Important analysis of the English language: Even lawyers like to say "Roll Tide"

Tuesday August 27th, 2013

When I visited Alabama on my way to a wedding in the spring, I thought I'd be more surprised when radio station DJs signed off with "Roll Tide." But I'm preconditioned now, whether it's from reading content from other bloggers and writers, watching the 30 for 30 episode, writing about Alabama or seeing this ESPN commercial:

"Roll Tide" is an expression that has transcended sports -- it's a punctuation the way I imagine Jay Z tried (and failed) to make "Holy Grail" the common end of a sentence:

So, when we see things like a "Roll Tide" casually inserted into a legal document, we're not at all phased. It belongs. If you read the below sentence without a "Roll Tide" in there, you naturally insert it yourself:

Really, it's when "Roll Tide" is absent that confusion sets in. Some sentences just feel off when a RT (maybe that's what retweet really stands for, anyway) is missing. When you get your change at a restaurant, you expect it. When you're watching Breaking Bad and Walt tells you to have an "A1 Day," you want him to finish the statement. When a band begins its encore, you don't want it to say "Thank you Cleveland." You want it to say "Thank you Cleveland, Roll Tide."

It's reached far beyond just SEC country. It isn't just an Alabama thing, it's an America thing. It's not even a fan thing; it's call-and-response, similar to the way we place our hands over our hearts during the National Anthem.

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide—from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Andy Staples, Grant Wahl, and more—delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.