I got into a conversation with my kids the other day about what Auburn football Saturdays looked like when I was a child. I’m 41 years-old, so I didn’t exactly grow up in the dark ages. I was not around during the time of Jimmy Sidle or Tucker Fredrickson, but I do remember vividly Ralph “Shug” Jordan. I attended many games at Jordan-Hare Stadium prior to both upper decks going up. And I remember the trailer like press box that sat on the west side of the stadium.
But what I think about most when having these conversations is how much things have changed. Most of it has to do with technology. Times have changed so quickly; most of us never stop to look back. The way we ingest a football game and its coverage looks nothing like it did just a little more than a decade ago.
I explained to my kids that often times, we were lucky to see Auburn on television twice a year. Back in the 1970′s, ABC Sports aired a game of the week. We’d often get an Auburn-Tennessee or Auburn-Florida game and then usually the Iron Bowl. That was it – for the season.
The rest of the time was spent listening to Gary Sanders on the Auburn radio network. While I wouldn’t go back to those days, there was something special about listening to Sanders describe the action while I imagined how everything looked at Jordan-Hare.
Growing up, I lived 30 miles from Auburn. I would hop in the car with my Dad on Sunday mornings after a big win and drive to one of the gas stations on the outskirts of town to buy the Opelika-Auburn News, Montgomery Advertiser and The Birmingham News.
I can still smell those newspapers, hot off the press. A bright colored picture of Saturday’s hero greeted us on the front page. It’s an excitement that can’t be replicated with the internet. It’s hard to believe now, but often times, you had to wait until Sunday morning to find out who won games in other parts of the country. The paper actually carried news!
While it’s great to be nostalgic, what we are living through today is nothing short of amazing. Track’em Tigers couldn’t be fathomed 10 years ago. When I started my first Auburn football blog six years ago, I was one of only a handful of college football bloggers in the country. Today, SB Nation has revolutionized the platform we operate from and allowed readers to not only be part of the community, but also content providers. Technology has literally allowed us to create communities where we share thoughts and ideas and even influence decision makers.
Add in Facebook, Twitter, Google, podcasts, Kindles, iPads, XM Radio, etc., and suddenly college football is part of our lives 24/7, not just for three hours on Saturday afternoon. Nowadays, people get angry and change cable or satellite providers if a game is not in High Definition.
In my mind, nothing has changed the way we view college football more than big screen, high definition television sets available today. When I got married in 1993, I bought a 32-inch state-of-the-art television. At the time, it was the biggest and baddest set among my friends. It had picture-in-picture and special color presets for sporting events. Fast forward to now and a 32-inch model is viewed as a small television.
I bought a 47-inch flatscreen Samsung last year. Like any card carrying man, I quickly notified my friends of the purchase and again laid claim to the baddest set in town. That lasted less than six months when another friend one-up’d me by buying a Samsung 55-inch LED-LCD-3D television. It didn’t matter that until then, I had no clue what an LED set was; I wanted one and fast. It’s the world we live in. My wife calls it sad. I call it nirvana.
As we’ve discussed here before, these mammoth HD big screens are really making fans question whether to make the trip to campus on game day. No matter how much better technology gets, you’ll never replicate the feel of college game day on campus. But with these technologies, you get damn close – and at a fraction of the cost of attending eight home games a season.
I have to admit, there’s few things better than sitting in my man cave, or Jay-Hare as I call it, on an Auburn football Saturday, watching 12 hours of games on the big screen with the temperature set at 68 degrees and the beer much colder.
Let’s face it, there’s never been a better time to be a college football fan.
Aren’t we lucky?