Roll, Jalen Hurts, roll, into the Super Bowl | GARY COSBY JR.

Gary Cosby Jr.
Gary Cosby Jr.
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Former Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts led his Philadelphia Eagles team to the Super Bowl and I couldn’t be happier for anyone than I am for him. It is no surprise that social media is gnashing its teeth over it. Such things happen daily, but this one is pretty bizarre.

Alabama fans are justifiably lauding and claiming Jalen Hurts as our own. If he wins, he will join Bart Starr, Joe Namath and Ken Stabler as former UA quarterbacks to garner a Super Bowl win. Auburn fans, of course it is Auburn fans, but they are supplemented by a few other college fans, are up in arms over this, claiming Hurts is a former Oklahoma quarterback. He is, both, and both schools can be proud of him for what he did for their schools and is doing in the NFL.

But those crying foul seem to think Alabama ran Hurts off and now want to claim him since he is successful. I normally don’t get involved in that kind of nonsense and probably wouldn’t, but I, like every single Alabama fan I’ve ever spoken to on the subject, love Hurts and always have. Besides that, no matter that he left and played for Oklahoma for one season, Hurts led the Tide to two national championship games and was a hair’s breadth from defeating Clemson to win the national championship as a freshman.

Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts runs the ball as he plays during a game in September 2017. Gary Cosby Jr.-Tuscaloosa News
Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts runs the ball as he plays during a game in September 2017. Gary Cosby Jr.-Tuscaloosa News

If that were not enough, Hurts will always have a secure place in the hearts of Alabama fans for the way he handled himself after losing his starting job to Tua Tagovailoa. Not only did Hurts not quit and walk away, he stayed with the team, contributed frequently throughout the season, then he rescued UA in the SEC Championship Game win over Georgia much as Tua had done when Jalen had flagged the previous year in the national championship against Georgia.

Not only that, but you would not be likely to meet a finer young man. I was photographing the Night To Shine Prom when, unannounced, Jalen Hurts shows up and hangs out with all the people with special needs, taking photos with them and being part of their event.

There weren’t any UA media handlers there, no sports SIDs, just Jalen and a friend. I was deeply moved by that. I had a special needs child who passed away, so when I see someone take the time from their own lives to invest it in the lives of these very special people, well, that person owns a piece of my heart.

The classless ranting of some opposing fans will never change the way I feel about Hurts. That young man is dyed in the Crimson Tide as far as I am concerned. He certainly earned his place in the lore of one of the most storied football schools in history.

I so hoped that Hurts would win a national championship at Alabama as the starting quarterback. He is the kind of person I absolutely root for and always will. Of course, he led the Tide the entire season but for one half in the championship game, so even saying what I said is unfair. He is an Alabama national champion in every sense of the word.

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I am not an Eagles fan. I grew up pulling for the Cowboys, and the Eagles share a division with Dallas. Every time I see an Eagles uniform I can only think of Ron Jaworski and Harold Carmichael and the bad dreams they caused. But this I guarantee, I will be pulling hard for the Eagles this year. I want to see Hurts hoisting the Lombardi Trophy.

I don’t go around saying “Roll Tide.” My journalistic training absolutely rebels against that because I am a journalist when I cover games, not a fan. I can’t turn off the journalist part of me even when fans greet me with that expression. I simply nod and smile. But I’ll be dang if I don’t yell a “Roll Tide” if Hurts leads the Eagles to the Super Bowl and wins.

That might be stretching things a bit, but the point is I will be pulling for Jalen Hurts, and I would do so even if he played for the Washington Redskins, or Washington Commanders as they are now known. Talk about nightmares. As a Cowboys fan, just the names Theismann and Riggins make me shudder.

As far as I’m concerned, Jalen Hurts is one of the finest people I have covered at Alabama, and I sincerely hope he wins that Super Bowl. I don’t know that anyone deserves to win a championship, but if anyone does it is Jalen Hurts.

As for you Auburn folks and fans of other college teams who are critical of how Alabama fans embrace their players and former players, I can only say, “God bless y’alls sweet little hearts.”

Gary Cosby Jr. is the photo editor of The Tuscaloosa News. Readers can email him at

This article originally appeared on The Tuscaloosa News: Roll Jalen Hurts, roll, into the Super Bowl | GARY COSBY JR.