To those who had written off one of the most storied programs in the history of college football, I wonder how you are feeling in the new light of this Crimson Dawn.
To Colin Cowherd, Clay Travis, Jim Rome, et al, who mocked us, saying we were finished, that we could never attract a top tier coach - and then feigned outrage at the amount we were willing to pay, I wonder if you feel that our investment in Coach Saban has paid off.
To the LSU fans, who said Coach Saban could not recruit at Alabama the way he could in Baton Rouge, I give you back to back #1 recruiting classes - with a potential third in the works. To those of you who reveled in our loss to Louisiana-Monroe, and claimed it as proof that Les Miles was superior to Coach Saban in every way, I wonder if you still feel that way.
To the Auburn fans, who railed on and on as to how Alabama could never come back, that the tide in this state had irrevocably turned, I give you 36-0 and The Drive. To you who vociferously stated that stars don't matter, and that Auburn finds the diamonds in the rough, and turns 2 stars into 5 stars, I give you Nick Saban, the best evaluator of talent in the country - evidenced most strongly by a 3 star running back who very few coaches paid much attention, and who brought home Alabama's first Heisman Trophy.
To Tennessee, who thought they had destroyed the Alabama football program by giving secret testimony to the NCAA in order to bring us down, I say, you failed. And perversely, by doing so, you set in motion a chain of events that brought Nick Saban to Alabama - as they say, you reap what you sow. To those of you who revel in the machinations of your whiny, petulant coach, I give you Nick Saban - a man who never whines about bad calls or tin foil hat conspiracies, who just simply goes in every day and flat out works everyone else - and this season shows what happens when expertise combines with exceptional effort.
To all of you who kicked us while we were down, celebrated our misery, and deluded yourselves into thinking that we would never come back, I give you the undefeated, 2009 SEC and National Champion Alabama Crimson Tide. In doing so, I remind you of the reality of this conference, that we are now, and always have been the dominant program in the SEC.
To our coaching staff, I thank you profoundly for your tireless efforts to bring the Alabama football program back to where it is supposed to be.
To Coach Saban, of course we are grateful to you for your peerless knowledge, and for your assembling one of the best staffs to ever coach at Alabama. But what I, and all Alabama fans thank you for the most, is for reminding us of who we are. For reminding us that championships are not awarded, they are earned, and to be a champion means that you do even the little things the right way, and that there is no substitute for simply working harder than everyone else. For reminding us that complex schemes and fancy bells and whistles are no substitute for simply out executing your opponent, and working every minute of every day and on every play to dominate your opponent. Finally, I thank you for how much you care about, and how much effort you give towards not only making our players the best football players they can be, but the very best people and students that they can be. This is an attribute that you share with our most beloved coach, Paul Bryant, and it is why Coach Bryant's former players speak so highly of him, and why they loved him as I know our guys love you.
To our players - you have sweated, toiled - bled for us and none of us, the fans, can ever thank you enough for all your hard work. You have made us more proud of you than you can ever know. You have exemplified everything that the proud tradition of the University of Alabama stands for. Not only have you overcome challenge after challenge on the field, but you have made us all so very proud by being great citizens off of the field. You have earned the right to take your place along with the greatest teams to ever wear Crimson. In particular, I want to thank this incredibly special senior class. You came to the University of Alabama when most players of your caliber would have nothing to do with us. You went through some very tough times, and came out champions. For this, and for your leadership, your character, your toughness, and for everything you have done for us, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I, for one, will always remember your love and dedication to the University of Alabama - you forever have an honored place in Alabama football history.
Never in my 30 years of loving Alabama football, have I been more proud of a team than I am of this one. They are everything a team is supposed to be, and more. Here's to #13 and starting back to work to dominate the SEC and the Nation on our way to winning #14.
ROLL TIDE ROLL