Our All-Time Alabama football team including the two best players at every position in Alabama football history.
How can you pick the best of the best of Alabama football when so many college football legends have worn crimson and white? It certainly wasn’t easy to do, but we’ve put together our list of the best players to ever play Alabama football at each position. Will your favorites make the list?
Important disclaimer: as the game of football changes, so do some of the positions and what we call them. Harry Gilmer was technically a halfback. Don Hutson wasn’t listed as a wide receiver on a depth chart because the position didn’t exist yet. It’s up for debate whether Ozzie Newsome was a tight end or a wide receiver in college. In these cases, we did our best to shake out players into the positions they would’ve played in the modern game.
When we ranked quarterbacks we gave the top spot to Harry Gilmer over all the other great options, and we’re holding strong to that on the all-time team. Harry Gilmer basically invented the jump pass. Sure, he was technically a halfback, but since he ran a single wing offense and passed for nearly 3,000 yards in his career, we’re going to give him this roster spot anyway.
He was the MVP for the 1946 Rose Bowl win over USC and led the team to the fourth undefeated season in program history and a No. 2 overall ranking. Gilmer’s 13 touchdown passes that season were the most in the country.
Harry Gilmer was selected by the Washington Redskins with the first overall pick in the 1948 NFL draft. In his eight-year NFL career, he was a two-time Pro Bowl selection.
Joe Namath took the reins from Pat Trammell in 1961 and built on the success that Trammell and Bryant had already had. In his first season as a starter, Alabama football went 9-1 in the regular season (including a shutout win over Auburn where Namath was responsible for three touchdowns) and beat Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl.
Namath was the quarterback on the 1964 national title team and was a team captain. Take a look at these Namath highlights:
After leaving Alabama to go pro, Namath was the number twelve pick in the 1964 NFL Draft and the number one pick in that year’s AFL Draft. He went to the AFL and the Jets signed him to what was, at the time, the largest rookie contract in history. He is also the man behind Bear Bryant’s original houndstooth hat.
The Snake is an Alabama football (and Oakland Raider) legend. He managed to be a personality long before college students branded themselves with social media or were constantly followed by the camera in everyone’s pocket.
His career at Alabama left him with a national championship ring as a backup and a ring-less undefeated season as a starter. While at Oakland, he became the third Alabama football quarterback to win a Super Bowl (joining Joe Namath and Bart Starr).
The run in the mud his senior year will continue to outlive our beloved Snake as the play that exemplifies his toughness, his elusiveness, his determination, and his legacy. But even Stabler can’t compete with Joe Namath’s two titles or Harry Gilmer’s versatility.
If we had an all-time best list for radio announcers, though, the top spot would definitely belong to Ken Stabler (with all due respect to Eli Gold).
Pat Trammell was Bear Bryant’s first star. He was recruited by Georgia Tech’s Bobby Dodd but instead followed Bear Bryant to Tuscaloosa to revive an Alabama football program that had fallen on hard times.
Trammell spent three years as the starting quarterback and his 26 wins are still fourth best in program history for a starting quarterback. He was 1961 SEC Player of the Year and an Academic All-American.
His presence on Bryant’s first recruiting class and his leadership both on and off the field served as a catalyst for the Crimson Tide’s success in the modern era. His winning ways and 1961 perfect season reminded the college football world that the Tide had been low, but they certainly hadn’t gone anywhere.
Trammell still holds two Alabama football school records – lowest career and single-season interception percentage.