Alabama vs. Notre Dame 2013 – Tailgating

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.

We didn't know it at the time, but Saban's Alabama team would finish the season #1

We didn’t know it at the time, but Saban’s Alabama team would finish the season #1

Coach Saban spent some time signing autographs for fans

Coach Saban spent some time signing autographs for fans

Coach Nick Saban appears relaxed leading into the game

Coach Nick Saban appeared relaxed leading into the game

The event took place at the Fountainebleau Hotel

The event took place at the Fountainebleau Hotel, where wearing really high heels is apparently elegantly and stylishly fashionable

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.

The Notre Dame fans came out in huge numbers

The Notre Dame fans came out in huge numbers

Notre Dame fans will have to be content with looking back on the glories of previous decades

Notre Dame fans will have to be content with looking back on the glories of previous decades

A Bama fan's boots do some talking

A Bama fan’s boots do some talking

A freshly painted stencil

A freshly painted stencil

The color green was ubiquitous

The color green was out in abundance

The night was certainly apocalyptic for Notre Dame fans

The night was certainly apocalyptic for Notre Dame fans, the shirt makes reference to the famous Four Horsemen of Notre Dame

A tide fan sports elephant ear rings

A Tide fan sports elephant ear rings

Notre Dame entered the game ranked #1

Notre Dame entered the game ranked #1

The fan probably understand differently about halfway into the first quarter of play

This fan probably understand differently about halfway into the first quarter of play

Apparently Santa hung around long enough to take in the game before heading back to the North Pole

Apparently Santa hung around long enough to take in the game before heading back to the North Pole

Crimson Tide fans

Crimson Tide fans

Leprechaun's were ubiquitous

Leprechaun’s were ubiquitous

Golden leggings for the Golden Domers

Golden leggings for the Golden Domers

Another leprechaun takes on the fighting Irish pose

Another leprechaun takes on the fighting Irish pose

An Alabama fan in houndstooth

An Alabama fan in houndstooth

The Bama band came marching through

The Bama band came marching through

And when you turned around there was yet another leprechaun

And when you turned around there was yet another leprechaun

The Bama band heads towards a pep rally

The Bama band heads towards a pep rally

Clearly from Notre Dame

Clearly from Notre Dame

Just as clearly from Alabama

Just as clearly from Alabama

Notre Dame fans were buying every available ticket

Notre Dame fans were buying every available ticket

And some wore fur, it is winter in South Florida

Bama girls

Dapper

Dapper

Seeing the bagpipe players come out was a real treat

Seeing the bagpipe players come out was a real treat, the Notre Dame faithful loved it

Alabama's athletic director Mal Moore arrives at the stadium. His hiring of Saban to coach Alabama was a thing of brilliance

Alabama’s athletic director Mal Moore arrives at the stadium. His hiring of Saban to coach Alabama was an act of brilliance

Alabama

Alabama

A Tide fan streaks through the Notre Dame band

A Tide fan streaks through the Notre Dame band

Is a caption really necessary?

Is a caption really necessary?

When Lee Corso picked Notre Dame to win, it portended good things for Alabama

When Lee Corso picked Notre Dame to win, it portended good things for Alabama

Those who couldn't afford the $900-$1750 ticket watched from the stadium parking lot

Those who couldn’t afford the $900-$1750 ticket watched from the stadium parking lot

There were enough fireworks from Alabama in the first half to put the game out of reach. It was 28-0 at the half

There were enough fireworks from Alabama in the first half to put the game out of reach. It was 28-0 at the half

Bama fans continued to party in the 3rd quarter

Bama fans continued to party in the 3rd quarter

By the 4th quarter it had turned to dancing

By the 4th quarter it had turned to dancing

Most Notre Dame fans didn't want their photos made after the game, but these folks were still having fun, perhaps because they hadn't spent $1000

Most Notre Dame fans didn’t want their photos made after the game, but these folks were still having fun, perhaps because they hadn’t spent $1000 to watch their team be decimated

By the time the night was over Alabama was holding another crystal football. You get the feeling it won't be Alabama and Saban's last

By the time the night was over Alabama was holding another crystal football. You get the feeling it won’t be Alabama and Saban’s last. Roll Tide!

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.

19 thoughts on “Alabama vs. Notre Dame 2013 – Tailgating

  1. 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!

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

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