“AGAINST THE TIDE” TO AIR ON SHOWTIME
Friday, November 15, 2013
10:00 P.M. EST/7:00 PST
In his 2007 book One Night, Two Teams: Alabama vs. USC and the Game that Changed a Nation (paperback, 2010):
Debuting on Friday, November 15, 2013 at 10:00 P.M. EST, 7:00 PST, SHOWTIME poses the same premise in Against the Tide, a riveting new sports documentary narrated by former USC athlete TOM SELLECK. To view the trailer:
By STEVEN TRAVERS
Foreword by Forrest Gump author Winston Groom
A division of Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
COPYRIGHT (2007) BY STEVEN TRAVERS
FRONT AND BACK DUSTCOVERS
September 1970. In the words of legendary Los Angeles Times sports columnist Jim Murray, a group of "hostile black and white American citizens" invaded Birmingham, Alabama to do battle against an equally hostile group of white American citizens. The event could have gone either way. A riot could have ensued. Blood could have been spilled.
The battle did not take place at the Edmund Pettus Bridge. Bull Connor did not preside over the scene. George Wallace did not stand in the way. Instead of a riot, a fairly played football game took place between the University of Southern California Trojans and the University of Alabama Crimson Tide, on a sweltering hot late summer night at the venerable Legion Field.
The Good Lord, as they say, works in mysterious ways. He picks ordinary, often flawed people, among them sinners, prostitutes, tax collectors and adulterers, to be his prophets and disciples. On this night, God's vessel would be a young black football player from Santa Barbara, California named Sam "Bam" Cunningham.
This book tells the story of how the Greek ideals of Platonic justice combined with Christian righteousness, free market capitalism and American Democracy, effectuated the only real change that ever matters - a change of heart - on an entire region: the South. It allowed America to come together as only she can, more than a century after the Civil War. After years of protests, speeches and demonstrations, a tipping point was reached; social movements that historically took years, decades, even centuries, happen with lightning speed in the Promised Land that is America!
This is the story of how one game finally "turned the tide" of segregation in the South once and for all. It is the story of how suspicious white and black USC teammates became a family of warriors, and how the team they defeated helped their fans to finally rise to the moral righteousness their Bibles taught them since childhood. Thus, the power of Christianity was the impetus for the Deep South to pay heed to what Abraham Lincoln called "the better angels of our nature" and, in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., to "live up to its creed that all people are created equal."
In the succeeding years, USC and Alabama dominated college football. The Republican Party helped to husband the South into the mainstream of our political system. The game was all but forgotten, its impact understood only by those who dig deep for such nuggets of Americana. Now, the story is spreading like Christ's Sermon on the Mount. Today, the tale is this book, the College Sports TV documentary “Tackling Segregation,” and soon a major motion picture. The story explains more succinctly the country we live in than any other tale told by columnists or know-it-all "talking heads." This is the story of Truth and the redemptive powers of change.
This work brings you into the locker room where coach Paul "Bear" Bryant may or may not have declared to his beaten team that Cunningham was "what a football player looks like." It describes the "new breed" of black athletes influenced by the militancy of the Vietnam era. The entire story - the history that preceded it, the machinations that surrounded it, and the sea change that occurred after it - are tied together through the research, probing interviews and writing of historian Steven Travers (author of The USC Trojans: College Football's All-Time Greatest Dynasty and Trojans Essential: Everything You Need to Know to be a Real Fan!). The author is a USC graduate whose unique love for his school's legacy shines forth in this monumental book. Travers successfully links Greek ideals and Christian love to modern America, demonstrating that de-segregation was not a unique movement, but the result of centuries of philosophical evolution. This work, which combines theology and philosophy using the Socratic method of questioning, tackles the monumental task of exploring the nature of good and evil as it affects the ordinary decisions of men. Travers is also one of the last journalists to have interviewed deceased former USC coaches John McKay and Marv Goux before they passed away. The captured memories of these events shed great light on this story. The book intersperses the "Other Voices" of the men who lived it with the New Journalism non-narrative style of the author.
