Alabama has won 12 national championships and 21 Southeastern Conference championships and begins its 111th season of football on September 2 as it hosts Hawai'i in the newly renovated Bryant-Denny Stadium.
The 84-page magazine, with a limited press run of 432,000 copies, will begin hitting news stands today and will be sold throughout the state of Alabama at a cover price of $6.99. The SupeStore on the UA campus received 10,000 copies on Monday.
The cover features a photo of Joe Namath and Paul 'Bear' Bryant bordered by a montage of Alabama photos with the billing: "Alabama...A Celebration Of Crimson Tide Football."
Highlights of the special issue include:
* The Very Heart of Alabama: In a state where football means so much, each new season raises fresh hopes and dreams, but one thing is ever constant: The larger-than-life presence of Paul 'Bear' Bryant, the big man in the houndstooth hat.
* The Greatest Story Ever Told: From its creation in 1892, Alabama football has become darn near a religion. SI takes a look at the saints, sinners and gridiron gods of the tide's first 66 years.
* Fruits of Victory: From the pages of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, a look
back at Alabama's last seven championship teams including:
o 1961: A Sugar Bowl win sealed the first championship in 20 years.
o 1964: The Tide earned the title with a 21-14 Iron Bowl victory.
o 1965: An undersized defense upset unbeaten Nebraska.
o 1973: Alabama trounced LSU on Thanksgiving to take No.1.
o 1978: The Tide shut down Penn State in the Sugar Bowl.
o 1979: A 24-9 win over Arkansas delivered another title.
o 1992: Alabama halted Miami's winning streak to become No.1.
* The All-Time Alabama Team: The cream of the Crimson Tide? It's quite a roll (tide) call. SI names Alabama's All-Time Lineup. Let the debate begin.
* "The Iron Bowl" The Battle of Alabama: Choosing sides for "The Iron Bowl" is no joke, as one outsider discovered.
* The Gridiron King: In 1981, 68-year-old Paul 'Bear' Bryant was in his 24th season in Tuscaloosa and poised to break Amos Alonzo Stagg's all-time record for coaching victories.
* Alexander The Great: The reigning NFL MVP shares his favorite Alabama memories.
Reprints of the cover of this special issue, as well as other classic SI covers featuring Alabama, can be purchased at www.sicovers.com.