The worlds of College Football and the National Football League collided this weekend with the unlikely defeats of both the Alabama Crimson Tide and the New England Patriots on one weekend to remember. The Tide was beaten in Birmingham to its legendary rival, the Auburn Tigers, in the Iron Bowl on a late penalty for having twelve men on the field. The stunning loss knocked Alabama out of the NCAA College Football Playoff for only the first time in almost a decade. Alabama has been part of the discussion of college football’s hierarchy since Nick Saban left a profitable term as coach at LSU to begin coaching in Tuscaloosa, twelve years ago. Meanwhile, also in the Deep South, where American football thrives like nowhere else, in the former swampland of Houston, Texas the team that brought the National Football League to that wet, populated part of our great country defeated the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots on Sunday night.
The Patriots no longer have the best record in the American Conference with the late season loss to the Houston, Texans. New England may not host every playoff game in Foxborough, Massachusetts where they have effectively dominated pro ball for the past eighteen years with quarterback Tom Brady at the helm and Head Coach Bill Belichick calling plays, as he reads the Art of War by Chinese general Sun Tzu in his private time. Belichick’s brilliant leadership along with Brady’s loyal, daily performance and stunning late game comebacks have made the Patriots into the greatest American dynasty since the New York Yankees ran roughshod over the world of baseball in the 1950’s. It is possible that two eras ended this weekend as fans enjoyed great games on their television sets.