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Tide Players Looking Forward to NFL Experience



JACKSONVILLE, Fla. ?? There isn’t one college football player who does not dream of some day playing in the National Football League.

Members of the University of Alabama football team will share that NFL experience Saturday when the Crimson Tide meets the Florida State Seminoles at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium, the home of the NFLs Jacksonville Jaguars.

The trip to Jacksonville is Alabama’s first since closing the Gator Bowl with a 24-10 win over North Carolina on Dec. 31, 1993.  The FSU game will also mark Alabama’s first in an NFL stadium since a 20-16 loss to Minnesota in the Dec. 31, 2004 Music City Bowl, played at Adelphia Coliseum, the home of the Tennessee Titans.

UA senior defensive back Simeon Castille, who has a father (Jeremiah) and brother (Tim) with NFL experience, says the thought of playing in an NFL stadium is both exciting and opportunistic.

“I haven’t thought about it, but now that I think about it does excite me,” Castille said.  “The last time we played in an NFL stadium was the Music City Bowl in Nashville.  I am just excited about this game overall.  It’s going to be fun, I think with two top college programs getting together.  We are representing the SEC.  I can’t wait.

 “I definitely want to play in the NFL after I leave Alabama.  I guess I can try to get a little used to these types of stadiums this weekend.  Hopefully, I will be playing in a few of them in the years to come.”

Alabama senior wide receiver DJ Hall, who is rated No. 25 on NFL Draft expert Mel Kiper’s “Big Board” agrees with Castille and is looking forward to playing at the home of the Jaguars on Saturday.

 “It’s very exciting,” Hall said. “It gives me a look toward the future and what to expect. There will be a lot more fans there than a normal NFL game.  It gives you a lot to look forward to.”

Hall also said that playing a team of Florida State’s caliber and playing in an NFL stadium on national television could help both the Crimson Tide and his professional career.

 “This is the perfect game for that,” Hall added.  “There is no holding back.  If you want to shine, this is the perfect game to do it.”

Alabama junior quarterback John Parker Wilson is one of those players who have dreamed of playing in the NFL.  On Saturday, he will get that NFL stadium experience in Jacksonville.

 “It’s pretty exciting to go and get a chance to play in an NFL stadium,” Wilson said.  “When I was young I dreamed of playing in the NFL and now I will have the opportunity to play in an NFL stadium this weekend.  This is a great opportunity for the team.”

While the list of Crimson Tide players who have seen an NFL game in person is short, the number of NFL stadiums in which the Crimson Tide has played over the years is quite impressive. 

Alabama has played at least one game in 24 NFL stadiums, making its NFL stadium debut on Nov. 4, 1922 with a 9-7 win over Penn at Franklin Field in Philadelphia.  The win took on even greater importance for Southern football when the Crimson Tide pulled off the upset win over on of college football’s dominant teams. In all, Alabama has played in an NFL stadium in 14 different states, plus the District of Columbia. 

Stadium  City  Team  Last Alabama Game 
Aloho Stadium  Honolulu, Hawaii  NFL Pro Bowl  Lost to Hawaii, 37-29 (2003) 
Astrodome  Houston, Texas  Houston Oilers
Houston Astros (MLB)  
Tied Oklahoma, 24-24 (1970 Bluebonnet Bowl)   
Braves Field   Boston, Mass.  Boston Redskins (1932)
Boston Red Sox (MLB)
World Series 
Lost to Boston College, 13-7 (1946)
The Coliseum  Nashville, Tenn.  Tennessee Titans  Lost to Minnesota, 20-16 (2004 Music City Bowl) 
Cotton Bowl   Dallas, Texas  Dallas Cowboys  Beat Texas Tech, 13-10 (2006) 
Foxboro Stadium   Foxboro, Mass.  New England Patriots  Lost to Boston College, 20-13 (1983)  
Franklin Field   Philadelphia, Penn.   Philadelphia Eagles  Beat Penn, 7-6 (1922) 
Georgia Dome  Atlanta, Ga.  Atlanta Falcons 
Super Bowl
Beat Florida, 34-7 (1999 SEC Championship Game)
Griffith Stadium   Washington, D.C.  Washington Redskins
Wasington Senators (MLB
MLB World Series 
Beat George Washington, 19-0 (1937) 
Jacksonville Municipal Stadium  Jacksonville, Fla.  Jacksonville Jaguars
Super Bowl 
vs. Florida State (2007) 
Joe Robbie Stadium  Miami, Fla.  Miami Dolphins
Florida Marlins (MLB)
Super Bowl
MLB World Series 
Lost to Michigan, 35-34 (OT) (2000 Orange Bowl) 
Kezar Stadium  San Francisco, Calif.  San Francisco 49ers  Beat St. Mary's, 6-0 (1932) 
LA Coliseum  Los Angeles, Calif.  Los Angeles Raiders
Los Angeles Rams
Los Angeles Dodgers (MLB)
Super Bowl and World Series 
Beat USC, 21-20 (1977) 
Orange Bowl  Miami, Fla.  Miami Dolphins 
Super Bowl
Lost to Notre Dame, 13-11 (1975 Orange Bowl) 
Polo Grounds  New York, N.Y. New York Giants 
MLB World Series
Beat Fordam, 7-6 (1939) 
Stadium City  Houston, Texas  Super Bowl  Lost to Rice, 20-13 (1956) 
Riverfront Stadium  Cincinnati, Ohio  Cincinnati Bengals
Cincinnati Reds (MLB) 
MLB World Series
Beat Cincinnati, 29-7 (1984) 
Rose Bowl  Los Angeles, Calif.  Super Bowl  Lost to UCLA, 35-24 (2,000) 
Sun Devil Stadium  Tempe, Ariz.  Phoenix Cardinals
Super Bowl 
Lost to Louisville, 34-7 (1991 Fiesta Bowl) 
Superdome  New Orleans, La. New Orleans Saints
Super Bowl 
Beat Miami, 34-13 (1993 Sugar Bowl) 
Tampa Stadium  Tampa, Fla.  Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Super Bowl 
Beat Michigan, 17-14 (1997 Outback Bowl) 
Tulane Stadium  New Orleans, La.  New Orleans Saints  Lost to Notre Dame, 24-23 (1973) 
The Meadowlands  East Rutherford, N.J.  New York Giants
New York Jets 
Beat Ohio State, 16-10 (1998 Kickoff Classic) 
Veterans Stadium   Philadelphia, Penn.  Philadelphia Eagles
Philadelphia Phillies (MLB)
MLB World Series 
Beat Temple, 37-0 (1988) 

*Alabama has also played at Husky Stadium (Seattle, Wash.), Liberty Bowl (Memphis, Tenn.), Tiger Stadium (Baton Rouge, La.) and Vanderbilt Stadium (Nashville, Tenn.) which have all served as temporary homes to NFL teams.