There’s something unparalleled about the pageantry of college football. When I learned that Alabama would be facing Notre Dame for the National Championship and it was being played only a couple of hours away from where I was for the winter, I decided that I’d have to take in the festivities. Being a cultural documentary photographer the norm is to turn our cameras outwards, to document cultures far different from our own. This time I was to document the culture as an insider. In the interest of full disclosure I was raised on the Alabama Crimson Tide.
The first stop was to hear Coach Nick Saban speak at a bowl preview show at the Fountainebleau Hotel. Coach Saban answered questions from fans and appeared relaxed, yet focused as ever. When one fan’s question related to the talk swirling around about the coach possibly returning to coach in the pro’s, he indicated that there was nothing for them to worry about. It appears he’s at Alabama to stay.
The tailgating before the game is always lively. Both team’s fans are full of optimism and expect their boys to win. The Notre Dame fans seemed to far outnumber those wearing crimson and white, the colors of the Alabama team. Notre Dame had last won a national championship in 1988 and were expecting to knock off Alabama and return to glory. It was rumored that they’d brought over 600,000 fans to Miami. It sure seemed like it. Alabama, the winner of 2 of the past 3 national championships was hoping for an historic evening. A win would catapult them into the status of a dynasty as they’d own the national title in 3 of the past 4 years, something Notre Dame did in the 1940’s and Nebraska did in the 1990’s, but no team since. Win they did. From the first hand-off to running back Eddie Lacy the tone was set and Alabama was to smash Notre Dame in a most dominating fashion. For those who wear crimson it was a thing of absolute beauty. Alabama’s storied history has written a modern day chapter that few could have envisioned. It seems destined to grow.
This blog will take a look at the pre-game festivities and the tailgating that occurred throughout the game in the parking lot of Miami Garden’s Sun Life Stadium. I hope you’ll enjoy it, and Roll Tide! Alabama beat Notre Dame 42-14.
Thanks for dropping by, over the next few weeks we’ll take a look at those exotic foreign cultures again. I was thankful this week to get to appreciate my own.Follow @nomadruss
Thanks, mano….I could feel the sun and smell the BBQ.
Great shots Russ. That was really fun! Wish I had seen you at the hotel, we were staying two hotels north! You picked a good place to spend the winter!
Wasn’t that a great game! Sorry to have missed you…
These are great, and I am usually one to avoid football games at all costs, but your pictures made it look fun. 🙂 Glad your team won! The bagpipers, though, are WAY cool. Were they good?
They were quite good, although my discernment of good bagpipers may not be stellar…
Russ, like I already said wish I had seen you but you captured all the images. Awesome!
Love the story in pictures. Probably the only time I’ll cheer for Alabama, but I did enjoy watching them win! Thanks for documenting the experience. Nice job!
Thanks for the kind words and for pulling for the Crimson Tide this time! (It could have easily been the boys from Georgia, we know that)
Great photos. Looks like a fantastic time. Here in Europe we don’t really do tailgating at sporting events….never understood why not!
And you are so right about forgetting things, be they places, events or culture, closer to home….we all do it.
Tailgating is the best, I can’t imagine the World Cup without it.
To make it even worse tailgating here as a whole different meaning!
oh. better be careful, one of the cultural little oddities.
Love the “dapper” photo! Looks like a blast.
It was a fun pre-game for everyone!
Such an unbiased and straightforward photojournalistic account. Well, at least the mighty Bama has to admit that their almost perfect season will be forever marred by a loss to a Texas team playing their first year in the conference.
Live the pic with the blue light and the girls by the bar!
Thanks, it’s a fine hotel…