10 Alabama Sports Moments from 2016 That We Won’t Soon Forget
There's likely plenty you want to forget about this year, but 2016 provided a number of special moments at the Capstone for University of Alabama athletics.
Of course there was the school's 16th national championship to begin the year - which we'll get to shortly - but there was a lot more to celebrate over the next 11+ months. We looked back through game notes and recaps to highlight 10 great moments that we'll take away from 2016 and remember for many years.
There's a decent chance we overlooked a few that people will believe should be on the list. Most of those will be football related considering the team didn't lose a single game during the calendar year, but we wanted to take a complete look at the Crimson Tide's accomplishments this year to pick the best moments.
The University of Alabama was well represented at the 2016 Rio Olympics this summer as 13 current and former athletes competed for their home country in Brazil. Kirani James (pictured below, far left) won silver in the men's 400-meter. Here's a list of the Alabama athletes that traveled to Rio.
Alabama baseball fans got their first look at the 'New Joe' on February 19. The Crimson Tide sold out the first two games of the season in Sewell-Thomas Stadium against Maryland and won the series, 2-1. There might not have been a more electric moment in Tuscaloosa than when freshman Chandler Taylor hit a first-inning home run on opening night that landed among a sea of Alabama students in the right field terrace.
The Alabama women's golf team posted a 7-under final round at Greystone Country Club in Birmingham to capture the program's third SEC Championship. The Crimson Tide's previous title's came in 2010 and 2013.
Alabama was a big underdog when it hosted the Lady Vols at Foster Auditorium on February 26. After losing by 28 points at Tennessee a few weeks earlier, the Crimson Tide held the Lady Vols to 26% shooting en route to a 54-46 victory. The win was the first ever in Tuscaloosa and snapped a 42-game losing streak to the Lady Vols.
Alabama senior Krystal Rivers earned All-American honors from the American Volleyball Coaches’ Association in December, making her the only Crimson Tide volleyball player to ever garner the honor all four years of her career. She leaves Alabama as the school's all-time leader in kills and points.
There might not be another play all season that showcased Jonathan Allen's athleticism and the Alabama defense's explosiveness than the senior's Superman sack of Texas A&M quarterback Trevor Knight. The Aggies' QB would later say, "Our back went to cut and he just flew over the guy. It felt like he was flying through the air forever. Incredible play."
The Alabama men's basketball team pulled out a hard-fought win at Florida on February 13, which ended an 11-game losing streak in Gainesville. Behind Jimmie Taylor's 11 points and five blocks, the Crimson Tide pulled off its first victory in the O'Dome since 1995 and the first over the Gators in 12 tries.
With the game tied 24-24 early in the fourth quarter of the 2016 College Football Playoff championship game against Clemson, Adam Griffith delivered a perfectly-timed, perfectly-executed onside kick that dropped into the hands of Marlon Humphrey to give Alabama possession. Two plays later, the Crimson Tide took the lead for good and won its 16th national championship.
Alabama honored its football seniors prior to the Iron Bowl on November 26. Among them was walk-on running back Lawrence Erekosima, who had no idea his mother had been allowed to leave her military service early to return home to see her son's final game in Tuscaloosa. Watch the emotional reunion again here.
You didn't think we'd leave this off this list, did you? The 45-40 win over Clemson might arguably be the most exciting game of the Nick Saban era. Regardless of that opinion, Alabama found a way to win its first College Football Playoff championship, the school's 16th national championship, and Saban's fourth title in his past seven seasons in Tuscaloosa. Many said the dynasty was over. The Crimson Tide proved otherwise.