The Sports Illustrated Vault feature on SI’s website is an Internet gem. Any article from the magazine since its first print year, 1954, is available in the Vault.
ON THIS DAY: DEC. 10th, 1979
The Bad-Neighbor Policy
Douglas S. Looney
Looney recaps Alabama’s 25-18 victory over Auburn the week before. On its way to another national championship, The Tide struggled to put away the stubborn Tigers until late.
An Alabama official says, ‘All you need to understand is that if you want to be a lawyer or a doctor, you go to Alabama. If you want to be a farmer or a county agent, you go to Auburn.’ Which is, of course, unfair.
A sign in Tuscaloosa last week said, AUBURN SHUCKS. When Fob James, a former Auburn running back who is now governor, announced his intention to improve education in the state, calling it a War on Illiteracy, it inspired one of those snooty Tuscaloosa types to sneer, ‘The war was canceled because Auburn surrendered.’
ON THIS DAY: DEC. 10th, 1962
A Modest All-America Who Sits on the Highest Bench
In the spring of ’62, President John F. Kennedy appointed his first Supreme Court Justice.
His choice was a 44-year-old deputy-attorney general most of the nation only recognized in a football uniform. Byron “Whizzer” White, a standout at Colorado and all-pro back in Pittsburgh and Detroit, would serve on the country’s highest bench for 31 years until he was replaced by Ruth Bader Ginsburg in 1993.
He’s remembered for his elusiveness on the football field as well as for his harsh criticism of the Court’s “substantive due process” doctrine.
White was one of only two Justices to dissent in the landmark decision of Roe v. Wade, and White’s icy opinion lashed out against the majority’s “exercise in raw judicial power.”
Letters to SI
Some American Ways are the same, no matter the decade. In this issue, the magazine publishes several letters from readers. Three of them are from ‘Bama fans, who are disgruntled that a previous issue’s article on the Alabama-Georgia Tech game, which Tech won, 7-6, wrongly accused UA head coach Bear Bryant of teaching his players to play dirty.
One of the letters is from a GT fan, who is disgruntled because the article focused more on Bryant than the actual game.
Sounds exactly like the tune today: ‘Bama fans hollerin’ that the national media is hard on their school…while other fans are whining that the national media is in love with The University of Alabama and its coach.
Your article is not only an insult to Alabama and Bryant but to college football as such. It is pertinent, I think, that you realize this game is not ring-around-the-rosy. Football is a man’s game; it was before Paul Bryant began coaching, and it will still be after he has gone. The only difference between Bryant and other coaches is that he wins more games.
A. C. BUCKNER
After anxiously waiting for it, I was indeed disappointed in your coverage of the Tech-Alabama game. I did expect a slightly prejudiced viewpoint, but I was disgusted that such a story would be only a tribute to Coach Bryant.
From your article one would conclude that Alabama lost because the team played a clean game. (Perhaps such a change did contribute slightly to Alabama’s difficulties.) One would further conclude that the Tide’s loss was due to ‘bad breaks’ and ‘gambles.’ These two assumptions merely underlie the real reason: Georgia Tech rightfully won the game through inspiration, effort and spirit unprecedented in Tech’s recent football history.
To Tech fans the game was a battle of principles. And Georgia Tech deserved the victory—regardless of the national standing of the teams involved.