Bryant-Denny Stadium: Will It Be Feared Again Like It Once Was?

John ChisholmContributor IAugust 13, 2009

If you're an Alabama fan, is there any better place to spend a Saturday afternoon?

For a long time, it was a place that no opponent wanted to spend their Saturday afternoon, cause most of the time it was going to end up in their "lost" column.

As it stands, Bryant-Denny is the fourth largest stadium in the SEC, the eleventh largest stadium in the nation, and the 17th largest non-racing stadium by seating in the world. Upon the approval of the South Endzone expansion, it could possibly be the fifth largest stadium in the country, second largest in the SEC, and eighth largest non-racing stadium in the world. 

Alabama holds an all-time record of 187-32-3 at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Of that record, “Bear” Bryant holds a 72-2 record.

Yes, a 72-2 record:  A good reason why this stadium was feared once upon a time.

But, of course, “The Bear” is not roaming the sidelines like he once was, and it seems that soon after he was gone, the fear of entering this stadium kind of wore off to some degree.

Can it be that way again? Sure it can.

Is it that way now? It's on its way, I would say.

Nick Saban is no miracle worker, nor is he “Bear” Bryant in any way, but he is a winner, and a proven one, nobody can dispute that. In my opinion, I believe that this stadium is on its way back to being feared once again.

Now, with that said, things are very different in football compared to then. You have the parity that you didn’t once have, and some of the teams that would not have been a concern in the Bryant era are now very clear and present dangers on the field.

“Domination” is not a word used on a daily basis in the college football world as it once might have been, and you don’t see teams, for the most part, dominating year in and year out.

Of course, a lot of big games were played at Legion Field, another home location for the University of Alabama. In 2003, Alabama played its final game against the South Florida Bulls, and ever since, Bryant-Denny is the sole home of Alabama Football.

Some memorable moments in Bryant-Denny would include the 1994 shootout between Jay Barker and Eric Zeier of the Georgia Bulldogs...Tyrone Prothro’s reception over the back of the Southern Miss Defensive Back, and of course the 36-0 shutout Iron Bowl  victory against Auburn, the first Iron Bowl victory in  Bryant-Denny Stadium.

But finally, I would think that a main part of instilling fear into opponents coming in to play the Crimson Tide would be the fans.

The fans are at times referred to as “The 12th Man,” and they play a huge impact on the game. NO, they are not on the field, but they do contribute in a big way.

I do recall being in Bryant-Denny, Sept. 6, 2003.

Oklahoma comes to town to play the Crimson Tide. Just one year prior, 'Bama loses a well fought game to the Sooners, and correct me if I am wrong, but OU came in ranked No. 1 at the time.

Not long before kickoff, the capacity crowd sings along with the “Rammer Jammer,” which for those who don’t know, includes the line “We're gonna beat the hell outta you.”

Now, that might not change the team, and it might not intimidate the No. 1 team in the country at all, but you have to know it was in their heads.

Every college football fan wants their stadium to be feared, and wants it to be an intimidating place to play. Although there are many that fit that bill, not many can say they experienced the tradition, and enjoyment, and success that this one has produced over time.

This stadium is also home to 12 National Titles, 21 SEC Titles, and was once the place where a legend in most everyone’s mind spent a lot of his Saturday afternoons.

Not many can say that either.


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