Alabama Football to Witness a Rarity Not Seen Since 1983

Thanks to subpar play by a former legendary Auburn quarterback in the NFL, the Alabama Crimson Tide fans are on the verge of seeing something not seen since the year legendary coach Paul "Bear" Bryant retired.

And that's two former Crimson Tide quarterbacks facing each other during an NFL game. In all, three former Tide quarterbacks will make their NFL season-opening debuts in 12 days

Former Tide quarterbacks Tua Tagovailoa and Mac Jones are scheduled to face each other on Sept. 12 during Week 1 of the 2021 NFL season, barring injury or COVID protocols.

Mac Jones and Tua Tagovailoa
Tua Tagovailoa #13 and Mac Jones #10 of the Alabama Crimson Tide celebrate the touchdown in the first quarter during the College Football Playoff Semifinal against the Oklahoma Sooners at the Capital One Orange Bowl at Hard Rock Stadium on December 29, 2018 in Miami, Florida. Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The New England Patriots cut quarterback Cam Newton on Tuesday to trim its roster to 53 players, and rookie Mac Jones will start against the Miami Dolphins, who are led by Tagovailoa.

Newton was the Heisman Trophy quarterback who led Auburn to an undefeated national championship season in 2010, which was sandwiched between Alabama titles in 2009 and 2011.

Jones led Alabama to a national championship last year in a COVID-shortened season, and he was a Heisman finalist. During his tenure at Alabama, he backed up Jalen Hurts and Tagovailoa. In the 2017 season, Tagovailoa came off the bench in the second half as a freshman in the national championship game to win a title against Georgia in overtime.

No two former Alabama quarterbacks have met in an NFL game since 1983 when the New York Jets (Richard Todd) beat the New Orleans Saints (Kenny Stabler), 31-28, on Monday Night Football at the Louisiana Superdome.

Legendary Alabama coach Bear Bryant retired following the 1982 season, and he died in 1983—about 10 months before Todd and Stabler faced each other.

Jalen Hurts is another Alabama quarterback who's projected to start on the NFL's opening weekend, making it three former Crimson Tide signal callers. Hurts, who has been named the starter for the Philadelphia Eagles, was the starter in the 2017 national championship game before Tagovailoa came in.

Hurts transferred to the University of Oklahoma for his final collegiate season, and he was later drafted by the Eagles to backup Carson Wentz. The Eagles traded Wentz to the Indianapolis Colts this last offseason, which opened the door for Hurts in Philly.

Alabama had become known as a university that produced "game managers" at quarterback after the likes of Joe Namath, Stabler and Todd. Former Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron is still in the NFL, most recently on the Atlanta Falcons roster, but now sidelined with an injury.

The college football season gets in full swing this week with a slew of games. Alabama, which is the preseason No. 1 team, will face the Miami Hurricanes on Saturday in Atlanta.

The NFL season kicks off Sept. 9 with the Dallas Cowboys visiting the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The first full Sunday slate of games will be Sept. 12.