LSU’s Tiger Stadium “Death Valley”
I have always been a fan of the NFL. My Sundays have been about football for as long as I can remember. But, as the football bug has taken over, I now find that Saturdays hold a significance to me that they never used to.
Take last Saturday…
An unbeaten Notre Dame, struggling to keep its place in the rankings and reclaim college football glory. The Irish fight through three overtimes and “play like champions” to beat Pittsburgh 29-26.
The heartfelt and emotional performance by Alabama Quarterback AJ McCarron to bring the Crimson Tide back to defeat LSU 21-17 in “Death Valley.”
The SEC has particular appeal to me, even though I’m right in the heart of Big Ten Country. Maybe because it’s geographically close to Indiana. Maybe because our former quarterback, Peyton Manning, came from Tennessee. Maybe it’s because I lived in Birmingham for a time and traveled throughout Tennessee and Alabama every week. I fell in love with the people and saw firsthand the passion they have for their football. It truly is a religion and a way of life. And if you’ve never been to a college football game in the south, it is something to experience. Put it on your bucket list.
While my NFL teams are few…the Colts, the Mannings, and the Vikings (in that order). My college teams are many…the Golden Gophers (my home state), the Orange (my alma mater), Alabama (my brief but beloved once home), and the big three Indiana teams: Indiana, Notre Dame, and Purdue. I know…I’m breaking the rules. I’m supposed to pick one and hate the other two. But I didn’t grow up here, didn’t go to college here, and choose to cheer for all three. If that makes me a bandwagon fan…so be it. I’ve been called worse.
Today’s college teams run an NFL style offense and complicated defense. As a result, the players are drafted to play. And play they are. This year, a record five rookie quarterbacks are starting on NFL teams. And with strong, inspiring performances each week. Just look at Sunday’s matchup between Indianapolis Colts Quarterback Andrew Luck (Stanford) and Miami Dolphins Quarterback Ryan Tannehill (Texas A&M). Luck won this shootout, but the two are a sure to face each other in epic battles for years to come.
The future of football is being written today. Listen up, Chiefs fans. And for that matter, all NFL fans. A bright future awaits. It is on the field. As we speak. In places like Tuscaloosa, Alabama…South Bend, Indiana…and Eugene, Oregon.
Tune in on Saturdays…and watch it unfold.