There was something special in the air in Atlanta when the University of Alabama Crimson Tide battled against the Georgia Bulldogs. However, it wasn't the sweet sound of Dixieland Delight, the roar of the crowd, or the rivalry of the matchup. It was, in fact, the relationship of Jalen Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa put into the spotlight for the world to see. During this game, it was more about the lessons learned from these two players. For once, Alabama was less about winning, and more about the character portrayed by two players followed more by the media than any other college student. We forget how young these athletes really are, but the maturity of Jalen Hurts the night of this special game, made us all remember how much a young fan, child, or person can really gain through sports.
Jalen Hurts was benched last year during the game against the Bulldogs. This time, last year, Tua took over in his absence leading the Tide to a win over the Bulldogs. For months, Bama fans bowed down to Tua and continued memes, hashtags, and comments leading to the ideology that "Jalen was the past and Tua was the future". Jalen was portrayed to the media as a quarterback who started games for the best college football team in the nation...but he was still unable to throw the dang ball. Bama fans loved the young, fresh spirit that Tua Tagovailoa represented, and also, he could and stepped up confidently to let the ball go down the field.
At the start of this football season, Nick Saban, coach of the Crimson Tide, was questioned about his two quarterbacks. Was Jalen Hurts going to leave Alabama? Was Jalen back to starting over Tua? Bama fans were dying over who their new quarterback was. But what many didn't realize, was that they could have both.
Jalen Hurts made the courageous decision to stay at Alabama. This season, we saw him from the bench as Tua Tagovailoa was the star of the show. Leading the Tide to another undefeated season, the young quarterback proved his worth. However, there still sat Jalen Hurts. Not starting, getting some playing time here and there, but nothing too special as Bama fans still soaked in the ideology of "Tua Time".
During the game, for those that did not choose to watch, Tua got injured. He was carted off the field with an ankle injury. We come to find out that Tua will undergo ankle surgery, which led to Jalen being forced to step up.
To cut to the chase, Jalen led the Tide from behind to win against the Bulldogs. After playing what didn't completely seem like typical Alabama football, the fresh face of Jalen Hurts reminded football fans of what he could do on the field.
We all know that these two players were incredible...it's not just the talent that is required to be the star quarterback of the #1 team in college football. What makes these players incredible is what we all witnessed that night in Atlanta.
Humility. Respect. Never Giving Up. And the true meaning of what it means to be a team.
Jalen Hurts could've left Alabama. He could've signed off on playing for the #1 team. He could've played practically at any other school he wanted, however, he chooses to stay. Not only did he stay, but he stayed with humility and showcased his true character for the football world to see. Jalen Hurts sat on the bench CHEERING the teammate on that replaced him. He didn't cry, he didn't blame someone else. He instead showed us all the humility that this young player had.
Tua was the first to congratulate Jalen after the SEC Championship win last weekend. The teammates respected one another, and it wasn't just a fake smile for the audience. What we witnessed was why we all love the game of football. The platform of these young quarterbacks reminded the nation of what sports is meant to be. What we witnessed was the true showcase of what "teamwork" really means.
Jalen Hurts is the definition of overcoming defeat. What we saw that night was special. We all witnessed someone work their butt off from the ground up to lead the #1 team to a championship. What we saw was Jalen Hurts putting his faith in God, and letting him lead him. And God, as always, didn't disappoint.
Thank you, Jalen Hurts.