My co-host Creg Stephenson made a matter-of-fact comment on Sports Drive this week that set me back momentarily. Creg said, “I have no hesitation in saying that AJ McCarron is the greatest quarterback in Alabama history.”
Just as a reminder, the first three Super Bowls were all won by Alabama quarterbacks (two by Bart Starr and one by Joe Namath) and Kenny Stabler, who was recently inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, also won a Super Bowl.
But, of course, Creg’s comment did not intend to take into account pro success. He was basing his opinion strictly on individual and team success at the college level.
So let’s take a look at the data (but here’s some foreshadowing: there’s really no argument that he’s right).
McCarron threw for 9,019 yards at Alabama, which is almost 1,100 yards more than second-place John Parker Wilson.
He won 36 of his first 38 starts before losing on the Kick 6 to Auburn and in the Sugar Bowl to Oklahoma. It’s worth noting that in that Sugar Bowl, he threw for 387 yards, fourth most by an Alabama quarterback. Also worth noting as a quirky trivia question, the Kick 6 was the only Alabama field goal attempt during his career in which McCarron was not on the field as the holder.
He finished second to Jameis Winston in the Heisman Trophy balloting, higher than any Alabama quarterback before or since. He was a first-team All-American, the Maxwell Award winner and the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award winner.
So, that pretty well takes care of team success and individual accomplishment. The real question probably should be who is in second place behind him on the list of Alabama’s all-time great quarterbacks.
For Threaded Fasteners, I’m Randy Kennedy with Nuts and Bolts of the Game.