Tommy Brooker: Bryant didn’t say much before AU

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 19, 2003

There is no other like it anywhere. It has the power to force families apart and ruin friendly relationships.

One game between two schools that happens once a year to decide who is the better team in the state of Alabama. And though the rival has changed over the years there are still a few who remember a time, not that long ago, when the gridiron classic Auburn Alabama rival game was the only game that mattered.

Demopolis native Tommy Brooker remembers it all too well. Brooker graduated from Demopolis High school in 1958 and went on to play for coaching legend, Paul "Bear" Bryant at the University of Alabama from 1959-1961 and was a member of the 1961 National Championship team.

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But while winning a national championship was something Brooker will treasure for all his years, kicking the winning field goal in 1960 to beat Auburn 3-0 was better

"It was the ultimate. I still remember the headlines in the paper the next day that read, ‘Brooker Boots Bama to Blue Bonnet,’" Brooker said.

During his years at Alabama, the Tide beat Auburn three straight and Brooker feels that it was coach Bryant that made them want that game more than any other.

Although Brooker knew that coach Bryant enjoyed beating Tennessee just as much if not more than Auburn, he never had use too many words to inspire his team to beat Auburn

"I remember he would say something like, ‘Boys, one day your going to get old and have grand children sitting on your lap in your old rocking chair and your little angel is going to look at you one day and ask you a very simple question. Grand Paw, how come you didn’t beat Auburn? What are you going to tell your grand-baby then?’ And that was enough, in fact I wish someone would have told them boys the same thing this past Saturday," Brooker said.

Brooker knows that things have changed over the years but his desire to beat Auburn is still there.

While both teams have had disappointing seasons thus far and neither are in contention for a national championship or even an SEC championship, Brooker knows from experience that during Auburn week everything else it out the window.

According to Brooker, the week of the Iron Bowl was perhaps the most intense week a player endured all season but winning the game made it all worth it.