Croyle will be forgotten
Justin Schuver, Sports Editor
Brodie Croyle was sacked 11 times on the field in Saturday's Iron Bowl.
But the senior quarterback might not have just lost his bearings or his lunch, he might have also lost his chance at football immortality at the Capstone.
Throughout his life, Croyle never backed down from any adversity. He was asked to quarterback his Class 1A high school football starting as an eighth grader, and his freshman year helped lead them to Birmingham's Super Six. Over his first four seasons at Westbrook Christian School in Rainbow City, he set then-state records for passing yards in a career and passing touchdowns in a career, among others.
Heading into his senior season, he had the opportunity to put his records out of reach, but a fluke injury in Westbrook's first game against Glencoe made certain that Croyle's next game would be at a college football stadium.
The question was which stadium, and the answer evolved over a recruiting frenzy as schools from Seattle to Miami fought over the prized prospect. In the end, Croyle stayed with his heart and followed in his dad's footsteps to the campus of Tuscaloosa.
We all know what's happened since then, as Croyle and the rest of his teammates have had to endure coaching changes, probation and a fanbase rapidly becoming worried that Alabama's glory years were becoming ancient history.
And that was just off the field. On the field, things weren't going much better for Croyle, with injuries hobbling him throughout 2003 and ending his season just a few games into 2004.
Yet even despite those injuries and despite playing for a team whose talent base had been decimated by probation, Croyle still managed to set the Alabama Crimson Tide record for touchdown passes in his career – a record previously held by his current coach.
Although Croyle remained healthy this season, the Alabama passing game still wasn't quite at 100 percent this season after the injury to star receiver Tyrone Prothro. For Croyle, it seemed that whenever things seemed like they were going smoothly, disaster would strike.
Disaster has certainly struck in the Tide's most recent losses to LSU and Auburn. Alabama has gone from worrying about being left out of the Rose Bowl to worrying about being left out of the BCS to worrying about if the team will even be up for its second-tier bowl game all in a matter of two weeks.
If I know Brodie Croyle, he isn't one to make excuses – in his mind, he blames himself as the sole reason for those two losses. Yet the fact still remains that Alabama receivers dropped plenty of passes against LSU and that the Auburn defense sacked Croyle an incredible 11 times Saturday.
It is hard to pass when you're bracing yourself for a collision mere seconds after taking the snap.
None of that matters now, though. What matters is that when it's all said and done, even with all the records, Brodie Croyle might be remembered as little more than an also-ran in the annals of Alabama football.
What matters is that Croyle never won a game against Auburn, never led Alabama to an SEC or national championship, and never quite lived up to his considerable recruiting hype.
What matters is that Alabama fans have already moved on to the next golden boy, whether he's freshman John Parker Wilson or star recruit Tim Tebow.
When Croyle arrived at Alabama, he showed no fear in embracing the pressure to perform when he took Joe Namath's old No. 12 for his own. It is hard to believe right now that Croyle will ever be mentioned in the same breath as Namath, or Kenny Stabler, or Bart Starr, or even Jay Barker.
Instead, Croyle will be lamented as another bust in a long range of quarterbacks like Freddie Kitchens, Andrew Zow and Tyler Watts. Had Alabama finished this season undefeated or as SEC Champions, Croyle might have had the chance to write his name along with the other Alabama greats.
Instead, unfairly or not, he'll just be a footnote.