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McCarron played last half of season with injured ribs

Alabama quarterback McCarron celebrates with the trophy after his team defeated Notre Dame in their NCAA BCS National Championship college football game in Miami Reuters

Oh sure, winning the same amount of BCS championships as games he’s lost as Alabama’s starting quarterback wasn’t enough.  AJ McCarron had to go and inject grit and toughness into the equation as well.

In an interview with Chris Low of, McCarron confirmed that he played the last six games of the 2012 season with injured ribs — “I had three ribs come out of place” is how the player put it — and wasn’t close to 100-percent healthy until the BCS title game against Notre Dame.

McCarron suffered the injury on a sack during the Oct. 27 win over Mississippi State.  The rib issue came two weeks after McCarron suffered a knee injury that, for a short period time, left his status for the Tennessee game in doubt.  He played with a knee brace the remainder of the season.

The rib injury, McCarron said, essentially limited what he could do in practice for the remainder of the season.

“They kept popping in and out of place, the one at the top, and it was just a nagging pain the whole time,” the senior-to-be said. “I couldn’t throw much during the week for a long time, really almost up to the bowl game. I was hurting really bad through the week, and it just took a long time for those ribs to heal.”

A look at the numbers shows that the injury and lack of quality practice reps impacted the quarterback’s play.

McCarron threw three interceptions all season long; coincidence or not, all three came after the rib injury — two against Texas A&M in the Tide’s lone loss of the season, and one in the four-point win over Georgia in the SEC championship game.  In the first game after the injury, he completed just 14-of-27 passes (51.9 percent) in a win over LSU, his lowest single-game percentage of the season.

His two lowest passing yard totals in games against FBS competition?  The conference title game (162) and the LSU game (165).

Statistics aside, McCarron did enough — more than enough, actually — to put himself and the Tide in a position to accomplish something no other starting quarterback has ever done and a team hasn’t done since Minnesota in the thirties: win three straight national championships.

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30 Responses to “McCarron played last half of season with injured ribs”
  1. cdubisms says: Mar 8, 2013 12:46 PM

    Not quite the last half … the last 6 games (as they played 14). However, I digress.

    Oh boy. Where will this take the legend of McCarron now .. especially in the eyes of Alabama fans?

    Last season I never bought into the hype by many fans, and some in the media (Gary Danielson, I’m talking to you), that McCarron was a reasonable Heisman candidate. That wasn’t necessarily his fault, I blamed play-calling as much as anything else.

    However, knowing how the media works he will certainly be a part of the preseason Heisman hype for 2013. Especially if they believe, as I do, that McCarron will break Alabama’s single season passing (yards) record.

    This little story will only add fuel to that fire.

    You know what my first thought was when I read this story? This makes me question Nick Saban’s thinking even more during their attempted comeback against Texas A&M.

    Last two offensive plays for Alabama in that game, losing by 5:

    3rd and Goal from the 5: 3-yard run by McCarron
    4th and Goal from the 2: Interception by McCarron in the end zone

    So … Mr. Saban, you know your quarterback has “injured ribs” and you don’t run Eddie Lacy at least on 3rd down and likely on 4th too?

    I don’t get it.

    Anyway, you know these “injured ribs” will now forever be part of McCarron lore and will certainly be a selling point for the Heisman hype next season.

    McCarron’s name will among the preseason favorites alongside Johnny Football, Teddy Bridgewater, Lache Seastrunk, JaDaveon Clowney, Braxton Miller, and probably Aaron Murray.

  2. bamafan36 says: Mar 8, 2013 12:55 PM

    Lord Saban doesn’t make the offensive play calls.

  3. scalpemseminoles says: Mar 8, 2013 1:01 PM

    winning the same number of national championship games as you lose isn’t a big feat, most quarterbacks do that:

    Tajh Boyd: 0-0
    EJ Manuel: 0-0
    Jeff Driskell: 0-0
    Matt Barkley: 0-0
    Connor Shaw: 0-0

  4. changeup39 says: Mar 8, 2013 1:14 PM

    He broke his ribs in a fall injury sustained while riding his mega hot girlfriend. Hahahahacry /jealousy :’-(

  5. alligatorsnapper says: Mar 8, 2013 1:19 PM

    Saban took the criticism for the calls made, and explained them, though he did not make the calls himself. He did the correct thing but it is true it was not his call.

    The mystique and gravitas of McCarron will increase in the upcoming season. I do question the calls by the OC when it was know he was suffering with his ribs, but that is then. His ribs should be fine for his last season at Bama.

    changeup39: We didn’t need that on his thread.

  6. florida727 says: Mar 8, 2013 1:51 PM

    You can tell this guy is tougher than he appears. He just has that “it” factor. His teammates trust him. His coaches trust him. I wouldn’t put it past him to win another national title.