2005 was the 35th anniversary of that game, and Travers demonstrates in this work how the events of September 1970 explain much of what we now know about "red staves" vs. "blue states." He also goes to great pains to give a fair, balanced journalistic account of history, giving appropriate attention to both the USC and Alabama (or Northern vs. Southern) sides. Travers posits a unique political theory he calls the "Orange Countification" of the South, demonstrating that the "palatability" of two California Republicans, Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, helped pave the way for the political moderation of the region.
Travers also reaches the conclusion that Bryant was a Lincolnesque figure; a quiet hero of the civil rights movement. His friend John McKay is portrayed as a modern Moses of progressivism when it came to providing opportunities for black athletes in the 1960s. However, he gives free reign to the opinions of others: white and black; Yankee and Dixie. September 1970 is viewed through the prism of football as a metaphor for a changing America. This game was a seminal moment in which liberalism and conservatism met at the 50-yard line, in many ways for the last time. The winner was America.
Praise for Steven Travers
Steve Travers is the next great USC historian, in the tradition of Jim Murray, John Hall, and Mal Florence! . . . the Trojan Family needs your work. Fight On!
—USC Head Football Coach Pete Carroll
In this book . . . USC graduate Steve Travers tells us all about the exciting and remarkable football contest that not only changed the way the game is played; it changed the way Southern whites looked at their black brethren, and therefore changed the world.
—Winston Groom, author of Forrest Gump
Steve Travers combines wit, humor, social pathos and historical knowledge with the kind of sports expertise that only an ex-jock is privy to; it is reminiscent of the work of Jim Bouton, Pat Jordan and Dan Jenkins, combined with Jim Murray’ turn of phrase, Hunter Thompson’s hard-scrabble Truths, and David Halberstam’s unique take on our nation’s place in history. His writing is great storytelling, and the result is pure genius every time.
—California sports media personality Mike McDowd
Steve Travers is a great writer, an educated athlete who knows how to get inside the player’s heads, and when that happens, greatness occurs. He’s gonna be a superstar.
—Dave Burgin/Ex-editor, San Francisco Examiner
Steve Travers is a phenomenal writer, an artist who labors over every word to get it just right, and he has an encyclopedic knowledge of sports and history.
Steve Travers is a Renaissance man.
—Jim Rome Show
He is very qualified to continue to write books such as this one. Good job.
—Marty Lurie/”Right Off the Bat” Oakland A’s Pregame Host
Steve’s a literate ex-athlete, an ex-Trojan, and a veteran of Hollywood, too.
—Lee “Hacksaw” Hamilton/XTRA Radio, San Diego
You’ve done some good writin’, dude.
—KFOG Radio, San Francisco
[Travers is] one of the great sportswriters on the current American scene.
—Joe Shea/Radio Talk Host and Editor
Travers appears to have the right credentials for the task.
—USA Today Baseball Weekly
A very interesting read which is not your average . . . book. . . . Steve has achieved his bona fides when it comes to having the credentials to write a book like this.
—Geoff Metcalfe/KSFO Radio, San Francisco
This is a fascinating book written by a man who knows his subject matter inside and out.
—Irv Kaze/KRLA Radio, Los Angeles
Travers . . . established himself as a writer of many dimensions . . . a natural.
—John Jackson/Ross Valley Reporter
Steve Travers is a true USC historian and a loyal Trojan!
—Former USC football player John Papadakis
Pete Carroll calls you “the next great USC historian,” high praise indeed.
- Rob Fukuzaki/ABC7, Los Angeles
Your a great writer and I always enjoy your musings. . . particularly on SC football - huge fan!
- Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane
One Night, Two Teams
Alabama vs. USC and the Game That Changed A Nation
Also written by Steven Travers
A’s Essential: Everything You Need to Know to Be A Real Fan!
Trojans Essential: Everything You Need to Know to Be A Real Fan!
Dodgers Essential: Everything You Need to Know to Be A Real Fan!
Angels Essential: Everything You Need to Know to Be A Real Fan!
