Bear Bryant Predicted Playoffs For College Football



Alabama football coach Paul “Bear” Bryant always had an eye on college football’s future. An old newspaper clipping provides even more proof of that fact.

Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban has expressed support of a college football playoff, giving credibility to the argument that one is necessary. Saban has stated that “self-gratification” for the players is among the reasons to switch to a four-team playoff.

His predecessor at Alabama was more practical in his public pronouncements – to Bryant, it was about the money.

An old press clipping we noted yesterday from a January 1980 edition of the Kingman, Arizona Daily Miner, discussed Bryant’s assertion that a college football playoff was a foregone conclusion.

“We’ll go to it someday because we’ll run out of money,” Bryant said of a playoff.

“It costs so much now to put on a football game with fuel and energy so high,” he continued, in words that could have been spoken verbatim of today’s economy.

Bryant felt the exposure a playoff would create for college football would generate money that would help it compete with the NFL, which he saw as competition.

“They’d be coming to our house once in a while instead of to the Super Bowl,” he said. “But someday it will come down to money, and when it does, we’ll win over the academic people.”

Those that are concerned about academics may still not be convinced, however. And some of us argue a playoff is a slippery slope to a meaningless regular season. But for good or ill, a playoff is on the way in part because of the revenue it will generate.

So it appears that Coach Bryant was – as always – a step ahead of everyone.

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