    On The Dan Patrick Show, they were interviewing McCarron and put up a graphic under his picture that said he has three championships already. I’m assuming McCarron was a redshirt freshman on that 2010 title team, right?

  7. cdubisms says: Mar 8, 2013 1:52 PM

    changeup39 = Brent Musberger

  8. cdubisms says: Mar 8, 2013 1:53 PM

    florida727: Yes, he was a redshirt freshman. Saban is on record as saying that if McElroy had gotten injured (as Colt McCoy did) in the NC game, that he would have lifted McCarron’s redshirt and put him in.

  9. normtide says: Mar 8, 2013 2:33 PM

    McCarron may go down as the best Bama qb, or at least top three. In todays spread, air raid game, the Tide’s play style will keep him out of Heisman contention. The kid is a winner though. He is also ultra competitive and a perfectionist. The BCSNC game vs LSU cemented his lore. He won’t win the Heisman, but his record and success can’t be denied.

  10. snaxdsp says: Mar 8, 2013 4:57 PM

    He should have taken the antler spray with the rest of his felony teammates

  11. steelers4385 says: Mar 8, 2013 6:13 PM

    God this guys girfriend is so bangable.

  12. tlmoon2112 says: Mar 8, 2013 7:47 PM

    So what year did Forrest Gump win the Heisman again? I forget……

    If Satan himself wore Crimson, Bama fans would worship him.

  13. John Taylor says: Mar 8, 2013 8:08 PM

    “If Satan himself wore Crimson…”

    According to James Franklin, he does.

  14. bamafan36 says: Mar 8, 2013 8:09 PM

    What a butthead!

  15. thegeneral7694 says: Mar 8, 2013 10:35 PM


    McCarron has won the same number of BCS title games as he has lost GAMES as a starter….you get it?

    He;s won 2 BCS title games, and he’s lost two GAMES (2011 LSU regular season, 2012 A&M regular season) as a starter. So, it’s quite a bit different from Boyd, Driskell, Shaw, etc., who have no BCS title wins but more losses as a starter…..

  16. John Taylor says: Mar 8, 2013 11:12 PM

    @scalpemseminoles: you understand that you completely whiffed, right? Just so we’re clear on this.

  17. dcroz says: Mar 9, 2013 7:16 AM

    Most years, it seems the Heisman goes to the person who puts up the gaudiest stats. McCarron is not going to get the chance in Saban’s offensive scheme to throw for 4,000 yards and 50 touchdowns, so some think he has no chance to win the award because of it. McCarron’s is that rare candidacy, however, that will be based on his career achievements rather than what he does in a single season, and in that regard he already has a gaudy stat in having two national championships as a starter. If he has a stellar pass efficiency rating as he did last season (led the nation, if memory serves) and has Alabama heading to Pasadena for a shot at a third-straight BCS title, then he will be in the running.

  18. bamafan36 says: Mar 9, 2013 9:08 AM

    The Heisman has lost its luster of the years. It was founded and awarded to the BEST college football player in the nation. It is now, more often than not, awarded to the most popular “good” player. Manti was in the running because he lost his girlfriend and grandmother, in the same week. His numbers were not that impressive (CJ Mosley had similar numbers with half the snaps). Jarvis Jones, Kiki Alonzo, and Jadeveon Clowney (just to name a few) were far better defensive players than Manti….but he had a “story”. The Heisman Moment used to be considered in every game…..Johnny Manziel had a great quarter against Alabama (he still lost two games). RG3 claimed his, after beating a terrible Oklahoma team. He lost to an anemic TCU that year. In my opinion, the Heisman Trophy is likened to a fourth place ribbon, most times.

    The problem with this award, is there is no clear definition. Does it go to the player that had the most impact in one game? Is it a culimnation of the last two years? Three years? I know what it should be. $cam Newton was the last deserving winner. He was, by far, the best player in college football.

  19. dcroz says: Mar 9, 2013 10:28 AM


    I agree with you on the Heisman. It has now become more about marketability than about ability. Mark Ingram’s story about his father’s troubles, RGIII’s endorsement potential, and T’eo’s “story” all led to major pushes by the media (ESPN especially) to crown them as Heisman winners. Ingram won out in a weak field, and one could easily argue that Andrew Luck should have gotten the Heisman over Griffin.

    As for T’eo, you could just hear the corporate heads crafting a “30 at 30” or even a feature-length, “Rudy”-esqe film with him overcoming the loss of his grandmother and girlfriend and ending with him holding up the Heisman in December and an improbable crystal football in January. When neither happened and the girlfriend turned out to be a fraud (and whether or not T’eo knew that she was phony or even was trying to cover up his sexuality, he still lied about having met her) then ESPN was more than happy to salvage as much attention out of it as they could by talking about it constantly for two weeks. The WWL was probably the biggest loser of all in the T’eo story…and that is the most hilarious thing to come out of it.