D’Backs Essential: Everything You Need to Know to Be A Real
The USC Trojans: College Football's All-Time Greatest Dynasty
Raiders: The Good, the Bad & the Ugly
49ers: The Good, the Bad & the Ugly
Lakers: The Good, the Bad & the Ugly
Barry Bonds: Baseball’s Superman
College Football’s Top 25 All-Time Greatest Traditions
God's Country: A Conservative, Christian Worldview of How History Formed the United States Empire and America's Manifest Destiny for the 21st Century
Angry White Male
The Writer’s Life
ABOUT STEVEN TRAVERS
Steven Travers is a USC graduate and ex-professional baseball player. He is the author of the best-selling Barry Bonds: Baseball’s Superman, nominated for a Casey Award (best baseball book of 2002). He is also the author of The USC Trojans: College Football’s All-Time Greatest Dynasty (a National Book Network “top 100 seller”); College Football’s All-Time Top 25 Traditions; five books in the Triumph/Random House Essential series (A’s, Dodgers, Angels, D’backs, Trojans), as well as 49ers: The Good, the Bad & the Ugly and Raiders: The Good, the Bad & the Ugly. Steve was a columnist for StreetZebra magazine in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Examiner. He also penned the screenplay, The Lost Battalion. Travers coached at USC, Cal-Berkeley and in Europe; attended law school, served in the Army, and is a guest lecturer at the University of Southern California. Steve has a daughter, Elizabeth Travers and resides in California.
This book is dedicated to the Greek concept of Platonic justice
and to the universal ideals of the Lord Jesus Christ,
because these principles have made America the greatest country
in the history of Mankind.
I don’ need ta know history I know now.
Those who do not remember the past are condemned to relive it.
Res Ipsa Loquitur
The thing speaks for itself; i.e., the thing stands on its own.
Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
—Jesus Christ, The Gospel According to John
Foreword By Winston Groom 15
Author’s Note 21
1. The agenda 35
Alabama football fans 42 - Art Spander 46
2. Platonic justice 51
Bud "The Steamer" Furillo 59 - John Sciarra 62
3. America: where slavery came to die 69
Winston Groom 95 - Dwight Chapin 96
4. Christian idealism and influential contrarians 98
Rod Martin 103 - John Robinson 105
5. "I have a dream." 111
Clarence Davis 130 - Dr. Culpepper Clark 132
6. Our National Pastimes 137
Scott Hunter 152 - Sam Dickerson 155
7. The religion of football 161
Dave Brown 169 - Manfred Moore 173
8. California Dreamin’ meets the American Dream 177
Coach Willie Brown 185 - Keith Dunnavant 187
9. The Tradition of Troy 193
Tom Kelly 206 - Mike Walden 209
10. The generals 217
J.K. McKay 225 - Sylvester Croom 227
11. The University of Spoiled Children 234
Rod McNeill 247 - Pat Haden 249
12. Dirt poor vs. wealth and privilege 253
Coach Clem Gryska 267 - Coach Craig Fertig 271
13. Something to believe in 277
Charles “Tree” Young 289 - Coach Dave Levy 297
14. Packin' heat: the New Breed 302
Jim Perry 309 - Jeff Prugh 315
15. Pre-game jitters 320
Coach Christ Vagotis 325 - Wilbur Jackson 328
16. Color blind 331
Wendell Hudson 338 - Coach Jack Rutledge 343
17. Pattonesque 350
John Vella 360 - John Hannah 365
18. The War of Northern Aggression 373
John Mitchell 382 Anthony Davis
19. Game Faces 387
20. Conquest 396
21. Student Body Right 400
22. The turning of the Tide 415
23. “This here’s what a football player looks like.” 425
24. "The Eve of Destruction" 446
25. Orange Countification 458
26. “Mine eyes have seen the glory of the Coming of the Lord.” 481
27. The South rises again 488
28. Legacy 498
Additional articles by Steven Travers 479
Orange Countification: The True Story of How the GOP Helped the
South Rise Again By Steven Travers, 2005. 479
The Four Horsemen of Southern California (excerpted from The USC Trojans:
