Alabama Football: Why we needed the Kick Six

(Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
(Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /

This is probably not going to be a popular opinion, but when Alabama football went down to Jordan-Hare and was shocked by a near-improbable play that immediately went down in the annals of sports history, a chain of events was set in motion that led us to this moment.

It was a blessing, you know. The Alabama football team lost a truly memorable Iron Bowl in 2013 when Auburn defensive back Chris Davis took an errant Adam Griffith field goal 109 yards to paydirt with just one second left on the clock.

Tide fans try to forget it. I know I do. ESPN makes it a personal mission to play it at least 15 times every year prior to the game. It’s hard not to be affected when they interrupt programming to show it. However, just two days ago I realized that it doesn’t matter. It didn’t matter then (Auburn won the conference, but lost the national title) and it certainly doesn’t matter now.

Auburn can’t keep from tripping over themselves even when they do beat us (you couldn’t quite beat UCF, could you?) and we still somehow end up in the Playoff. And therein lies my point. Let’s take a look at exactly what has happened since November 30, 2013.

Nick Saban was given a major contract extension

It felt like the Auburn and Sugar Bowl losses to end the season, combined with Saban’s flirtations with the soon-to-be Texas opening would be the death knell to a dynastic era of college football which included three national titles, two SEC championships and the school’s first Heisman Trophy.

Saban’s agent Jimmy Sexton worked Alabama football’s athletic department real good, though, and the university ponied up a $7 million-a-year contract. Despite the poor end to what began as an 11-0 season, then-AD Bill Battle and the university board of regents were not going to let the best coach in the country slip through their fingers. The Kick Six was a kick starter.

Recruiting became that much more important

Remember when Rashaan Evans’ younger brother captured a brief video of Nick Saban doing the electric slide during Rashaan’s official visit to Tuscaloosa?

Remember when the Auburn native Evans spurned his hometown university to sign with the Tide in February of 2014? Remember when that guy became a first-round pick in this year’s draft?

Evans, along with fellow 2014 class member Shaun Dion Hamilton, became the new norm of “quick twitch” middle linebackers Saban was recruiting to counter the hurry-up, no-huddle offenses that Gus Malzahn and Hugh Freeze brought to the SEC.

Just three months removed from the Kick Six and Saban’s contract extension, Alabama football signed the #1 recruiting class in the country which included Evans, Hamilton, Da’Shawn Hand, Bo Scarbrough, Marlon Humphrey, Tony Brown, Cam Robinson, Christian Miller, Ross Pierschbacher and JK Scott.

Up until the 2018 recruiting class, Alabama football remained perched at the top every year since the 2013 Iron Bowl. Motivation can be a helluva thing, especially when the motivated is Nick Saban.


It started with some consulting at the end of 2013 and ended with former USC head coach Lane Kiffin being named Alabama football’s latest offensive coordinator when Doug Nussmeier left to take the same position at Michigan.

What resulted was a banner year of offense in 2014 for a team that needed the boost due to an unusually sieve-like defense. With Kiffin on the sidelines calling the plays, that squad put up 484 yards and 37 points per game. Quarterback Blake Sims finished as the Alabama football single-season record holder for most passing yards. Amari Cooper became the school’s first Biletnikoff Award winner for top receiver in the country. And, most importantly, the Tide got its revenge in the Iron Bowl, dropping a much-needed 55 points against the Tigers.

Nick Saban hired Lane Kiffin as his OC and, along with some defensive adaptation, Alabama won a national title, three straight conference championships and the school’s second Heisman Trophy.

And lest we forget that Lane was the one who visited a Samoan quarterback in Honolulu named Tua.

Post hoc ergo propter hoc

For five years, I’ve let one play define this rivalry for me.

Honestly, silliness is what defines most of Auburn’s victories over Alabama. “Punt, Bama, Punt,” “Bo over the Top,” “The Cam Comeback,” “The Kick Six.” Save for “The Kick” in 1985, Alabama has been relegated to ass-whoopin-albeit-less-iconic wins in the series.

Let the constant reminders from the trolls be a reminder to them that they’re consistently miserable today because of “The Kick Six”. Nick Saban always says that he hates losing more than he enjoys winning and there’s nothing like a last-second loss to bring about the second wave of a dynasty that includes four straight Playoff appearances, three straight national title game appearances, two national titles and a 64-5 record.

Next. Four reasons to not worry about the Aubies. dark

How many times is it that Auburn’s been to the College Football Playoff? What’s their record this year? Thank the Kick Six.