Shaun Alexander is right there with Mac Jones thinking the 2020 Alabama team was the best.
Mac Jones stated the 2020 Alabama Crimson Tide was the greatest single-season football team in college football history. Though he and Jones hail from the same alma mater, former Alabama running back and Seattle Seahawks legend Shaun Alexander feels Jones has every reason to feel that way. In fact, he explains this is the way Alabama players feel about their teams.
Alabama went 13-0 overall, 10-0 in an SEC-only regular season. The Crimson Tide beat the Florida Gators in the SEC Championship game, the No. 4 Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the Rose Bowl and the No. 3 Ohio State Buckeyes in the 2021 National Championship game. Alabama also defeated two other New Year’s Six bowl winners in the Texas A&M Aggies and the Georgia Bulldogs in 2020.
Former Alabama players are competitive about how their teams stack up
“Everybody has to understand, that is Alabama,” said Alexander to FanSided on behalf of The FedEx Air & Ground Player of the Year Awards. “When “Bear” Bryant was there, it was always, we are going to be tough and we’re going to be classy. We’re going to know who we are and we’re not going to be scared of that. But part of being classy is not being humble about it.”
“What Mac [Jones] is saying is what all of us say. ‘Oh well, Shaun, was your team the best team in the 1990s?’ We won the SEC Championship, we lost to Tennessee and I got hurt in that game. And we get a Hail Mary pass, we go to the Orange Bowl. We get beat in double overtime.”
“And I would say, “Oh yeah, we could take our team against the 1992 championship team.” And everybody is like, “What?! You had three losses.” But that’s just Alabama football. At the end of the day, we’re always going to say our team is the best because that’s the mode. So Mac is doing what he’s supposed to do. We’re all proud when he says that.”
This is the standard that Bryant set when he became the Alabama head coach. The same sentiments echoed through the Gene Stallings era in Tuscaloosa and are very much alive during the Nick Saban era, who shows no sign of retiring. But does Jones have a leg to stand on with his take? Alexander elaborates on it.
“Now, how legit is it? It’s pretty close because their offense could do so many things. And you know, what Mac did even better than what Tua [Tagovailoa] did was secure the ball. When you don’t turn the ball over, Najee [Harris] is going to run hard and not fumble. I think he had one or two fumbles his whole career at Alabama. Mac doesn’t turn the ball over.”
“Now you’re going to have the ball with all these great skill players and you got a shot to score points. I don’t know if their defense was as amazing as the 2011 team, the 2009 team, the 2012 team. Those guys, they would shut teams out.”
“And so could they shut each other out? I doubt it, but then you also remember that’s Julio Jones and Mark Ingram on one team or Eddie Lacy and Amari Cooper on the other team. I’m not saying they would get shut out, but those teams would definitely score points and I think they would be on the greatest level.”
Once this past season ended, people were quick to connect the 2020 Alabama team to the 2019 LSU Tigers, the 2004 USC Trojans, the 2001 Miami Hurricanes and the 1995 Nebraska Cornhuskers as the best college football teams of the modern era. However, Alexander was more concerned about if this was the best team in modern Alabama history. They do have a case.
Though the defense was not great, the offense could not have been more outstanding this year.
Shaun Alexander spoke with FanSided on behalf of The FedEx Air & Ground Player of the Year Awards. Voting is open now and will close on Tuesday, Feb. 2 at 3.00 p.m. ET. Fans can vote for FedEx Air & Ground NFL Player of the Year nominees at NFL.com/FedEx, on Twitter via the @NFL published polls or on the NFL Mobile App.