Now things get much tougher.
The Alabama SI Cover Tournament moves into the second round, where the seeded entries come into play, and the matchups more difficult to decide.
Joe Namath Eyes the Super Bowl has a daunting opponent, but there are two things of note about the covers stemming from Alabama's 1992 national championship.
First, the Crimson Tide didn't end up on the subsequent cover of Sports Illustrated.
With the game played in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1, the next issue wasn't due to hit newsstands until more than a week later, which was deemed too long, so the decision was made to go with Jim Valvano's fight with cancer. Thus, the creation of commemorative editions.
Second, both commemorative covers are included here, Gene Stallings and Derrick Lassic. It's a dual-cover entry.
BamaCentral is holding a 48-field single-elimination tournament to determine the best Alabama Sports Illustrated cover.
Nick Saban Regional
Game 17: Namath Eyes the Super Bowl vs. That Championship Season
Namath Eyes the Super Bowl
Story headline: A Champagne Party for Joe Weeb
Subhead: It's crazy, sure, so don't run out and bet all your money it will happen, but Edwin Shrake, in a moment of sheer fantasy, writes a letter to a friend describing how Joe Namath (see cover) and the New York Jets set the sporting world on its ear.
Excerpt from Edwin Shrake: Max, you have never seen a group of people happier to go to Miami than the Jets. The AFL owners and officials could not conceal their pleasure, either. For years they had wanted a winning team in New York and now at last they had one. Half the population of this city went down to Miami for the Super Bowl, or tried. There was not a seat to be had on plane, train or bus, and hotel rooms were scarcer than Giant fans.
High Tide in Alabama
Story headline: The End of a Run
Subhead: With a resounding 34-13 Sugar Bowl victory, Alabama put a stop to Miami's 29-game winning streak and won its first national title since 1979
Excerpt (by Austin Murphy): Maybe the old man can finally get some rest. Three coaches and one decade to the month after the death of Bear Bryant, Alabama won its 12th national title and its first in 13 years. After biting their lips for a week while the Miami Hurricanes woofed and howled their contempt for the Crimson Tide, the Alabama players dominated and, perhaps more satisfying, muzzled the defending national champions with a 34-13 win in the Sugar Bowl on New Year's. Now that they can once again lay claim to college football's throne, perhaps Tide fans, who have been known to pray for Bryant's resurrection, will let the Bear lie in peace.
Pay no attention to Alabama coach Gene Stallings's stubborn refusal in the days leading up to the game to concede that his team was an underdog. This was an upset of magnificent proportions. Crimson Tide quarterback Jay Barker could not be counted on to pass his team to victory, and, in fact, he would complete only four of 13 throws for 18 yards and suffer two interceptions. Likewise, the outside running game would be an exercise in futility. As long as Jessie Armstead, Micheal Barrow and Darrin Smith have started at linebacker, no team has been able to turn the corner on Miami.
Alabama would have to run between the tackles—football's truck route—behind a smallish, undistinguished line that, until recently, 'Bama fans had maligned. At 6'3" and 250 pounds, center Tobie Sheils is slight for a major-college lineman. Left guard George Wilson shot off half of his left foot in a 1989 hunting accident. And six nights before the game, right tackle Roosevelt Patterson was verbally assaulted in the French Quarter. "You must be an offensive lineman, you fat, sloppy ——," Miami linebacker Rohan Marley had shouted at the amply padded, 290-pound Patterson.
Chalk one up for the shrimp, the gimp and the blimp. Behind them, Derrick Lassic rushed for 135 yards on 28 carries, the most yards a back gained against the Hurricanes this season. "They said we were one-dimensional," said Sheils after the game. "We are one-dimensional. Sometimes you only need one dimension."
That Championship Season d. Namath Eyes the Super Bowl, 83.0-17.0 percent