Alabama Football: The best and worst Iron Bowl memories

TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 29: Head coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide shakes hand with head coach Gus Malzahn of the Auburn Tigers after the Iron Bowl at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 29, 2014 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The Alabama Crimson Tide defeated the Auburn Tigers 55 to 44. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 29: Head coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide shakes hand with head coach Gus Malzahn of the Auburn Tigers after the Iron Bowl at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 29, 2014 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The Alabama Crimson Tide defeated the Auburn Tigers 55 to 44. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

Alabama football and Auburn have competed in many incredible games. The Bama Hammer staff offers our memories of the worst and the best Iron Bowls.

With all the history of Alabama football, it is hard to define the best and worst memories, even against arch-rival Auburn. The Bama Hammer staff took on just that task while knowing our voices are but few among many.

By defining the task as recounting memories, each of us is bounded by a span of seasons spent as Alabama Crimson Tide fans. Some of those spans are longer than others.

Worst Iron Bowl Memories

Our group list of the worst Iron Bowl memories is dominated by the ‘Kick Six’ in 2013.

Ronald Moody: I didn’t answer my phone or check social media for three days… I still hate to see the highlights from the game. I am mentally prepared to know Gary Danielson will mention ‘Kick Six’ at least five times Saturday. I dislike the fame that Malzahn inherited from such a fluke victory.

Kevin Mudd:  The worst has to be the Kick-Six. Not just because of the ending, but because it should have never gotten to that point. At so many times during that game Alabama had 3rd or 4th and short and would get a penalty for a false start or holding or they would simply not convert. Plus listening to Auburn fans throughout the years about the game has been rough, but all you have to remind them is that they still lost the national championship to FSU.

Chris Dodson; Kick-Six: I was with a friend at the local Tuscaloosa movie theater that shows every game on their big screen. After what happened…well, happened, we were standing for five minutes trying to process a field goal kick, taken out of the end zone, brought back for a touchdown, to win the game – with one second left. Continued processing for my friend and I included an effort to drown our sorrows.

Ronald Evans: The Kick-Six was a gut punch but not close to my worst Iron Bowl memories. First, was 1970, losing 33-28 to Auburn after taking a 17-0 lead. That game featured a future Auburn Heisman winner, but the best player on the field that day was the Tide’s, Johnny Musso. Musso went into the game injured and every tackle brought him pain. In three-quarters, he rushed over 40 times for 221 yards. Paul Bryant would not allow Musso to continue taking punishment and pulled him from the game, leading to the Auburn victory.

Next, 1997. Auburn was 8-2 and the Tide was 4-6. With less than one minute left in the fourth quarter, the Tide had a 17-15 lead and faced a third-and-eight. Even a failed third-down rush and ensuing punt would have given the ball back to the Tigers around their own 20, with about 35 seconds left. Crimson Tide Offensive Coordinator, and later, great NFL head coach, Bruce Arians called a screen pass to Ed Scissum. Scissum caught the pass and fumbled fighting for yardage. Auburn recovered inside the Tide 35 and finished the game with a winning field goal.

And 2010: The Crimson Tide built a 24-0 lead that was cut to 24-7 at halftime. Two incredibly unlucky plays cost Alabama football a victory. The Mark Ingram fumble that rolled for over 20 yards at the sideline, and eventually through the end zone. On any bounce of that ball, it could have so easily kicked right and out-of-bounds, maintaining Tide possession and an almost sure additional score. The other bizarre play was Mark Barron being in perfect position to intercept a poorly thrown Cam Newton pass. Barron’s problem was he had torn a pectoral muscle near the end of the first half. He kept the injury to himself and when he later went up to snatch the second-half ball, he could only raise one arm.

Best Iron Bowl Memories

Ronald Evans: ‘The Kick’ in 1985, Van Tiffin’s 52-yarder for the 25-23 win.

Chris Dodson; 2008: The 2008 Iron Bowl is easily one of my favorite memories. It was freshman year at UA for me. Auburn was threatening to beat Bama a seventh straight time. Instead, it was a 36-0 shutout of Auburn, breaking the streak and marking it as the first time Alabama beat Auburn in Bryant-Denny Stadium. Normally, the cigar smoking is reserved for wins over Tennessee. However, I can recall that the student section was filled with cigar smoke that night.

Ronald Moody; 2009: Third-year head coach Nick Saban had Alabama moving like a well-oiled Mercedes-Benz assembly line in 2009. After losing the last two games of the prior year to eventual national champions Florida and Utah, Alabama entered the season on a mission to get to the SEC Championship game and beat Florida. Before they could return to Atlanta, Auburn stood in their path.

At the beginning of the fourth quarter, Alabama trailed Auburn 21-20. As the quarter continued, the Auburn defense stiffened not giving the Crimson Tide much chance of winning the ball game. Junior quarterback Greg McElroy began the drive with 8:24 remaining in the game. He expertly led the team down the field, culminated with a four-yard touchdown pass to Roy Upchurch in the corner of the end zone.

Alabama football had completed a drive of champions.

Kevin Mudd; 2009: Has to be the 2009 Iron Bowl. Everything was on the line for the Alabama team that wanted to meet Florida again in the SEC championship. However, there was Auburn in the way.

The team rallied and had the game-winning drive with Roy Upchurch’s catch in the flat that really launched the Alabama football dynasty.

I just remember watching that drive and you saw a team that had been shaped from the previous year’s loss to Florida in the SEC championship that was hungry and wanted greatness.

Ronald Evans; 2014: The Tide won 55-44 because Auburn could not cover Amari Cooper. In the leadup to the game, Gus Malzahn said his team would not double-cover Coop. Before the game was over, the Tigers did put two men on him. It didn’t matter. Cooper caught 13 passes for 224 yards and three touchdowns.