For those who love Alabama — both the university and the state — Monday night was pure pleasure.
When Alabama decides to do something, it does it. It finds the resources, attracts the most determined leaders and assembles the best possible team.
There’s Eddie Lacy, whose humility on the sidelines comes as such a surprise after watching him hurl tacklers to the ground on the field. And AJ McCarron, a bizarre package of skill and intelligence, grit and emotion. There’s T.J. Yeldon, one of the best running backs in the nation, but proud to play behind Lacy.
Naming any player seems unfair, because most of all it is a team. Amari Cooper and Barrett Jones and Dee Milliner and Kevin Norwood and the list goes on. Each player gives everything he has to the common goal of victory.
And of course there is perfectionist Nick Saban, one of the best coaches in the history of the game. He is brilliant at spotting potential, as the superb talent on his teams makes clear. Saban has the job because the university saw his potential.
He’ll make more than $5 million in salary and bonuses this year, a testament to Alabama’s determination to spend what it takes to be the best.
Saban’s single-minded focus has brought his teams national titles in three of the last four years. Auburn University got the title the University of Alabama missed. When it comes to football, the nation acknowledges Alabama as the best of the best.
On Monday night, the nation saw what Alabama can do when it puts its mind and resources to the task. If it decides to be No. 1, it usually is.
What would happen if the state put the same energy and determination into challenges off the field? What if Alabama assembled similarly determined teams to tackle off-the-field issues in which Alabama is closer to No. 50 than No. 1?
What if it committed the resources and unity and energy necessary for repeat national championships to such issues as infant mortality or poverty or education funding?
Monday night was a sports victory, a splendid showcase of Alabama talent. It also was a reminder that Alabama can accomplish anything.