Hello, for those of you who don't know me, my name is James Williamson, proud member of the state of Texas and Dallas Cowboy Community Leader of this marvelous Web site.
Now, why am I writing a college article? Simple, the more you can write about, the better chance you have of succeeding in this world as a writer. I don't intend to stop until I get a paying writing job and I'll probably still won't stop because I want to get better.
Now, why would I like Alabama and not say Texas or A&M or even Texas Tech?
Well I do like those schools, but something also draws me to Alabama. First off, my very good friend Emily (can't say last name) is a proud member of the University of Alabama since she moved away from Texas.
Thankfully, there is Facebook and we still keep in touch. Last year, she constantly put on her Facebook status, "Roll Tide Roll," and it got my attention.
Let me tell you something, when Emily likes something, it has to be good. Emily has never been a bandwagon person. She's got impeccable taste which is why I'm her friend.
She is a unique, sweet girl with an infectious smile that spreads all over to the depressed, the suicidal, and the Scrooges. You can't help but smile back.
For her to talk about the Tide and actually be involved in the school's program, it has to be good.
Is that it? No, I'm an NFL nut who probably could write a book or teach a class on the NFL with glasses at the rim of my nose like a professor.
Alas, there is no such job. What a pity.
Anyway, the NFL's glorious history is packed with members of that red ocean. From so many positions, it is amazing how successful that school is when you look at the history.
When I think of Alabama, I think of Super Bowls because more Alabama quarterbacks have won Super Bowls than any other school including Notre Dame.
"Okay, in the huddle today, we have the 'Snake' at quarterback. The kid from Alabama."
That "Snake" is Ken Stabler who led the Raiders to a Super Bowl victory over the Minnesota Vikings in the 1976 season. This after winning the 1965 National Championship and leading Alabama to an undefeated season the following year.
His greatest moment though, was in the Iron Bowl, where he had the the "Run in the Mud" touchdown. The play covered 47 yards in the soaked field for a touchdown in a 7-3 victory over rival Auburn.
Think that's big? Listen to his predecessor's achievements.
The man who gave credibility to the entire AFL and led the greatest upset in NFL history also was from Alabama, where he won the championship in 1964.
"Broadway Joe" Namath made the guarantee heard around the world and backed it up with a Super Bowl MVP performance in Super Bowl III.
He made the NFL take these teams like the Miami Dolphins, New York Jets, San Diego Chargers, and Oakland Raiders seriously. One cannot stress enough the importance Joe Namath had on the history of the NFL.
Let’s not forget, the guy who had won the two Super Bowl MVPs before Namath. Lets not forget one of the most underrated quarterbacks of all-time named Bart Starr who went to... you guessed it, Alabama.
To go along with those Super Bowls, he has three NFL titles as well.
Ken Stabler is generally considered to be one of the greatest snubs for the Hall of Fame while Starr and Namath will have bronze heads in Canton, Ohio forever.
However, Alabama did not go unnoticed this year for the Hall of Fame when Derrick Thomas was posthumously inducted this past month. He holds the record with the most sacks in one game with seven. He had 123 sacks total with 41 forced fumbles, 19 fumble recoveries, three safeties, and four defensive touchdowns in his career.
Many teams had to dedicate an entire offensive line to keep this guy from killing them in the backfield, and it still failed at times.
With all those great quarterbacks that come out of there, there has to be some success at the key positions that protect quarterback, the offensive line!
Two Hall of Famers were linemen at Alabama, Dwight Stephenson and John Hannah at center and guard respectively.
Stephenson was Dan Marino's most trusted man and a staple on a line that consistently was at the top of the league in fewest sacks allowed. Four first team All-Pro and five Pro Bowl selections are definitely worth mentioning.
John Hannah is one of the top five guards of all time in terms of his seven first team All-Pro selections and nine Pro Bowls.
Even Crimson Tide product Chris Samuels, a six time Pro Bowler, is still playing for the Washington Redskins.
