Alabama SI Cover Tournament: I'll Tell You About Football vs. Rule Tide

Christopher Walsh

This is going to be a tough one for a lot of Alabama fans. 

They have to choose between not just one of Nick Saban's national championship covers, but the dominating victory over Notre Dame, and an iconic Bear Bryant edition of the magazine. 

It's Rule Tide vs. I’ll Tell You About Football in the second round of the Alabama SI Cover Tournament. 

BamaCentral has a 48-field single-elimination bracket to determine the best Alabama Sports Illustrated cover.

Vote on Twitter (@BamaCentral) or Facebook (@AlabamaonSI). The voting goes 24 hours for each matchup and the result added to the original post on BamaCentral.

Second round

Nick Saban Regional

Game 19: Rule Tide (2011 title) vs. I’ll Tell You About Football (Bear Bryant)

I'll Tell You About Football

Bear Bryant SI cover August 15, 1966

Story headline: I Know I’ve been motivated all my life

Subhead: Bear Bryant is the most successful and controversial college football coach in the nation. His Alabama teams – aggressive on offense, ferocious on defense and conditioned in the boot camp that Bryant calls a practice field – have been national champions three of the last five years, have appeared in a bowl game in each of the last seven and, since Bryant arrived eight years ago, have won 69 games, lost 12 and tied six …

Excerpt (with John Underwood): Well, like I say, I’ve done some stupid things and made some stupid decisions. I quit Kentucky because I got a mad on and made up my mind it just wasn’t big enough for me and Adolph Rupp, and that was for sure stupid.

I can tell you a lot about quitters. I used to have a sign at Kentucky: Be good or be gone. Jerry Claiborne used to say he had a different roommate every day. I don’t have that sign anymore. Don’t believe it’s necessary now, because I don’t believe you can categorize every boy who quits football as a quitter. For some it’s a matter of finding other interests, just like switching courses. But, from the time I played at Alabama until a few years ago, I believed that if you weren’t a winner, if the game didn’t mean enough to you, you’d probably end up quitting. So I’ve laid it on the line to a lot of boys. I’ve shook’em, hugged’em, kicked’em and embarrassed them in front of the squad. I’ve got down in the dirt with them, and if they didn’t give as well as they took I’d tell them they were insults to their upbringing, and I’ve cleared out their lockers for them and piled their clothes out in the hall, thinking I’d make them prove what they had in their veins, blood or spot, one way or the other, and praying they would come through.

Well, you never know. When I was at Alabama I quit one time, and Coach Hank Crisp went to where I was staying and brought me back.   

Rule Tide: Alabama Dynasty Reborn 

Sports Illustrated cover Eddie Lacy, January 14, 2013

Story headline: Heir Force

Subhead: Alabama turned what was supposed to be a defensive showdown into an offensive beatdown, and by the second half the only competition remaining was between the school's old coach and it's current one

Excerpt (by Tim Layden): Great things can happen in a place like Tuscaloosa, Ala., where past glory is served with every meal and there is an eternal belief, even during the most uncertain times, that each autumn will bring rebirth. It takes the right coach. It takes the right time.

So it was on Monday night, in a professional football stadium on a lonely tract of land hard by the endless highways of South Florida that Alabama, under coach Nick Saban, returned indelibly not just to the national championship, but also to a place high above the sport itself. The Crimson Tide punished top-ranked Notre Dame 42--14, turning one of college football's most anticipated title games into a punch line, and sending once-euphoric Fighting Irish fans who had sought completion of their own renaissance, walking, humbled, into the tropical darkness.

The championship was Alabama's third in four years, the first such run since Nebraska in 1994, '95 and '97 (the third of which was shared by Michigan). "There's a Sports Illustrated cover hanging in my room — because I'm on it — from 2010," said Alabama senior center Barrett Jones after the game, as "Sweet Home Alabama" filled the air. "It says, 'Dynasty. Can Anyone Stop Alabama?' I'll never forget looking at that thing and wondering if we really could be a dynasty. Three out of four. I'm no dynasty expert, but that seems like a dynasty to me."


It came down to just two votes. I’ll Tell You About Football (Bear Bryant) d. Rule Tide (2011 title), 51-49 percent

Comments (2)
No. 1-2
Joey Blackwell
Joey Blackwell


Incredible matchup today. In my opinion, the best one yet!

Anthony Sisco
Anthony Sisco


These are so intriguing, I wish I could read every magazine!