He had an offer he couldn't refuse

Alabama embarrassed LSU in the BCS National Championship game in New Orleans last month, and the Tigers were still hearing about it at a Mardi Gras parade over the weekend.



A group called "Le Krewe d'Etat" commemorated LSU's meltdown with a float depicting a literal crimson tide preventing LSU from passing the 50-yard-line, a feat the hapless Tigers didn't achieve until the game's fourth quarter. The worst part for LSU's purple-and-gold backers is the in-your-faceness of it all, as New Orleans is solid Tigers territory.

I know football merchandise shops are having a field day with all types of Alabama BCS title caps, t-shirts, jackets, but you have to wonder about LSU's merchandise sales since the title game. Maybe a few purple and gold beads, but probably not much else!

Normally, I would purchase at least a t-shirt or baseball cap after Alabama's 14th national championship, but I didn't this year. I have enough t-shirts and caps to last awhile without spending more money.

You can ask anyone who sees me out in public what I wear, and they will tell you I have on an Alabama cap or t-shirt with jeans. If it's cold I have two thick Alabama jackets to wear. I do change into something a little dressier when attending important functions.

More than anything else this year, I wanted a DVD of the national championship game between Alabama and LSU.

I searched far and wide and found a special online. I couldn't pass up the chance. Most of the people who recorded the game had it on DHR instead of DVD, and I haven't reached the TV technology that goes with a DHR, whatever that is.

Kirk McNair, who publishes 'BAMA Magazine and its online services, had just what I was looking for – a special. McNair, for some that don't know, served in the sports information department at UA during Bear Bryant's days.

For $119 and some change, signing up for the Total Access Package, included a BCS title DVD, along with a commemorative national championship magazine, 10 magazines with insider information, recruiting coverage that includes daily online articles.

It was an offer I couldn't refuse.

Well, last week the full-color commemorative magazine was delivered, and the day after the DVD came through the mail.

Saturday was a time to catch up on some reading and watch the BCS title game between LSU and Alabama for the first time since the Jan. 9 showdown.

I admit watching the game on DVD was not as exciting as seeing it live, but what the heck; it's something I can share with the family in the future. Too, you can rewind or pause the DVD and it is commercial free. All you see is football, football and more football and arguably the greatest defense in NCAA college football history.

One thing that stood out, however, was an article in 'BAMA Magazine's commemorative magazine about Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron. Maybe I missed this story in the past, but it was new information to me.

When McCarron was five-years-old, he almost lost his life.

The author – Mitch Dobbs – recounted the incident that occurred on Sunday, August 4, 1996 that nearly put the young McCarron in a grave.

His father – Tony McCarron – bought the family a Jet Ski and took AJ and his cousin out for a spin on the new toy for the first time.

As the Jet Ski, being driven by Tony was headed back to the launch site, it hit a big wave from a marine patrol boat, sending the Jet Ski 15-20 feet in the air, and A.J. reached for a handle bar, but instead grabbed the throttle.

"Tony pushed AJ off and he went face first into the piling bracing the pier," writes Dobbs. "Tony struck the pier directly with his chest, knocking him backwards. The watercraft dragged him under the pier. Tony's nephew was knocked into shallow water and was standing up in the water, screaming.

"AJ was face down in the water knocked out."

Dobbs reported from AJ's parents that the left side of his face was caved in and blood was trickling down his nostrils.

AJ was rushed to a Mobile hospital. Doctors painted a picture of doom and gloom to his parents, even telling them to be prepared for the worst-case scenario.

AJ's condition began to improve, but one doctor thought he might lose his left eye; another doctor thought there might be brain damage. He underwent 10 to 12 hours of surgery, and a plastic surgeon made an incision starting at his left ear and going across the top of his skull to his right ear. If you see AJ up close you can still see a scar. He still has five metal plates held together by screws in his head, Dobbs writes.

AJ survived it all and signed with Alabama after high school. He led the Crimson Tide to its second national championship in three years on January 9, 2012. There have been two big wins for the soon-to-be junior Alabama quarterback – surviving the Jet Ski incident and winning the national title.

Now that kind of information is what I like to hear and read.

I'm out $119 and some change, but it was an offer I couldn't resist – a DVD and 'BAMA Magazine.

I bet LSU fans will be hearing a lot more from AJ McCarron next season. Maybe another Mardi Gras parade will help them remember for a long time to come.

Geaux Tide!

Editor's Note: John Wayne Cargile, a former sports writer, is a free lance writer and author who offered this unsolicited article.

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