Alabama football lost a brilliant offensive mind in Lane Kiffin, but the Crimson Tide also lost the mythical Joey Freshwater.
In our day of the omnipotent social media eye, it’s hard for mythical legends to gain traction. Back in the day, Joe Namath was rumored to gallivant about town in fur coats, tearing up watering hole after watering hole. If he was around, you just simply didn’t leave your date’s side. Guys like Michael Irvin and Lawrence Taylor had monstrous reputations off the field. The mythology of John Madden’s Oakland Raiders still looms over the franchise today.
But, you didn’t see the antics. Nowadays, we see Rob Gronkowski chugging beers shirtless, hanging out with adult film stars. The New York Giants were recently in the news for a boat party in Miami the week before a playoff game. Bottom line: thanks to the Twitters and Instagrams of the world, there’s much less room for legends to grow.
That’s where the appreciation of Joey Freshwater arises.
It’s been over a year since we first heard rumblings of a man eerily resembling Lane Kiffin chasing young ladies and slinging Vegas Bombs in a Tuscaloosa bar. It’s the closest we’ve come to linking Joey Freshwater to Kiffin. Otherwise, the man operates in the shadows, as somewhat of an alter-ego to the former Alabama offensive coordinator.
Rumors from Knoxville have persisted that Kiffin, during his Vol stint, had an apartment designated for recreational use. According to the rumors, Layla Kiffin was unaware of the apartment. This was long before the emergence of Freshwater.
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Tuscaloosa rumors are much the same: creating a fake Tinder profile; having a relationship with a coed, and much more if you’re willing to scour Reddit. The most recent rumor being that Kiffin’s exit was encouraged by an exasperated Miss Terry.
Are the rumors true? Is it all just fantasy? It doesn’t matter. What matters is that it’s just believable enough for people to run with it. Why? People love gossip. Have you logged on to Facebook lately?
So, we have this grand mythos of Joey Freshwater. No one has confirmed anything, and that’s okay. We all sit around our televisions, cracking jokes about Coach Freshwater leaving T-Town to chase coeds in Boca Raton. People are swapping rumors at tailgates. It’s part of the fun of football, and now, that fun has skipped town for Florida.
I won’t pretend to know Kiffin. He certainly has a reputation for being a brash, cocky guy. At Tennessee, he fired off shots at Nick Saban and Urban Meyer alike. Then, he left like a thief in the night for California and the head gig at USC. I’m in no position to say that he’s a bad guy. I’ve never met him…but it’s worth pointing out that wherever he goes, things don’t seem to end well.
People just don’t seem to like him. That reputation only feeds into the Joey Freshwater mythology. Me? I find the guy fascinating. Here’s a man whose coaching trajectory reads in reverse (starting at the Oakland Raiders; currently residing at Florida Atlantic), and away from the game, he is just an absolute electric nightmare – always teetering on the edge of a PR disaster.
I should tip my cap to a guy who can be so seemingly unpredictable, yet still find steady work. Finally, I’d like to propose: could this be like The Prestige? Could there be twins out there named Lane and Joey – but Joey is the mischievous one who uses his status to woo women? Who knows?
I certainly don’t condone adultery and general debauchery (okay, maybe just a little bit of debauchery), but I must give credit where credit is due. Joey Freshwater has brought back the mythical aspect of football.