• 70°

The Iron Bowl belongs on Saturday

By By Bob Martin, The Alabama Scene
It used to be that Alabama and Auburn played football games on Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. or within an hour or so of that time. Now when you get your college game day tickets there’s no time or date printed on them. That’s because cable and network television have taken over college football and the executives at those organizations, which make big bucks off our public colleges and universities, dictate just about every aspect of the game including when the game is played.
Now I hear that they plan, in concert with the officials of our two big universities, to move the next two Iron Bowl games from Saturday back to Friday of Thanksgiving week. The universities have run into more than one objection to this. First, there are the merchants and retailers of the business community which consider “Black Friday,” the day after Thanksgiving, as the biggest sales day of the year. Then there are the purists like me, who still believe football should be played at 2 p.m. on Saturdays, with exceptions for Bowl games.
I also suspect there are some swine-producing Aubs and toilet-tissue Tiders who just might have to work on Friday, even though it is Thanksgiving Weekend. These hard-working Alabamians deserve more from the pointy-headed pinheads of academia who have no problem attending a Friday-after-Thanksgiving afternoon game because it’s a holiday for colleges and universities.
But have no fear the corporate dollar machine is at work on our behalf. You see the day after Thanksgiving is when many retailers see their first profit of the year. It is also the traditional kickoff to the holiday shopping season and heavily promoted with deep discounts, extended hours and give-a-ways to attract throngs of shoppers. Believe me retailers don’t want to give that up with Mrs. Saban and Mrs. Chizik pulling thumbs in the stands for their favorite teams when there is merchandise to be sold on Main Street.
And as Nick Saban tells us about Terry Saban, via the News: “First of all, you’ll have to ask her. She makes her own decisions about what she does. She doesn’t miss very many games. When you think as a head coach, you don’t even think that missing a game is an option.” So by gauging those few words carefully we now know Mrs. Saban won’t be shopping during the game so the retail association can’t count on her contributing to the Black Friday crowds.
The bad economy already has been terrible for retailers across the state and nation, as bankruptcies and closed businesses dot the landscape. State and local governments that count on spikes in sales tax revenue generated on Black Friday also would probably feel the impact of the game shift according to city officials with whom we have spoken in Montgomery.
As bad as the economic woes have been for retailers and government services funded by sales taxes, colleges, universities and media mongols shouldn’t be making the situation worse.
President makes right decision
It was difficult this past week not to become enthralled with the saga on the seas in the Indian Ocean Sunday where pirates were holding the captain of the merchant ship Maersk Alabama in a small lifeboat demanding ransom money.
Although a small incident compared to the wars in which we are engaged, it was a situation which would test the mettle of the new President in the eyes of many. Although playing down the situation in public, the White House worked day and night behind the scenes to resolve the crisis.
Acting with the Presidents’ prior authorization and in the belief that the hostage, Capt. Richard Phillips, was in imminent danger of being killed by captors armed with pistols and AK-47s, seal snipers on the fantail of the destroyer Bainbridge opened fire and picked off the three captors. A fourth had previously surrendered.
I believe the captain would testify that the President and the Navy Seals met the test.
Bob Martin is editor and publisher of The Montgomery Independent. E-mail him at: bob@montgomeryindependent.com