The state of Alabama has become the state of football supremacy. Alabama has won three of the last four national championships and the one the Tide didn’t win, Auburn did. As if folks in Alabama needed any more reasons to love their college football.
Alabama put a merciless whoopin’ on Notre Dame in the BCS National Championship Game Monday night. The only thing the Irish won was the tailgate party outside the stadium. Inside, it was all Bama all the time. Now the Irish fans did throw down out in the parking lot. I mean, those folks know how to party. Bammers, take notes.
What happened on the football field was different. Alabama did exactly what I thought they would do in dominating the Irish. I heard pundits all month talking about the vaunted Notre Dame defense and I was not impressed. They talked about their front seven and I was not impressed. They talked about the emerging young quarterback and the dominating linebacker and I was not impressed.
I felt like every Southeastern Conference team has an impressive front seven, I mean, if you don’t count Kentucky! Sorry guys, y’all have the round ball to dominate with. Alabama didn’t score less than 30 points in any game this season except against a truly dominant LSU defense and against Texas A&M, a game where Bama slept through the first quarter and then outscored A&M 24-9 during the final three quarters. Everyone else, including Georgia who had far more athletic defenders than Notre Dame, got steamrolled by the Tide. I have no idea what folks were looking at when they thought this game would be close.
Now, on to the important stuff, the photography. I actually had a really nice action game. Then there was the abysmal post game. Oh my, I could not have stunk more. It seems that no matter what approach I take to covering the post game, I take the wrong approach. Literally, I managed to get two photos of significant players who were not on stage. I intentionally shot from across the field to the Alabama bench to make sure I had the shot of the Gatorade dunk and missed that when a player got between me and the dunk.
Then, when the celebration began, I couldn’t find a single player that played and I mean not a single one. I am in a sea of Alabama players and I can’t find anyone who played a role. Finally, I found a local guy who probably only played on special teams doing a little dance. Couldn’t find AJ McCarron. Couldn’t find Eddie Lacy or TJ Yeldon. Couldn’t find Amari Cooper. Had Lacy not been on stage as the offensive MVP, I doubt I would have ever seen him.
Talk about frustrating! Then, with the game being a blowout, there was not much emotion anyway and when you deal with Alabama they are basically flat liners on the emotion scale and then you have every local TV station on the planet grabbing players and stopping their legit jubilation so they can get an interview. That about makes me want to cuss. One of these days I am going to shoot a post game and feel I did a good job. This wasn’t one of those days.
I felt I had a really nice set of action photos. I was very, very pleased with the game action. I don’t think I could have hoped for more. Wait, there was one shot I could have hoped for, no, two. I would love to have had a shot of Eddie Lacy throwing that poor Notre Dame defender down with one hand. I saw it happen and it was one of those moments that was just pure highlight reel stuff. I was on the opposite end of the field and didn’t have a clear view. The other action image I wish I had is on the front page of USA Today. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix made an acrobatic interception down near the goal line and the photo is sweet. I saw that one too, from the work room, on TV, while I was in editing moving pictures! Ahhhhhhhh.
Otherwise, I felt good about what I submitted. By the way, big game like this one, you may wonder how many photos I sent. Last night, on deadline, I moved 62 or 66, not sure which, from the game action and post game celebration. Forty of those were moved by the end of halftime. I came back Tuesday and did a supplemental edit and moved another big batch of images bringing the total of game day images moved to over 150. All those had to be posted in photo galleries as well.
I think we made it to bed between 3:30 and 4 am. We were up at 8:30 am to go back to the trophy presentation press conference. And I didn’t get to sit on the beach, at all. It has been 80 degrees down here and, aside from working where the beach happened to play a roll, I think I had no more than a few minutes of beach time and I was wearing long pants so I couldn’t even get the full effect of sea and sand. I know, poor me.
Everyone seems to think this is kind of a working vacation. Keep the working part and delete the vacation part and you pretty much have it. Today, the “off day,” with nothing to cover but the Saban press conference, I finished working about 5:30. Yeah, vacation. I actually did plan to sit on the beach a little bit today but work got in the way.
Now it is time to go back home to north Alabama and freeze with everyone else. I guess I now understand the whole snowbird mentality. In fact, with my photojournalist income, I figure it is about time to buy a condo down here in south Florida for a winter home. If you are not laughing right now then you clearly don’t know what photojournalists make!
The slideshow below features some of my favorite images from the week. Hope y’all enjoy.