Rivalries are the best thing about sports, but one rivalry stands above the rest.
That rivalry is known as the “Iron Bowl.” Played in the steel capital of the South (Birmingham, Alabama) for most of its history, the football games between Alabama and Auburn shifted to campuses starting in 2000. Since then, the intensity of the rivalry has become even more palpable. (RELATED: SEC Week 13 Preview: Rivalry Weekend)
No rivalry has given us better games than Alabama-Auburn. From “The Kick” to “The Kick Six,” this rivalry has given us more iconic moments than any other rivalry in sports. However, it’s not just what happens on the field that makes this rivalry so intense, but off the field as well.
This rivalry is a 24/7, 365 days a year obsession in the state of Alabama. Most of the other top rivalries such as Ohio State-Michigan, Yankees-Red Sox, and Lakers-Celtics are rivalries that occur across state lines, and in the latter case, even across the coast. Sure, it’s painful to lose to your rival, but it’s much more painful when you have to share the same state with them.
This Saturday, Alabama and Auburn will once again take the field in Bryant-Denny Stadium. Despite Alabama winning the national championship in 2017, they have had to endure the past 365 days on the wrong side of this rivalry after Auburn’s 26-14 win a season ago. It has put a monkey on the back of Crimson Tide coaches, players, and fans. Auburn rewarded head coach Gus Malzahn with a controversial seven-year, $49 million contract during a season where Auburn lost four games. That’s the power of this game.
That’s the power of this rivalry.
That’s what makes this game the greatest rivalry in all of sports.