Alabama SI Cover Tournament: The Legend of Julio Jones vs. The Tide Rolls to the Top
The Alabama SI Cover Tournament returns with a doozy of a second-round matchup.
And yes, we actually do mean doozy.
The commemorative of the 2011 national championship, with a smiling Trent Richardson holding the crystal football on the cover, barely survived the first round, edging out Kenny Stabler "The Snake is Back" on a tiebreaker after the initial voting was an even 50-50.
The reward? Facing off against another former Crimson Tide player from the Mobile area, Julio Jones on "The Best Issue" cover.
BamaCentral is holding a 48-field single-elimination tournament to determine the best Alabama Sports Illustrated cover.
Nick Saban Regional
Game 18: The Legend of Julio Jones vs. The Tide Rolls To The Top
The Best Issue: The Legend of Julio Jones
Story headline: Comically Good
Subhead: Having performed mind-bending athletic feats practically since birth, Falcons receiver Julio Jones has become a legend in his own time. Do you believe in superheroes?
Excerpt (by Ben Baskin): There's a story I need to tell you, but you're probably not going to believe it. It begins in September 1901, when John Burton Foley journeyed from the Midwest to Washington, D.C., to attend the funeral of President William McKinley. During those travels a man approached Foley and spoke of an uninhabited land just a few miles from the Gulf of Mexico. Eventually Foley purchased some 50,000 of those acres, harboring visions of the next grand metropolis. But his dream never came to pass. Today, that land in South Baldwin County, Ala., consists mainly of large swaths of farmland dotted with modest residences. Horses and goats graze. Signs with images of tractors and the message share the road line dirt paths.
Foley never would have imagined that long after he bought those 31 square miles, a child with long arms and long legs and big ears would be born there, a child who would later be compared to a beast, a monster, an alien, a legend, a superhero. That out of this dust bowl of obscurity, a man would rise whose life seemed more myth than reality. So if I were to tell you the story of that boy from Foley, and if you closed your eyes, it might feel as if his tale were playing out on black-and-white 8mm film, flickering across a projector screen at 16 frames per second. The tales would seem tall, the details implausible. But after you hear so many witnesses recount so many fantastical stories, you just might find yourself convinced that his legend was true all along.
BCS Commemorative Issue (2011 Season)
Story headline: Total control
Subhead: With its suffocating defense and surprisingly strong passing game, the Crimson Tide mastered LSU, leaving no doubt about who was No. 1
Excerpt (by Austin Murphy): Tony McCarron was asleep in his dorm room at Station No. 11 in Mobile when his phone went off around midnight on Nov. 7. It wasn't an emergency. It was an epiphany. McCarron is a fireman; his eldest son, AJ, is the starting quarterback at Alabama. AJ was calling a little more than 24 hours after the Tide's 9-6 overtime loss to LSU. "I could tell he was shook-up," recalls Tony. While AJ's numbers in that game were decent—he completed 16 of 28 passes for 199 yards, with an interception—he was quick to don a hair shirt after the game, beating himself up for playing with excessive caution. The moment had called for a daredevil, and he'd channeled his inner actuary.
"He felt as if he'd let his teammates down," Tony recalls, "and he was torn up about it." AJ made this vow to his old man: "Daddy, I will never play another game where I allow the other team to dictate how I play. I was so worried about losing the game for my team, I didn't go out and win it."
True to his word, and to the surprise and delight of an Alabama fan base that had seldom, if ever, seen such a virtuoso performance by a quarterback in a national championship game, the redshirt sophomore flat out shredded LSU's defense in their BCS title match in New Orleans on Monday night. The only thing more remarkable than McCarron's line in 'Bama's methodical 21-0 dismantling of the top-ranked Tigers—he completed 23 of 34 passes for 234 yards—was the fact that, finally, after seven-plus quarters of play this season, one of these teams finally carried the football into that rectangle known as the end zone.
The Legend of Julio Jones def. The Tide Rolls To The Top, 57.4-42.4 percent