And Away to the NFL They Will Go
Howdy Y’all! While our current players are enjoying a much needed break after an intense spring practice and game, let’s talk about what else has been going on with those Bama boys we cheered on last year.
As always, there are guys that go on to the NFL each year and this year was no different but BOY was it exciting! Overall, nine Alabama players were taken in the 2013 NFL Draft. I watched as one by one they were picked and their families hugged them. It was truly a beautiful sight.
I will say the one thing that surprised me a bit was that Eddie Lacy didn’t go in the first round. Currently the NFL draft has seven rounds. Three other players, Dee Milliner, Chance Warmack and DJ Fluker all went in the first round. So I just kept waiting for them to call Lacy and they didn’t. I was shocked actually. The next day even my Dad (my Alabama football confidant) even mentioned to me that he was surprised and I said ‘I was thinking the same thing!’ He replied that he believes he will surprise some folks.
Now here is where it gets interesting:
A few months back when I was working in the Sports Illustrated main office in New York City, I had another very interesting conversation about Lacy. I was working in the photography department as you guys know and I was the resident “Bama” expert. Not so surprisingly, they are very ‘Pro’ sports orientated and not so much at the college level with things around there. My director let me know that we were going to do “yet another Bama cover…<followed by an eye roll and a sigh>” for Christmas. HATERS! Needless to say he was bummed but I was PUMPED! So he was like “let’s go to my office and you can help me pick it”
Probably one of the most exciting aspect of my job while I was there was that I helped pick the Alabama covers. So in to his office I skipped happily, shoulder surfing through Alabama pictures. I told him straight up that we needed something different. I said I love AJ but he’s been on all the Alabama covers for the last 2 years, we need to go with someone else this time, especially since this is a special Christmas time cover. He, the man who considers himself a Sports God (no I am not exaggerating) said “well who then?” I was dumbfounded. I said “where would you like me to start? There are so many guys on that team that are skilled, great at what they do! The offensive line is a MONSTER, the running backs are AMAZING.” Then it dawned on me what I had been writing about all season; Lacy, and his signature spin move. I said “It’s gotta be the O line or Lacy. No question.” He said he wanted a celebration picture because we were going to title it the cover ‘Yule Tide’ I said great! So we settled on a few pictures to show the Editors. There was one of Steen holding up Yeldon in the end zone and one of Arie Kouandjio holding up Lacy. I was very pleased with this selection, both were offensive lineman holding up our running backs. There were a few other pictures thrown in for good measure, but I really had my heart set on those two. When doing the color show (showing the pictures to the Editors so they can pick the ones they like) they said “who are these guys?” I told them who they were, why they were great and why they should be on the cover. Ultimately, it was Lacy and my explanation of his signature spin move that was plowing up the fields every game that got their attention. We agreed that Yeldon was young and would probably be the one to step up in the future. So the Yule Tide cover with Lacy smiling bright was conceived. I was very proud.
And what happened just a short while later? The Alabama Crimson Tide went on to beat Notre Dame for the National Championship. This time I did not have to argue to get Eddie on the cover, it was a given. The Tide literally rolled over Notre Dame like a tsunami in spring time. I sat back in my chair in the SI office and watched every minute of it, editing pictures as I went. When the Director of Photography yelled at me, I went running in his office and he said “what do you think?” On his screen, there was a picture of Lacy, his foot raised like he was about to STOMP on a Notre Dame guy. He said “I love it!” With a big smile I said “there’s your next cover”.
So you see, I think sometimes people underestimate. I think this is the case with Lacy in the NFL and I have a feeling that will be the case with this year’s new offensive line. I’ve read a bunch of smack talk about it and I am ready to see if they can prove me right and the naysayers wrong.
Yule Tide Y’all!