College Football's All-Time Greatest Dynasty) By Steven Travers; Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2006 522
Legend: A Conversation With John McKay By Steven Travers 526
He Was A Legend Of the Old School Variety By Steven Travers 533
Rich McKay By Steven Travers 535
The Eternal Trojan By Steven Travers 538
The Traditon of Troy By Steven Travers 539
When Legends Played By Steven Travers 541
It Wasn't A Football Game. It Was A Sighting! By Steven Travers 543
Dynasty: The new centurions of Troy (excerpted from The USC Trojans: College
Football's All-Time Greatest Dynasty) By Steven Travers 545
Additional articles and excerpts 589
From Neal McCready, Mobile Press-Register, 2003 589
USC Loses One of Its Legends With the Death of McKay By Jim Perry, Trojan
Tail, 2001 591
Alabama Goes Black 'N White By Jim Perry, Los Angeles Herald-Examiner,
Two Black Students Had Enrolled Before Wallace Showdown By Jeff Prugh,
June 11, 1978, Los Angeles Times 595
Excerpt from The Herschel Walker Story By Jeff Prugh 597
The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down By Jeff Prugh 599
George Wallace Was America's Merchant of Venom By Jeff Prugh, Marin
(California) Independent Journal, September 15, 1998 601
Anger boiled within Gerald Ford Before This Football Game By Jeff Prugh, Marin
(California) Independent Journal, August 12, 1999
Other Voices: John Robinson.
John Robinson with two stars, Ricky Bell and Vince Evans. Credit: Amateur Athletic Foundational of Los Angeles.
Other Voices: Scott Hunter.
Scott Hunter, Alabama's quarterback in 1970, with Johnny Musso. Hunter later played for Green Bay, Musso in Chicago. Credit: Paul W. Bryant Museum.
Other Voices: Sam Dickerson.
Sam Dickerson caught Jimmy Jones's desperation 32-yard touchdown pass to beat UCLA in 1969. Credit: Sam Dickerson.
Sam Dickerson with the 49ers in 1971. Credit: Sam Dickerson.
Other Voices: Dave Brown.
A little-known offensive lineman, Dave Brown organized Fellowship of Christian Athletes
Meetings. USC's "team of destiny" found inspiration through Brown's efforts before beating Notre Dame in 1971, then carried that into the 1972 national championship season. Credit: Dave Brown.
Other Voices: Manfred Moore.
Manfred Moore, one of USC's "Big Five" (1971-73). He played an important role in creating the racial unity that allowed USC to come together as a team and win the 1972 national championship. Credit: Manfred Moore.
The Tradition of Troy.
Brice Taylor was USC's first All-American in 1925. He was of African-American and Cherokee descent, and born without use of his left hand. Credit: USC.
Until the 2005 Trojans, the 1972 team was considered the greatest collegiate football team of all time. Credit: Mrs. Patricia Goux.
The 1928 Trojans, national champions and considered the best team ever assembled up to
that time. Credit: Amateur Athletic Foundational of Los Angeles.
The 1888 team, USC's very first. Credit: Amateur Athletic Foundational of Los Angeles.
Howard Jones's last national champions: 1939. Credit: Amateur Athletic Foundational of Los Angeles.
The 1931 Trojan national championship team that beat Notre Dame 16-14 in the first game
played at Notre Dame Stadium. Credit: Amateur Athletic Foundational of Los Angeles.
The 1967 national champs. Credit: Amateur Athletic Foundational of Los Angeles.
John McKay's first national championship team of 1962. Credit: Amateur Athletic Foundational of Los Angeles.
Morley Drury, the "noblest Trojan of them all." Credit: Amateur Athletic Foundational of Los Angeles.
Mort Kaer, known as the "Red Bluff terror." Credit: Amateur Athletic Foundational of Los Angeles.
Traveler, USC's mascot since 1961. Credit: Amateur Athletic Foundational of Los Angeles.
All-Americans Ernie Smith, Johnny Baker and Gus Shaver. Credit: Amateur Athletic Foundational of Los Angeles.
