama/Tennessee game. In 1953 BAMA would win the SEC championship and score an amazing 61 points against Syracuse in that years Orange Bowl. Those 61 points scored against the Orangemen remain an NCAA record for most points scored in a bowl game. 1958 may go down as the most important year in the rich tradition of ALABAMA FOOTBALL. With the program in a slump, Paul "Bear" Bryant would tell his team at Texas A&M, "Mama Calls." Answering the call, Bryant would leave for his alma mater and begin the rebuilding process. In 1959 BAMA and "Bear" would begin 24 consecutive bowl appearances with their visit to Philadelphia and the Liberty Bowl.

Three years after Bryant took over, Alabama had won the 1961 National Championship. Bryant had made good on his promise and put BAMA football back on top. Bryant and the Crimson Tide would win two more titles in 1965 and 1966. In 1961,64,65,66 Alabama would own the Southeastern Conference title. This decade would bring us players by the name of Lee Roy Jordan, Joe Willie Namath, and Kenny "Snake" Stabler. The 1962 Orange Bowl was the scene of what could be the greatest single performance by a defensive player in college football history. All-American Lee Roy Jordan would record 35 tackles in a 17-0 win over Oklahoma. His spectacular play in this game would prompt Coach Bryant to tell many reporters "If they stay in bounds, Lee Roy will get 'em".

After contemplating a jump to the NFL, Coach Bryant returned to head THE University's football program through the 70's. With a rekindled spirit Bryant and his teams would win an amazing 3 national titles (73,78,79) and 8 SEC championships in the seventies . The only years the TIDE did not rule the SEC was 1970 and 1976. This decade brought us what may be the defining moment in Crimson Tide Football History. The Goal Line Stand in the 1979 Sugar Bowl against Penn State defined the characteristics of Alabama's rich football tradition. Grit, Determination, pride, and failing to accept defeat were evident in that series of plays. The decade of the seventies saw men like John Hannah, Dwight Stevenson, Richard Todd, Tony Nathan, and Ozzie Newsome wear the Crimson jersey. Although the TIDE would not win a national title in the eighties, it would win two conference titles in 1981 and 1989. In 1981, Coach Paul "Bear" Bryant would become the winningest coach in Division-1 college football history with his 315th victory in a win over cross state rival Auburn. Bryant would coach his final game as BAMA's Head Coach in the 1982 Liberty Bowl. Jeremiah Casteel would have three interceptions that night in a TIDE win over the Fighting Illini of Illinois. The 1985 edition of the Iron Bowl proved to be one of the greatest victories in Crimson Tide history. Behind the cool and collected arm of quarterback Mike Shula and the sticky hands of receiver Greg Richardson. Alabama would set itself up for a last second field goal, "THE KICK," that would snatch the win from Auburn. From 54 yards away, Van Tiffin would split the uprights and give BAMA a 17-15 win. One year later Cornelius Bennett would deliver a shot heard around the world. "Biscuit" would send Notre Dame QB Steve Beurlein deep into the Legion Field turf. Buerlein would leave the game after suffering a concussion on this play. Two words explain this play in Crimson Tide history, "THE SACK". During this decade the TIDE would have 3 different head coaches. More than any other decade in it's history. In a game against Ole Miss in 1989, Gary Hollingsworth would lead the TIDE to a 62-27 win after being behind 21-0. Later that season, Thomas Rayam would seal a BAMA victory with "THE BLOCK" of a last second field goal by Penn State. BAMA would cap off the 1989 season with Bill Curry and the Crimson Tide winning a SEC title and playing in the 1990 Sugar Bowl, losing to Miami. In 1990 Bill Curry would leave under pressure and THE University would finally give the job of head coach to the man many believed Coach Bryant had handpicked. Gene Stallings who played under Bryant at Texas A&M and later coached under Bryant at the Capstone, would take the reigns of the football program. Phillip Doyle would continue BAMA's dominance in Knoxville with a last second field goal that gave BAMA a 9-6 win over Tennessee. In 1992, Stallings would repeat a feat his mentor achieved in 1961. Just three years after taking over as head coach, Stallings had led the Crimson Tide to the national title. Beating all odds, the TIDE defeated heavily favored, trash talking Miami in the 1993 Sugar Bowl. "Bebes," as friends call him, would win an average of 10 games a season during his tenure as head coach. The seniors of 1995 would leave the Capstone with a 45-4-1 record, 1 national championship and 1 SEC title. Mike DuBose would take over as head coach in 1997 after Gene Starlings resigned. Obviously, this article only skims the surface of the rich tradition THE University of Alabama has established in the era of the 1900's. With the improvements of last season and expectations of even more this season, BAMA appears ready to claim the throne of supremacy of College Football in the 2000's.

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