John Parker Wilson deserves more respect in Alabama football history.
Alabama football fans have been spoiled with stellar quarterback play over the past few seasons. When you see Jalen Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa make highlight play after highlight play, you tend to forget everything before them. One name that keeps getting forgotten in the list of Tide greats is John Parker Wilson, and he deserves more respect.
John Parker Wilson was Nick Saban’s first starting quarterback. Although he never won a title at Alabama, he led the Tide to their first undefeated regular season of this new era, and his leadership and skills as a passer were a great reason why. He set the record for career passing yards in Alabama football history with 7924, although that record was beaten by A.J. McCarron. With all of this success, one question must be asked.
Why is John Parker Wilson so underrated as an Alabama football player?
The simple answer to this is that JPW was not a part of Saban’s first championship-winning team. If the Crimson Tide won their first title in 2008 instead of 2009, Wilson would get a lot more recognition for his personal achievements. However, many Alabama football fans disregard the beginning of Saban’s tenure.
John Parker Wilson also was not a very explosive quarterback. The Tide relied on a run-heavy offense with Glenn Coffee, Roy Upchurch, and Mark Ingram in the early years. Alabama had a great run-blocking O-line, so modern shotgun snaps were a rare sight.
Despite not being explosive, JPW was efficient. His best performance was against the Georgia Bulldogs on the road. In the infamous “Black-out” game, Wilson was nearly perfect on the night. That’s what the Tide needed during these years. Hand the ball off, make the easy play, and take the occasional shot down the field. As long as you didn’t have that devastating mistake, the running game and defense alone could win the game.
There are other quarterbacks who have been underrated. Blake Sims and Jake Coker immediately come to mind. However, John Parker Wilson is the most underrated QB of this Alabama football era. If he played in the current era in Alabama’s current offense, he would be a superstar.
He might not have a national title ring on his finger, but John Parker Wilson deserves more respect for what he did for the Crimson Tide during his college career.