Life and politics from the Sunshine State's best city

Alabama’s football lore has a chance to grow versus Clemson

in Sports/Top Headlines by

The Houndstooth hat.

The tearaway jerseys. Sweet Home Alabama. Big Al the Elephant. Rammer Jammer. Deacon Blues. Little Debbie. The Bear. The Nicktator. Legion Field.

Yeah, Alabama football has a nice history.

The Tide tries to add to that in Monday night’s national championship game. When it comes to the lore of the sport, the Tide is probably behind only Notre Dame, and Alabama fans won’t even admit to that. This is the thing that seems to separate Alabama. Nebraska had a nice run, and Notre Dame, and Texas. But Alabama has maintained its excellence from Wallace Wade to Bear Bryant to Nick Saban.

Monday night, it tries to do it again.

Imagine the alumni watching. Alabama is deep there, too.

How deep?

A look at the 10 best Alabama players.

1. Joe Namath: Namath was suspended at the end, supposedly because he admitted to smoking. But Namath became a great player with the Tide.

2. John Hannah: A great blocking guard for the Patriots. Perhaps the best one the Tide ever had.

3. Don Hutson: Bear Bryant would have been remembered as a great player if Hutson wasn’t on the other side.

4. Derrick Henry: The reigning Heisman Trophy winner and, frankly, a much better player than the Tide’s other Heisman winner, Mark Ingram.

5. Derrick Thomas: A sensational pass-rushing linebacker whose life was ended prematurely.

6. Ken Stabler: The Snake is proof that all the great players haven’t made the Pro Football Hall of Fame yet.

7. Julio Jones: The Falcons weren’t much to watch this year, but it wasn’t because of Jones, who was simply unstoppable.

8. Dwight Stephenson: Simply the best center who has ever played the game.

9. Ozzie Newson: Newson defined the tight end position to many. A great player.

10. Lee Roy Jordan: Jordan was a brutal linebacker for the Tide and the Dallas Cowboys.

Honorable mention: Bobby Humphrey, Marty Lyons, Keith McCants, Cornelius Bennett, Shaun Alexander, Mark Ingram, Johnny Musso, E.J. Junior, Barry Krauss. Woodrow Lowe.

Good news for Clemson, though.

They don’t have to stop all of them.

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit

Latest from Sports

Go to Top