On the field during last November’s “Game of the Century” between No. 1 LSU and No. 2 Alabama, there were no clear cut stars in a 9–6 snoozer won by LSU and dominated by both teams’ defenses. In the stands, however, the choice for “Star of the Night” was much clearer.
In overtime, while LSU was setting up for what turned out to be Drew Alleman’s game-winning field goal, CBS cameras panned to a nattily-dressed, crying Alabama fan for whom the pain of losing was just too much. Despite being in the presence of a fetching young blonde beside him, the young man had no bones letting the waterworks overflow.
Maybe it was because there was so little to talk about game-wise in a contest that featured the second fewest total points ever for a 1-vs.-2 matchup. Or maybe it was because we were entering the golden age of fan reaction GIFs. Whatever, the reason, the image of that ‘Bama fan sobbing became an internet sensation.
Just as many, if not more, sports websites ran stories in the days following the game about the tearful Alabama fan as there were websites that covered the game itself. Among the sites: NBC Sports, The Big Lead, Black Sports Online and Outkick the Coverage.
An LSU t-shirt commemorating the “Game of the Century” ran a visage of the fan and his female friend on the back with the caption “Real Greeks Don’t Cry.” Radio stations throughout the South tried reaching out to him in an effort to arrange an interview.
The funny thing is that it was a lot of hubbub for something that every diehard sports fan has likely experienced before: The crushing agony of defeat in a game with seemingly fatalistic implications. (And if we’re being honest, those aforementioned diehard fans have probably cried as a result, too.)
A closer look at who the “Alabama Crier” only reinforces that.
If anyone has a reason to live and die with the Tide (or at least appear that way), it’s Allyn Cramer. He grew up in Dothan, in the southeastern part of the state. Chances are he’s worshiped at the Crimson Tide altar since he could walk.
Cramer matriculated as an Alabama freshman in 2008. He poured himself into student life in Tuscaloosa, eventually becoming president of the school’s chapter of the Sigma Nu fraternity (hence the joke on the back of the aforementioned LSU t-shirt). And he had the privilege of witnessing a dominant football program.
The Crimson Tide went 48–5 in Cramer’s four years at Alabama. By the time of the 2011 game with LSU, Cramer was used to watching and cheering for a winner. Losses were comparable to the apocalypse.
And losses in the “Game of the Century?” Cataclysmic. Not only did Alabama come up short on the biggest regular season stage in recent memory, it also seemingly lost any hope of advancing to the BCS title game.
All that emotion came pouring out of Cramer when Alleman’s game-winning kick split the uprights. Chances are he wasn’t the only Alabama senior to think their final year in Tuscaloosa had just been sullied. And as SportsGrid’s Glenn Davis pointed out following the game, “he probably wasn’t the only one crying in Bryant-Denny Stadium.”
He was, however, the only one to get the attention of a nationally televised audience. Hence the tumult of stories about him. But just over two months later, Cramer was vindicated for the tears that he shed.
Madness at the top of the BCS standings pushed Alabama back to No. 2 in the end-of-season rankings, giving them a rematch with LSU that they would win, 21–0. Cramer, who was in New Orleans for the BCS title game, even graciously posed for a photo with an LSU fan carrying around a homemade poster of Cramer crying with the caption “Roll Tears Roll!!!”
Cramer graduated this past spring with a B.S. in marketing and now lives in Birmingham, working as an insurance agent at Bankers Life and Casualty. In advance of another LSU-Alabama game this Saturday with huge implications, we tried reaching out to him directly to get his take on his brief bout with fame.
We can understand why Cramer might not want to talk about his literal sob story. But the point of this story isn’t to make fun of him, it’s to empathize with him for being famous on the internet for something we’ve all experienced as sports fans.
Rest assured that whichever team in Tiger Stadium loses, they’re sure to have many fans in attendance that shed tears of sadness. Any legitimate, diehard sports fan knows that there’s often no controlling one’s emotions when the agony of defeat takes hold.