ESPN Films Review: Roll Tide/War Eagle

bama_originalI would like to consider myself to be a sports fan.  I grew up in a baseball town (that just won it’s 11th World Series Championship I might add) and played ice hockey for basically my whole life.  Those are my two sports, whereas if it wasn’t for fantasy football I would have zero interest in football all together.  So that being said, I do somewhat follow the NFL, at least more so than college football.  Maybe because I grew up in a city where professional sports dominated, maybe because I never played football, it could be a number of reasons, but I have just never gotten into it.  I know of the rivalries but I know nothing of the history behind them.  That being said, I feel like this documentary was for the people like me.  I knew of the rivalry between Auburn and Alabama but I had no idea it went as far as it did.  I also knew that Auburn fans like to yell War Eagle but I had no idea why.  I also had no idea just how big Cam Newton’s accomplishments last year were to the state of Alabama.  Now I fully understand what college football means to Alabama and why the rivalry is so strong.

Cam Newton is having a phenomenal rookie season in the NFL this year, that took everyone outside of Auburn by surprise.  As I stated before I had no idea that the rivalry between these two schools was so strong and since I ignorant of all of this, I had no idea just how big of a deal the last two seasons of College football have been for football fans in the state of Alabama.  Despite my lack of college football knowledge I was aware that Mark Ingram had won the Heisman trophy in 2009, and Cam Newton won it the following year (last year).  I was also aware of the fact that Alabama had won the BCS championship in 2009 and Auburn won it the foll0wing year (last year).  What I was not aware of though was the impact that had on the rivalry and how important that was to both of these schools and more importantly, their fans.  Throughout the history of these two schools, Alabama has always come out on top.  They win the Iron Bowl (the last game of the regular season when Auburn plays Alabama) practically every year and they have won 11 national championships, but last year was Auburn’s year, and in the face of every Alabama fan they interviewed you could see it.

What really made this documentary as good as it was were the fans.  These fans are serious, and their hatred of one another is down right frightening.  I really enjoyed when, in between commercials, Martin Khodabakhshian the director of the documentary, was talking about the title he chose.  People were down right angry that it was Roll Tide/War Eagle, and not War Eagle/Roll Tide.  The people of the state of Alabama either love Auburn and hate Alabama or vice versa, there is no in between.  The story of what has taken place over the last two years between these schools is legendary and will probably never play out the same way ever again.  There was a moment when they were interviewing one of the husband and wife couples who are divided by the rivalry, and the husband who was a Bama fan was speaking about the BCS championship game of 2009.  The man spoke saying basically that he felt bad for the Auburn fans because they had to be thinking “when are we ever going to win one, they are just killing us” and as he finished saying that we see Cam Newton by himself holding a football in his hands.  That moment sent goosebumps through my spine, not only when I witnessed it but even now as I am writing about it.  This documentary felt like it would have been more appropriate to show in the lead up to Iron Bowl that has yet to take place this season, but it was still very entertaining and I personally am thrilled to see how the Iron Bowl plays out this year, even though Auburn has no chance now that Cam Newton is in the NFL.

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