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Very few institutions in American sports can match the enduring excellence of the University of Alabama football program. Across a wide swath of the last century, the tradition-rich Crimson Tide has claimed twelve national championships, captured 25 conference titles, finished 34 times among the country's top ten, and played in 53 bowl games.
Especially dominant during the era of the legendary Paul "Bear" Bryant, the larger-than-life figure who towered over the landscape like no man before or since, Alabama entered the 1966 season with the chance to become the first college football team to win three consecutive national championships. Every aspect of Bryant's grueling system was geared around competing for the big prize each and every year, and in 1966 the idea of the threepeat tantalized the players, pushing them toward greatness. Driven by Bryant's enthusiasm, dedication, and perseverance, players were made to believe in their team and themselves. Led by the electrifying force of quarterback Kenny "Snake" Stabler and one of the most punishing defenses in the storied annals of the Southeastern Conference, the Crimson Tide cruised to a magical season, finishing as the nation's only undefeated, untied team. But something happened on the way to the history books.
The Missing Ring is the story of the one that got away, the one that haunts Alabama fans still, and native Alabamian Keith Dunnavant takes readers deep inside the Crimson Tide program during a more innocent time, before widespread telecasting, before scholarship limitations, before end-zone dances. Meticulously revealing the strategies, tactics, and personal dramas that bring the overachieving boys of 1966 to life, Dunnavant's insightful, anecdotally rich narrative shows how Bryant molded a diverse group of young men into a powerful force that overcame various obstacles to achieve perfection in an imperfect world.Set against the backdrop of the civil rights movement, the still-escalating Vietnam War, and a world and a sport teetering on the brink of change in a variety of ways, The Missing Ring tells an important story about the collision between football and culture. Ultimately, it is this clash that produces the Crimson Tide's most implacable foe, enabling the greatest injustice in college football history.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Rob on 03-14-14
What Happened Was a Crime
If you could sum up The Missing Ring in three words, what would they be?
True, Tragic, Revolting
Who was your favorite character and why?
What does Jay Snyder bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?
Good narration and expression. Voice has a good cadence making him easy to listen to.
If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?
The Missing Ring is fine
Any additional comments?
For me there was a silver lining to this otherwise hideous crime. Prior to the 66 season I had no love or feeling for the Tide, but as I watched the season unfold until is was so patently obvious the Alabama was indeed the very best college football team and yet the voters whether out of ignorance or bias continued to ignore Alabama.
Finally, after watching The Tide shut out their last four regular season opponents and then maul a very fine and fourth ranked Nebraska in the Sugar Bowl I realized that I had morphed into a die hard Alabama fan and proudly remain one to this day forty seven years later.
Thank you Coach Bryant and all those great never say die players on the 66 team you don't ever duck you head to nobody. ROLL TIDE.
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