I’ll just leave that there for your enjoyment.
In the 12 seasons that Nick Saban has coached at Alabama, we’ve been treated to premium entertainment that no fanbase has ever enjoyed the likes of. 5 National Championships will do that.
For many, the best of the bunch was 2009, when Alabama finally shook off over a decade of mediocrity. Others loved the 2011 defense, Derrick Henry’s ridiculous 2015, or the overtime shocker in 2017.
But for me, the 2012 season was the best of my entire time as an Alabama football fan. It was my freshman year at the University of Alabama, and for the first time in my life, I was going to all the home games. And I was surrounded by other people just as crazy about our football team all season long. People were climbing up the side of my dorm and knocking on windows after Kansas State and Oregon were both upset in one night, vaulting Alabama up to #2.
When Alabama fell to the antics of Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M, I was there in the front row of Bryant-Denny Stadium, trying to will Manziel to drop that stupid fumble with all the force I could muster.
When the Tide survived a zany shootout against Georgia when Aaron Murray’s pass was deflected and then caught as time ran out in the SEC championship, I walked calmly out of my best friend’s dorm with a giant jar of animal cookies and handed them out to everyone I saw.
Of course, there was the National Championship itself. Totally devoid of any drama as Eddie Lacy spun his way around Manti Teo all night and the Tide raced out to an easy win. I love blowouts.
But don’t forget those animal cookies. You see, they played a larger part in this than just an extraneous gift I happened to have after the SEC Championship. No, they were much more than that. You see, I happened to be holding that jar when T.J. Yeldon, as Eli Gold eloquently pointed out, “made a man miss” and scampered his way into the endzone against LSU with less than a minute left in the game.
I don’t actually really even like animal cookies very much. In the annual iteration of the much ballyhooed “Game-of-the-Century,” Alabama controlled much of the first half to a low scoring lead of 14-3, but LSU flipped the script in the second half as Zach Mettenberger jumped out to a career-high 300-yard passing game while A.J. McCarron only managed to complete 1-7 passes in the whole second half.
Trailing by 3 and with only a minute and a half left in the game, Alabama had the ball thanks to a Tiger missed field goal and had nearly 80 yards to go. Quite a long ways for an offense that had barely moved since the first quarter.
Then McCarron hit the ever-reliable Kevin Norwood for an 18-yard gain like it was nothing special. A little hope kindled in me.
McCarron to Norwood again. This time for 15 and another first down. I grabbed the nearest thing to me and hugged it— my friend’s jar of animal cookies.
McCarron to Norwood again. 11 yards and a first down. I ate an animal cookie. It seemed to be working.
McCarron throws this one incomplete. I wasn’t hugging the jar hard enough. Sorry guys.
And then Yeldon did his thing. Game over. The dorms at UA exploded as everyone ran up and down the halls... and I gave everyone I saw a lucky cookie.
That jar, though emptied only a couple of weeks later, stayed in my arms the entire time during the Auburn, Georgia, and Notre Dame games. Which, if you ask me, all turned out quite well.