It was a hot and humid September evening in 1970 at Birmingham’s Legion Field. The Alabama Crimson Tide, coached by the great Paul “Bear” Bryant, was in for a long night.
Mr. Bryant had already led the Tide to three national titles. But he was coming off a 6-5 season, his worst yet. Southern California, Alabama’s opponent, had lost just two games in three years.
If past is prologue in sport, it is particularly so in college football, where there is continuity and depth of tradition. What happened that day nearly 40 years ago is arguably the seminal moment in Crimson Tide football—the one that’s most responsible for what the program is today: