Wednesday, December 4, 2013
One of my favorite sports sayings, and those of you who know me hear it often during moments of amazement and wonder.
War (with a mild expletive deleted between the hyphens) Eagle.
I stole/borrowed this from the late Lewis Grizzard, who was known to utter the saying during moments of total consternation, and what would qualify as a moment of total consternation was the last one second of this year’s Iron Bowl, when Alabama was determined to have a final shot at beating Auburn and hold on to its number one ranking in the BCS standings.
While a sentimental Alabama fan during some of the lean post-Bear Bryant years, I had long grown tired of hearing “Roll Tide.” I watched last January as Bama systematically dismantled my beloved Fighting Irish and Manti T’eo’s imaginary girlfriend in last year’s BCS title game. I was loathe to think the Crimson Tide would play for its third consecutive national championship and had waited these 13 weeks for someone to knock these big red elephants off their lofty perch.
Two weeks ago I stood and screamed at my TV set – something more R rated than “War (with a mild expletive deleted between the hyphens) Eagle,” when trailing Georgia 38-37 and facing a fourth-and-18 with 36 seconds left in the fourth quarter, Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall launched a pass into the general direction of receiver, Ricardo Louis.
The ball was headed right towards safety Tray Matthews, who leaped to grab it. But so did Josh Harvey-Clemons, and the ball bounced off him, then Matthews and into the air and continued towards Georgia’s end zone. Louis, who seemed to be out for a late Saturday afternoon stroll, was in an extremely fortunate position after the deflection as he looked up just after clearing the Georgia defenders and snagged the ball to run in for the go-ahead touchdown.
I think I used one of those 11-letter colorful adjectives to describe my utter consternation then.
Not this week.
This week as Adam Griffith’s last second attempt at a 57-yard field goal settled into Davis’ hands at the very back of the Tide’s end zone I saw the play happen about three seconds before it developed.
Bama had eight lumbering offensive lineman on the field, a holder and Griffith, the kicker, to try and catch Davis as he took off down the sideline.
I leaned forward in my chair and uttered, “War (with a mild expletive deleted between the hyphens) Eagle, they’re not going to catch him.”
Alabama tight end Brian Vogler had a shot at him at the 20, but Davis cut past him and sprinted to the sideline where only holder Cody Mandell could have caught him.
I stood up when Davis tippy-toed down the left sideline, barely staying in-bounds after Mandell’s swan dive missed.
“War (with a mild expletive deleted between the hyphens) Eagle, he’s going to score!”
I think I had spiced that outcry with a few more 11-letter colorful adjectives as Chris Davis sprinted into the end zone with the game-winning TD and Alabama’s national title hopes sprouted wings and took flight for Tuscaloosa.
I did the math.
Florida State leapfrogs over Alabama to the number one spot, and Ohio State slides into the vacated number two slot.
“Big Ten this!” I crowed to my SEC brethren, “Ohio State is playing for the national championship!”
Jordan-Hare Stadium went berserk.
A stunned Nick Saban walked off the field.
And Bama quarterback A.J. McCarron was consoled in the arms of his hot model girlfriend Katherine Webb.
Oh yeah. War (with a mild expletive deleted between the hyphens) Eagle.