He doesn’t live in the record books. He isn’t the same talent as Namath, Stabler, or Tua, but my favorite Alabama football player of all time was a true leader. When we think about how this dynasty began we must consider that Greg McElroy was an integral part of the process.
Greg McElroy wasn’t a highly rated recruit coming out of high school. The Southlake Carroll, Texas prospect was only a 3-star recruit and the 348th ranked player in America. As the 13th ranked Pro-Style QB he wasn’t expected to do much for Alabama football. Not to mention he was recruited the year before Nick Saban took over in Tuscaloosa.
McElroy was considered a consolation prize for Mike Shula who was hoping to land the coveted Tim Tebow. After Tebow committed to Florida in December 2005, Shula turned his attention to the Texas high school QB. Alabama fans can count themselves lucky that Tebow spurned Shula and Alabama, because had he not, there is a very good chance Nick Saban never takes the reigns for the Crimson Tide.
When talking about collegiate accolades McElroy is arguably the 2nd or 3rd best collegiate QB in the 2006 class. Only Tebow, Bradford, and maybe Stafford have an argument at the collegiate level.
In only two seasons at the helm for Alabama football, Greg won 23 games in 26 starts including the incredible 2009 SEC Championship game against Tim Tebow, and the 2009 National Championship against Texas.
It was somewhat poetic that McElroy beat Tebow, the guy his team wanted over him, and Texas, his home state and another team that spurned him. His stats in those games won’t jump off the page, but when his team needed him the most he stepped up and delivered.
My second favorite play in Alabama football history is McElroy’s one-legged hop down the sideline for a first down against Florida in the 2009 SEC Championship (Prothro’s catch against Southern Miss is No. 1). That play is the epitome of the tenacity and heart that Greg possessed.
The fact of the matter is everyone loves an underdog and Greg McElroy was an underdog that led his team back from years of mediocrity, to a national championship. Greg seems to always be labeled as a “game manager” by pundits and historians, but I never liked the term. In fact, Greg McElroy is the reason I hate the term.
In 2009 when asked about being a game manager McElroy had this to say
What is a game manager? I want to be a field general. A field general sounds more explosive.
There you have it. If I were picking an all-time Alabama football team I would be hard-pressed to keep the field general off that team. There was really no better choice for a QB that would lead Alabama football back to college football glory than Greg McElroy. I’m glad I got to watch him play.
As a side note, we were also asked about our second pick in case our first pick was unavailable to write about. I picked Tyrone Prothro as my second favorite player all-time. To see all the Bama Hammer staff’s favorite Alabama football players follow these links: