Tuesday, January 27, 2015

BUCKET LIST UPDATE No. 195: Take the kids to the Senior Bowl in Mobile

Saturday's 66th Annual Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala.
Prior to last Saturday, the only Senior Bowl I’d ever been to in person was the 1995 Senior Bowl. I went with my friend Eric Byrd from Goodway, Ala., and we saw such football greats as Steve McNair, Derrick Brooks, Jay Barker, Dan Reeves and Ted Marchibroda. I’ve come close to going back several times since then, but lately I’ve really wanted to back now that my kids are old enough to enjoy and appreciate the experience.

I officially put “Take my kids to the Senior Bowl in Mobile” on my “bucket list” a couple of years ago after a conversation with Evergreen, Ala. postal carrier Charles Roache. Charles told me that he and his son – standout Conecuh County athlete, Keyshawn Roache – had a longstanding tradition of going to the Senior Bowl together every year. The way Charles talked about it, this tradition sounded pretty cool, and I wanted to be sure that my kids got at least a taste of what the Senior Bowl is all about.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Senior Bowl, it’s a post-season college football all-star game played in Mobile, Ala. that features two teams, the South and the North. Both teams are coached by the coaching staffs of two NFL teams, and the game typically features a number of outstanding NFL draft prospects. It’s a sure bet that if you’re watching the Senior Bowl, you’re also watching more than a few future NFL Hall of Famers.

This year’s Senior Bowl was the 66th Annual Senior Bowl, and it was played Saturday at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, where the game has been played every year since 1951, when it moved to Mobile after one year in Jacksonville, Fla. The game kicked off at 3 p.m. and the North ended up winning, 34-14. Total attendance was 36,471, and the game ended at 6:15 p.m.

Nebraska running back Ameer Abdullah was named the game’s MVP. Utah outside linebacker Nate Orchard was named the North team’s Most Outstanding Player, and Florida State offensive guard Tre’ Jackson was the South team’s Most Outstanding Player. Tennessee Titans head coach Ken Whisenhunt was the head coach for the South team, and Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley was the head coach for the North. The game was televised on the NFL Network.

My wife and kids seemed to have a good time on Saturday, and this was helped by liberal amounts of soft drinks, nachos and cheese and French fries. (I scored a beer and a $5 program.) Past Senior Bowls became known for bad weather, and the worst part about last Saturday was the cold weather. It was sunny and 57 degrees at kickoff, but those of in the shade and facing the 17-mph north wind had a tough time. Next year, we’ll be sitting on the east side of the stadium or in the north end zone.

In the end, how many of you have ever been to the Senior Bowl? How many have you been to in all? What big stars to you remember seeing before they hit the big time in the NFL? Let us know in the comments section below.

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