I may never play football but I can say that I held the
National Championship Trophy!
This picture was taken on December 6, 2000 at the Feast on the Fifty, the pre-game kickoff party for the 2001 Orange Bowl, which was for the BCS National Championship before the current +1 format, where Oklahoma defeated FSU 13-2 on January 3, 2001 at Pro Player Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. As usual, I was one of the first to arrive. When I got to the field, I found the $30,000 Waterford Crystal AFCA National Championship Trophy (then known as the Sears Trophy) just sitting there unattended and convinced my friend to take this picture (we also got one of him holding it). Shortly after this picture was taken, one of the stadium attendants was posted by the trophy so everyone wouldn’t pick it up. Since then, I have never seen it left unattended.
The Feast on the Fifty was the predecessor to today’s kickoff party at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. It was much more fun since you got to be on the playing field – an opportunity that rarely presents itself. Since this was in the pre-9/11 days, security was pretty lax which allowed me to roam around the tunnels under the stadium. I went and visited the locker rooms, dugouts, etc. Nobody seemed to care. I miss those days.
As the game was in Florida, almost everybody in attendance was following Bobby Bowden around and Bob Stoops was just hanging around with nothing to do. That gave me a great opportunity to talk to him at length about football and his time under Steve Spurrier at Florida. I also was able to get this picture with him: