Advertisement

Crimson Tide team, fans celebrate title run

From ESPN - January 20, 2018

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Tens of thousands of fans gathered to celebrate Alabama's latest national championship, one that was especially hard to achieve.

This time the Crimson Tide had to overcome a loss in the final regular-season game, a series of defensive injuries and a period of uncertainty when it was not clear if a fourth consecutive playoff invitation was even forthcoming.

Then there was the title game with Georgia that included a 13-0 halftime deficit, a quarterback switch and an overtime that started with a huge sack of Tua Tagovailoa. The final play -- Tagovailoa's 41-yard touchdown heave to fellow freshman DeVonta Smith -- was etched in the memories of Tide fans, players and coach Nick Saban.

"I do not think anybody's ever going to forget" that play, Saban told a crowd Alabama estimated at 40,000.

"I know I will never forget the feeling that I had when Tua takes a sack and one minute later the feeling that I had when we threw the touchdown pass," he said.

It was the fifth, and perhaps most eventful, championship run of Saban's 11-year tenure at Alabama. He also matched Bear Bryant with his sixth overall national title.

After receiving a CFP semifinal berth despite a loss to Auburn, Alabama toppled playoff nemesis and top-ranked Clemson in the Sugar Bowl before beating the Bulldogs 26-23 in an All-Southeastern Conference matchup. Alabama finished second in the SEC West, first in the nation.

"This whole 2017 season, man, it's amazing," senior linebacker Rashaan Evans said.

Evans was so excited after the game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, he says he did not take his pads off until returning to the hotel. It was at least the second title celebration for the seniors, and after a snow-filled week in much of the state, temperatures warmed up enough for a comfortable celebration.

Much warmer than the one two years ago.

"I have never seen this many fans at a celebration before," senior center Bradley Bozeman said. "It's unreal. We are really blessed to have this fan base."

Advertisement

Continue reading at ESPN »