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first_imgAlabama football fan holds up cigar during game vs. Tennessee.TUSCALOOSA, AL – OCTOBER 21: A fan holds up a cigar as they celebrate in the final seconds of the Alabama Crimson Tide 45-7 win over the Tennessee Volunteers at Bryant-Denny Stadium on October 21, 2017 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)After Alabama football knocks off longtime rival Tennessee, Crimson Tide players smoke cigars in the locker room.The tradition dates back to the 1960s, when the rivalry had been tilted in the other direction. Alabama had been winless in the series over the previous six years (five Tennessee wins and one tie) in 1961, when the Crimson Tide broke through for a 34-3 win.After the game, trainer Jim Goostree passed cigars around to the Alabama players to celebrate the big victory.That became Alabama tradition after the Tennessee game, and one that the Vols have inherited as well, although you have to go all the way back to 2006 for the last UT win in the series. Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide have never lost to Tennessee.The most recent instance of Alabama football’s cigar celebration had extra meaning, thanks to Butch Jones.The former Tennessee head coach was fired last year, having never had the chance to celebrate a win against Alabama. He is now on staff under Nick Saban, got a Gatorade bath after the win, and then photos of his cigar celebration went understandably viral.SMOKE EM IF YOU GOT EM COACH JONES #RollTIde pic.twitter.com/iQa11oN42F— Chris Owens (@BGChrisOwens) October 20, 2018In the days following yet another Alabama win over the Vols, a Tennessee columnist is calling for the tradition to be abolished.Knoxville News Sentinel columnist Jack McElroy went deep on the health risks associated with cigar smoke, in arguing that it should no longer happen after games in the rivalry.Next year, Tennessee plays Alabama in Tuscaloosa, and if players want to spew toxins into Bryant–Denny Stadium, fine.But the following year, when the Tide tries to blow smoke into the Vols’ house, stop them.Better yet, win the game, then Tennessee can eschew the foolish display, which really started with bad Bama behavior anyway.McElroy cites NCAA rules barring smoking by game personnel, a smoking ban on UT’s campus (Alabama is also a smoke-free campus), and even Nick Saban’s own feelings on smoking in the argument.Saban was initially against the tradition when he took over the Alabama job, but has since softened on it. From AL.com, after the 2013 Alabama win on the Third Saturday in October:“I know it’s something that a lot of people really enjoy,” he said. “It’s not a tradition I started. It’s a tradition that was here that the players have continued. I think it’s something they have fun with. I’m happy that they do. Not really something that I’m interested in.”Saban doesn’t smoke cigars after wins against Tennessee, and obviously no player who doesn’t want to do so should be forced to. It doesn’t sound like that is something that goes on.If Tennessee wants to crack down on it, they can, but ditching college football rivalries is not usually viewed super kindly. As McElroy says at the end of his piece, the actual best solution here is for Tennessee to start to compete in this game.[Knoxville News Sentinel]last_img


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