  20. steve35962 says: Mar 9, 2013 11:37 AM

    Roll Tide!!

    I have had an injury like this. The time it takes to recover and get to 100% is painful and long. This post explains a lot. Roll Tide!

  21. Deb says: Mar 9, 2013 2:45 PM

    @normtide …

    I appreciate everything A.J. has accomplished for the Tide and look forward to seeing what’s next. But in a field that includes Joe Namath and Kenny Stabler, it’s impossible for me to believe he’ll go down as the best Bama QB. But … time will tell.

  22. dcroz says: Mar 9, 2013 4:00 PM


    Namath and Stabler were outstanding QBs while in Tuscaloosa, but by what objective standard was either better than McCarron? A.J. already has most of the single-season records; barring a season-ending injury, he will leave Alabama with almost or even all of the significant career marks; and he has one more national title as a starter than any QB in Tide history and may wind up adding another. Namath and Stabler became legends based at least as much on what they did on Sundays (and some of the outrageous things they did the other six days of the week) as they did in college; whether McCarron will be able to match that is still to be seen. But just based on their college performances alone, McCarron has already exceeded anything Broadway or Snake did, and still has time to add to it.

  23. Deb says: Mar 9, 2013 5:29 PM

    @dcroz …

    First, where in the blog-commenting rulebook does it say we’re required to apply objective standards when posting?

    Second–and this is for all the stat-worshippers–players should be judged by the impact they have on the game during the era in which they played, not by the stats they amassed in the 30s, 40s, 50s, or 60s compared to the stats a QB would amass in the pass-obsessed 2000s-2010s.

    Third, you bet I’m considering what Namath and Stabler did in the NFL as part of their quarterback careers. Yeah … sure … I’m all super-duper impressed by the college careers of Danny Wuerffel, Gino Torretta, and Charlie Ward (sorry if the dripping sarcasm splashes on your shoes), but if you ask me the greatest quarterbacks of all time, none of those guys will be on my list. And if the sum total of what McCarron accomplishes in his football career is two championships at Bama, he’s not going to make the list of anyone but diehard Bama fans (who don’t watch the NFL) either.

    On the other hand …

    While Stabler never fully gets his due, Namath is an iconic figure in football history. He’s an NFL Hall of Famer, played a significant role in the development of the modern-day NFL, and Bleacher Report puts him at #10 on its list of the greatest college QBs of all time. To suggest that A.J. has eclipsed him–or could–is nuts. Maybe that would happen if his future produces a Bradylike career … but I wouldn’t count on that.

  24. normtide says: Mar 9, 2013 6:36 PM

    Deb- I give NFL careers no bearing on how I rank them in my personal Bama hall of fame. Copeland and curry were two of our greatest DE’s, but both did little on Sundays. Imo, AJ is top 3 regardless of what happens this year. His performance in two title games were masterpieces. I also find him to be a great leader. He lost two games so far as a starter, and the first to LSU he was being shackled by the coaches because he wasn’t proven. And really, he was one play away from winning both games. I don’t see much more we could ask him to do. Also, he is a character on his own right.

    I find it a fun debate, as I could discuss Alabama and their players without end. But, the truth is, neither of us are wrong, because its a debate of perspectives. Maybe eras as well. Roll Tide

  25. Deb says: Mar 9, 2013 7:46 PM

    @normtide …

    I’m with you on that. It is all about perspectives–and how you feel about players from different eras. It’s like arguing Bear v. Saban. I’m just happy we had them both :)

    Namath will always be “it” for among Bama QBs–and one of my faves among all QBs–even though I never saw him play a down for the Tide. But A.J. is definitely one of our greats, and I’m hoping he has more in store for us!

  26. bamafan36 says: Mar 9, 2013 8:40 PM

    Now that it’s out of the way; Joe Namath was a decent QB, at best. His off field shenanigans help transform the game, and allowed players to become stars. But, his numbers in the NFL were not terribly impressive. And his numbers at Bama don’t raise eyebrows, either. I wouldn’t list him in my top 5 from Bama (McCarron, Stabler, Barker, Rutledge, and McElroy).

  27. packerbadger says: Mar 11, 2013 8:15 AM

    That injury I’m sure kept him out of the classroom, but was ok enough to play football.

  28. tlmoon2112 says: Mar 11, 2013 12:57 PM

    Saban will never be what Bear Bryant is and was because Bear had class. Class is simply not in Saban’s gene pool.

  29. lakesidegator says: Mar 11, 2013 2:38 PM

    Neither one of them was/is classy.

  30. darkbluegarage says: Mar 12, 2013 3:10 PM

    @tlmoon2112: Saban has brought a level of integrity and class that is second to none. Do your research!

    @lakesidegater: Your silly words revel you as a poor loser. There are so many Gator fans in the Bama threads! You had your mini- dynisties why piss on someone elses parade?

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