After a game, I huff as fast as I can up Bragg Ave. to get to my car — I park at the end of Sanders Street. I open the door and jam the key in and crank it up and find the station — I do that even before the cigar. I mean, I’ll get the Auburn stats and the locker room “you know, I mean, we just came out to play” quotes later. What I won’t get later is the comically mouth-dropping, love-to-hate-it drivel of Eee-Lah and Snake. You can’t relive that stuff on the internet, that’s in the moment, and it’s my second favorite part of football Saturdays, seriously.
And it’s art! I mean, I’ve heard Kenny Stabler say, in that full-tilt crazy-haired twang, and in all seriousness, that everyone knows that rain always helps the visiting team. It was like, fifteen years ago or something, I was in the car as a kid listening, hoping they’d lose, and they were on their way early in the first quarter, to Mississippi State I think. It was a home game and it was barely sprinkling and that’s what ol’ Snake Stabler said to explain it — rain helps the visiting team, everyone knows that! And oh man, did anyone hear when Joe Namath popped in the booth for a few hours during last year’s Tennessee broadcast? A-R-T.
So while I feel for the citizenry of south Alabama, I’m thankful that keeping Snake as co-pilot is now the fashionable thing. Early on though, it wasn’t. When it was hot off the press, Finebaum was pouring it on like nothing I’ve ever heard from him. It was actually really funny, but it was harsh. For reasons both of ego and it’s-the-right-thing decency, he was trying to set the tone for what Bama administrators would have to respond to. He was gone, fired, finished! And he probably would have been had Paul not suddenly changed his tune. Ah, but thank goodness Paul’s leg tingleth still for Saban, who’s resounding endorsement of Stabler – “he’s a great ambassador for the University” – he quoted in his latest column, a column unbelievingly, flip-floppingly headlined “Crimson Tide should stand by Stabler.”