In sports, grudges can be a good thing. They can motivate athletes to never be complacent and to always hold disdain for the opponent.
For Alabama against Tennessee, it is Fat Phil Fulmer squealing to the NCAA like a whiny little !@#$%. And for you old enough to remember, it is that @!$%&* ?#+&* Peyton Manning climbing up on the band's conductor ladder and leading the band in a rendition of "Rocky Top" after a win in 1997... in BIRMINGHAM!
Against Auburn, there are many motivators but one of the best nougats of sweet revenge came on November 29, 2008 in Tuscaloosa. I'll try not to prattle on as I am prone to do but a quick recap is in order.
From 1904 to 1988, the Iron Bowl was played in Birmingham as a neutral location. Starting in 1989, at Auburn's insistence, the game would be played on their campus in the years when they were the host team. In 2000, Alabama followed suit holding their half in Tuscaloosa as games at creaky old Legion Field were being phased out. To the indignation of Tide fans, former coach Mike Dubose managed to lose that inaugural game in T-town 9-0. Dennis Franchione and Mike Shula did not fair any better, losing the next three home Iron Bowls.
Things turned from bad to worse when the Tigers won four in a row in the series. Entering the 2006 game, some clever @$$#°!ȩ from Lee County started the phrase "Fear the Thumb" signifying the fifth digit on most of their hands. They went on to win their fifth and sixth straight game against the Tide. Tigers coach Tommy Tuberville - clearly a nonbeliever of a little thing called karma - embraced this movement a little too much to the ire of Bama fans. [I won't insult you by posting pictures here but just Google "tommy tuberville fingers"]
After a Mulligan year in 2007, Saban had gotten the house in order and ran the Crimson Tide up to an 11-0 record heading into the 2008 game. Failing to sustain their success during Alabama's down years, the Tigers stumbled to 5-6 needing an Iron Bowl win to become bowl eligible.
And then this happened:
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