As AJ McCarron was born, raised and went to high school in the state of Alabama, and lived less than three hours or so from the Tuscaloosa campus, one could easily assume that the Tide’s starting quarterback would have grown up as a fan of the state’s flagship football program. Or, at the very least, have some idea about the storied history of the football program for which he plays.
On each of those counts, one would be wrong.
Speaking at the BCS championship game media day Saturday morning, McCarron was asked by a reporter in attendance about legendary Tide head coach Bear Bryant. McCarron’s response, while refreshingly honest, likely left many of Finebaum’s finest choking on their breakfast grits.
“I was never an Alabama fan,” the second-year starter said. “I don’t know the history, at all.”
While that may be a jarring admission for some to read or hear, it’s not at all surprising. For one, McCarron has never been shy in admitting that he “grew up a big Miami Hurricanes fan” and that he aspired to be a quarterback at The U one day. Two, and I can speak from very personal experience, the past — whether it involves sports, politics or history in general — is not high on the to-do lists of a lot (most?) of kids these days.
Alabama fans, though, can take heart in knowing they’re not alone if they’re thinking that the young man who’s on the verge of a second straight BCS title ring may have been a little “off” growing up.
“I just remember thinking ‘You freak, we’re Alabama fans,’” McCarron’s mom, Dee Dee Bonner, told the Sun-Sentinel in an interview this week when asked about her son’s early non-Tide fandom. “‘What are you talking about?’ Because we raised him to be an Alabama fan.”
Raised that way or not, he is now, and is one of the big reasons why the Tide has a chance at an unprecedented third BCS title in four years. That alone atones for any “youthful indiscretions” on McCarron’s part.