The Evening Herald after USC returned to L.A. from the victorious Notre Dame trip of 1931. Credit: Amateur Athletic Foundational of Los Angeles.
USC Hall of Famer members Braven Dyer, Jon Arnett, Frank Gifford, Rod Dedeaux, Mike Garrett, Marv Goux, Howard Jones, Lynn Swann, O.J. Simpson, President Norman Topping, and Bill Sharman. Credit: Amateur Athletic Foundational of Los Angeles.
Other Voices: Tom Kelly.
TomKelly with the great Sam "Bam" Cunningham. Kelly's caramel-rich voice has described the greatness that is Trojan football for more than 40 years. Credit: Tom Kelly.
Tom Kelly with Trojan legends John McKay, John Robinson and Marv Goux. Credit: Tom Kelly.
Bear Bryant (right) with an assistant in 1970. Credit: Paul W. Bryant Museum.
Other Voices: Sylvester Croom.
Sylvester Croom entered Alabama's football program after Wilbur Jackson and John Mitchell broke the color barrier. After working on Bear Bryant's staff, he entered coaching and eventually became the first black coach in SEC history at Mississippi State. Credit: Paul W. Bryant Museum.
Dirt poor vs. wealth and privilege.
Alabama football coach Bear Bryant and his staff in 1970. Credit: Paul W. Bryant Museum.
Other Voices: Craig Fertig.
Craig Fertig and Heisman winner Mike Garrett. Credit: Amateur Athletic Foundational of Los Angeles.
Other Voices: Jeff Prugh.
Jeff Prugh, who wrote the game story of the famed 1970 Alabama contest, is seen interviewing Greg Slough in 1970. Credit: Jeff Prugh.
Jeff Prugh covered USC and UCLA sports, then later covered politics in the post-segregation South of the late 1970s. Credit: Jeff Prugh.
Other Voices: Wilbur Jackson.
In the background is Wilbur Jackson, the first recruited scholarship African-American football player in Southeastern Conference history. Credit: Paul W. Bryant Museum.
Other Voices: Wendell Hudson.
Wendell Hudson was the first black varsity athlete at Alabama, when he joined the basketball team in 1969. Credit Paul W. Bryant Museum.
Marv Goux, the "spirit of Troy." A Trojan player in the 1950s, Goux's legendary speeches
in the "dungeon" inspired the Trojans to march from victory to victory. Credit: Mrs. Patricia Goux.
Marv Goux was a leader of men. Craig Fertig was "like a son" to John McKay. Dave Levy
was thought to be McKay's heir apparent until John Robinson came along. Mike Garrett
was USC's first Heisman Trophy winner in 1965. Credit: Mrs. Patricia Goux.
Other Voices. John Hannah.
John Hannah, Alabama's All-American lineman, was a sophomore in 1970. He was a teammate of Sam "Bam" Cunningham's in New England for a decade before entering the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Credit: Paul W. Bryant Museum.
Other Voices: John Mitchell.
Legendary Alabama football coach Bear Bryant with John Mitchell, who came to the program in 1971, coached under Bryant and is now with th Steelers. Credit: Paul W. Bryant Museum
Johnny Musso was a junior on the 1970 'Bama team. Known as the "Italian Stallion," he became an All-American in 1971. Credit: Paul W. Bryant Museum.
All-American running back Johnny Musso of Alabama. Credit: Paul W. Bryant Museum.
The Turning of the Tide.
The turning of the Tide. Legion Field, Birmingham, Alabama, the night of September 12, 1970. Credit: Paul W. Bryant Museum.
"This here's what a football player looks like."
Coach Paul "Bear" Bryant (right), wearing his trademark hound's tooth hat. Credit: Paul W. Bryant Museum.
Alabama All-American lineman John Hannah. Credit: Paul W. Bryant Museum.
John Mitchell (left) with two unidentified 'Bama teammates in 1971. Credit: Paul W. Bryant Museum.
Left page title: September 1970: One Night, Two Teams, and the Game That Changed A Nation
Right page title: Steven Travers
Causes Steven Travers Supports
Conservative, Christian, USC, American patriotism