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Poll: Worst Heartbreak In Alabama Football History


We’ve all been there. It’s that moment when you think you might cry, throw something or beat up the first person you see on the streets. Sometimes, the relentless, nagging moments of football devastation can last longer and garner more emotion than the moments filled with glory.

What Alabama football moments left you sick to your stomach, depressed for weeks or brought an actual tear to your eye? I have a few I can think may make good candidates.

2005  The Prothro Injury

Tyrone Prothro was born a mere nine days after me, in 1984. We went to Alabama at the same time. I didn’t know him but like thousands of fans, I felt like I did on October 1, 2005. Prior to that day, Prothro was known for his famous moment when he made The Catch behind the head of a Southern Mississippi player. When Alabama played Florida in October of 2005, Prothro was on the field when arguably, he should have been sitting out because of Alabama’s big lead over the Gators. He broke both his tibia and fibula in the most excruciatingly painful-looking play I’ve ever seen. It not only ended his junior season but after many surgeries, it ended his football career. Prothro was an outstanding player and I’ve never been more sad to see someone rolled off of the field.

2010 Iron Bowl

The more recent devastation was the 2010 loss to Auburn. Never have I had more fun at a football game than I did in the first half of the 2010 Iron Bowl. It looked as though Alabama would crush Auburn’s chances at a National Championship as they went up 24-0. Cam Newton wasn’t having it, though. Alabama looked as if they thought the game had ended at the end of the second quarter, and Auburn came from behind to win. I was angry, disgusted and the next day, I did the thing all football fans do; I refused I wouldn’t look at the paper and it’s giant-print headline with the final score.

November 27, 1982 – January 26, 1983

I realize that this sort of breaks the rules of heartbreaking “moments,” but this time period was one of the toughest times for Alabama. Bo Jackson led his Auburn team to beat Alabama 23-22 in a game dubbed, “Bo Over the Top,” in the 1982 Iron Bowl. This was the last Iron Bowl “Bear” Bryant would coach because he retired after this season. It only got worse for Bama fans when the legendary coach died only a couple months later in January of 1983.

2003  Five Overtime Loss To The Vols

One of the most hostile rivalries in college football is the one between Alabama and Tennessee. The late 1990s were not good for the Tide against the Vols.  Alabama lost from 1995-2001 and in 2002 they were able to break that streak, beating Tennessee 34-14. In 2003, however, Tennessee beat Alabama in a nauseating, gut wrenching five overtimes. The 51-43 loss was the highest-scoring game in the history of the rivalry, and certainly one of the hardest games I’ve ever watched.

1972  Iron Bowl

Because of my age, I had to consult outside sources (my Dad and friends) to see what memories burned in their minds. I know there are now three Iron Bowls on the list, but considering the history of the game, I’m not surprised.  The 1972 Iron Bowl, now known as “Punt Bama Punt,” was a nail-biter from the beginning of the fourth quarter until the clock ran out, and it ended up in Auburn’s favor. Alabama led Auburn 16-0 with ten minutes left in the game. Auburn managed a field goal to make it 16-3. Auburn fans weren’t happy at first with the decision to settle on a field goal. Alabama didn’t score and had to punt, and Auburn’s Bill Newton blocked the punt. David Langner ran the ball back 25 yards to score a touchdown, making it 16-10. After not scoring, Alabama was again forced to punt and for a second time, Newton blocked it and Langner ran it back for a touchdown. Auburn got the extra kick and won the game, 17-16.


My memories only go back so far. After asking several people and remembering some of my own, there are many more examples that could be chosen: the 1991 loss to Louisville in the Fiesta Bowl; the 2005 Iron Bowl in which Brodie Croyle was sacked eleven times, spawning the “Honk if You Sacked Brodie” bumper sticker;  the 2000 Homecoming loss to Central Florida; the 2010 regular season loss to South Carolina; the 2006 loss to Arkansas 24-23 after Leigh Tiffin missed three field goals, and countless others.

Which is the worst Tide moment in your memory? If it’s not listed above, let us know in the comments.

Follow Heather on Twitter and Facebook.


What's the worst moment in Alabama football history?

  • Other (give your answer in the comments section) (10%, 5 Votes)
  • Punt Bama Punt (6%, 3 Votes)
  • 5-Overtime Loss to Tennessee (4%, 2 Votes)
  • Bear Bryant's Retirement/Passing (16%, 8 Votes)
  • Cam Newton Wins the Iron Bowl (55%, 28 Votes)
  • Tyrone Prothro Injury (9%, 5 Votes)

Total Voters: 51

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