Our champion will be crowned this week, and we need your help in determining the greatest Alabama Crimson Tide football player of all time. Two legends are paired up today; one from the crimson days of yore, and another from the not-so-distant past.
Saban Division – Running Backs vs. Linebackers
Derrick Thomas (1985-1988)
6’ 3’’ 255 lbs
Linebacker – Miami, Florida
Career Statistics: 52 Sacks, 74 Tackles for loss
Derrick Thomas is generally considered to be the finest defensive player in the history of Alabama football. He holds numerous Alabama defensive records, including one which will perhaps never be broken. Thomas recorded an astounding 52 sacks in his entire career playing at the Capstone. No other Crimson Tide player has ever come close.
He also holds Alabama records for sacks in a season (27), blocked kicks in a game (2), and in his career (5), sacks in a game (5), tackles for loss in a game (7), in a season (39), and in a career (74), quarterback hurries in a game (9), and in a season (44), forced fumbles in a season (7), and in a career (10). He won the Butkus Award in 1988 as the nation’s top linebacker and finished 10th in the Heisman voting.
Derrick was a unanimous All-America selection in 1988. He was drafted fourth overall in the 1989 NFL Draft by the Kansas City Chiefs, where he won Defensive Rookie of the Year honors. His career and life were tragically cut short after a car accident on February 8, 2000. He is a member of the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame and the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Simply put, Derrick Thomas is the benchmark of defensive excellence at Alabama, and his impact on the university and the game of football is second to none.
Lee Roy Jordan (1960-1962)
Linebacker – Excel, AL.
Lee Roy Jordan was considered one of the best middle linebackers in Alabama history. He was a two-way player for the Tide, as he also played center. He finished 4th in the Heisman Trophy voting in 1962, and was selected to the All-America Team twice in his college career. Jordan was inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in 1980.
Jordan was named the MVP of the BlueBonnet bowl after a 3-3 tie against the Longhorns of Texas. His second bowl game MVP came against Oklahoma in the 1963 Orange Bowl, where he had an astounding 31 tackles. He garnered much praise from Paul “Bear” Bryant, and he was quoted as saying, “He was one of the finest football players the world has ever seen.”
Jordan was named the Player of the Decade for the 1960’s, and was eventually inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1983. Lee Roy was selected in the first round of the 1963 NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys, where he played for 14 years and was a Pro Bowler five times. Lee Roy Jordan remains one of the great impact players of the golden age of Crimson Tide football.
Which player advances to the next round?
- Lee Roy Jordan (30%, 32 Votes)
- Derrick Thomas (70%, 74 Votes)
Total Voters: 106