Two weeks ago, the Football Saturday in the South blog asked the question, "Who are the most well known Tigers?" They weren't asking who were the best or the most successful, they simply listed the most currently recognizable. I thought it was an interesting idea for a post, so here goes for Alabama:
1. Paul "Bear" Bryant: This one is kind of a no-brainer. 20+ years after coaching his last game, he still casts a shadow over his successors. National championships, SEC championships and a 232-46-9 record at Alabama add up to an incredible legacy that one is reminded of everywhere you turn in Tuscaloosa. It seems as if half of the town is named after him: Bryant-Denny Stadium, Bryant Drive, Bryant Hall, the Bryant Museum, the Bryant Conference Center, Bryant High School, etc.
2. Joe Namath: Broadway Joe has done it all: He won Super Bowl III and was the MVP of the game, won a collegiate national championship in 1964, and is pro football hall of famer. He's easily the most famous QB to ever wear the crimson jersey and that's quite a feat considering that his company includes Ken Stabler and Bart Starr. Farrah Fawcett even shaved his mustache in a famous shaving cream advertisement. Namath's name appeared in headlines frequently a few years ago during a sideline interview with Suzy Kolber where Namath told her "I want to kiss you."
3. Shaun Alexander: Shaun Alexander is currently Alabama's all-time leading rusher and it was obvious early on that he was a special player when he rushed for 291 yards and four touchdowns as a freshman against LSU in Baton Rouge. 2005 was a banner year for Shaun in the NFL when he became the first player in NFL history to score 15 or more TDs five years in a row. He also broke the Seattle Seahawks' all-time rushing record and the NFL's single season TD record. He was named league MVP in 2005 and currently appears on the cover of the popular John Madden NFL video game.
4. Latrell Sprewell: Though Spree is a heck of a hoops player (he averaged 18.8 points per game in the NBA), his being famous is due more to a few unsavory incidents than it is to his on the court performance. In 1997, Sprewell choked coach P.J. Carlesimo during a practice session and found himself suspended for the remainder of the season. He grabbed headlines again in 2004 when offered a 3-year, $21 million contract extension by the Minnesota Timberwolves. The $7 million per year offer was less than what Sprewell had been making and he declined the offer with the famous line, "I've got to feed my family." He is also known for his line of motorsports products: Sprewell MotorSports.
5. Mike Price: Yes, it is somewhat incredible that a person only employed by the university for a few months would make the list, but there isn't a sports fan in America that doesn't remember Mike Price's drunken bender in Pensacola that got him fired before he coached a single game at the Capstone. Price will eventually work his way off of this list, but he's on it for the foreseeable future.
Honorable mention: Cornelius Bennett, Derrick Thomas, Robert Horry, Ken Stabler, Bart Starr, John Hannah, Ozzie Newsome, Joe Sewell, Mel Allen.
Tell me who you would put on the list in the comments section.