An estimated 40,000 Crimson Tide fans turned out to celebrate the Alabama Crimson Tide football team’s 17th national championship with a parade and trophy presentation in Tuscaloosa Saturday.
On a day in which the weather seemed custom-made for the celebration, the team paraded by in position groups from Denny Chimes down the Walk of Champions to the steps of Bryant-Denny Stadium. They tossed beads Mardi Gras-style and lobbed footballs emblazoned with the 17th national championship logo.
The team’s coaches passed by in Mercedes-Benz convertibles and the Million Dollar Band played and marched. Crimson Tide cheerleaders also marched as did trainers, staff and representatives of Nick’s Kids, the foundation started by head coach Nick Saban and his wife, Terry.
Even before the parade started, fans lined University Boulevard and began yelling “Ala” on one side of the street with the fans on the other side replying “Bama” until both sides unified in a hearty “Roooollll Tide!”
The parade ended at the stadium where this year’s team captains spoke along with Saban, Director of Athletics Greg Byrne, Executive Director of the College Football Playoff Bill Hancock, SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey and AFCA Associate Executive Director Gary Darnell.
“What you do, the passion that you have is what makes being a coach at the University of Alabama and a player at the University of Alabama something that’s extremely, extremely special – beyond words for me to really explain,” Saban told the fans.
“We have the best fans in the world,” Saban said. “You all are the best fans in the country. Today, we have the best team in the country and I think your support in coming out today makes this one of the best days and the best memories that each one of these young men can have and makes all of the hard work that they did worthwhile.”
Saban praised the resiliency of this championship team having overcome multiple injuries, a late-season loss to Auburn and trailing after the first half of the National Championship Game. He said he wants those seniors and those leaving early for the NFL draft to take away lessons learned during their time at Alabama, especially in the adversity they overcame this past season.
“And to the players that are coming back, get ready for the challenges of the future and let everybody know that we’re not finished yet,” Saban said, with the players joining him in emphasizing the “yet.”
Republished with permission from the Alabama NewsCenter.