Marty Lyons was a defensive lineman for the New York Jets and a member of the New York Sack Exchange defensive line that led the league in sacks with 53.5 in 1981.
Looking at the running backs, you'd think they weren't very good, but recently, Shaun Alexander was an MVP for the Seattle Seahawks and a very good back.
Then there is Le'Ron McClain who is just a nightmare at fullback and he led the Ravens in rushing last year, which for a fullback is like Haley's Comet.
What amazes me also is the quality linebackers they produced.
We've gone over Derrick Thomas, but there is Cornellius Bennett who was a major defensive player for the 1990s Bills that went to four straight Super Bowls.
E. J. Junior was a Pro Bowler for the St. Louis Cardinals (before they moved to Arizona), and he was a starter for nine years.
Then there is the best of them all, Lee Roy Jordan, the greatest middle linebacker in the history of my favorite team, the Dallas Cowboys.
The Cowboys chose him as a pioneer in the 1961 draft after he had won the championship under the Bear Bryant.
Lee Roy Jordan was the hardest worker Dallas had. He gave it all and more every time he played and every time he practiced. He, along with Chuck Howley and Dave Edwards, made of the finest linebacking corps of all time.
He won a Super Bowl with Dallas in 1971, and it is an injustice that he is not in the Hall of Fame. I cannot understand what the voters have against players like him. He was undersized, but he punished those who underestimated him. He is tied for third all-time in interceptions (32 of them) by a linebacker and the two ahead of him are outside linebackers, not middle.
So, he has the most interceptions by a middle linebacker, a feat he shares with Nick Buonoconti. Buonoconti is in the Hall of Fame, so I cannot understand why Lee Roy Jordan has not been able to wear that gold jacket.
Not convinced about Alabama though? What if I told you that many NFL experts don't think Jerry Rice is the greatest receiver of all-time?
A lot of experts think Alabama's Don Hutson was the greatest receiver of all-time because he really was the first real wide receiver who could run faster than every one and was the first player to require double coverage.
Alabama is great at the collegiate level as well.
The Alabama team last year was a spectacular team that lost only to the eventual champion Florida Gators, and then lost in an upset in the Sugar Bowl to Utah, a team that didn't lose a single game all season.
They beat good teams with ridiculous numbers. Auburn (36-0), Clemson (34-10), Georgia (41-30), LSU (27-21), Tennessee (29-9), so they were a team to reckon with even though everyone was talking about Texas, Oklahoma, and Florida.
They have a lot of the same team back for 2009 except for Andre Smith, Glen Coffee, and John Parker Wilson on offense. They have a new running back in Mark Ingram and a new quarterback in Greg McElroy, who is a guy they think can get the job done for them.
Julio Jones has got the camera on him at the wideout position. He exploded onto the scene with 58 catches for 924 yards. He may not have had a lot of touchdowns, but Alabama has a good goal-line offense where they can run it in on the five- yard line.
He didn't miss a game as a freshman and was SEC Freshman of the year as well as a first-team Freshman All-American.
They lost Rashad Johnson at safety, but they still have a very good defense overall with guys like Terrence Cody at nose tackle, and Lorenzo Washington and Brandon Deaderick at ends.
In the linebacking corps, the Tide has Cory Reamer, Rolanda McClain, Eryk Anders, and Dont'a Hightower in the mix and together they are a tough group to tangle with.
Finally, backing them up in the secondary are the two corners, Javier Arenas and Kareem Jackson who are both very good players with Justin Woodall, a linebacker-sized safety, and replacing Rashad Johnson is Robby Green.
Overall, the Tide seems like it is coming to a high point now. It may be low at times, but it has its high points.
So, how can I not root for a team like that? I have a personal autograph from the Bart Starr, so I'd have to be crazy to not cheer for a team like that.
Emily, I got three words for you.
ROLL TIDE ROLL!
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