ATLANTA – Late in the third quarter of Alabama’s national championship victory on Monday night, redshirt sophomore linebacker Mekhi Brown steamed on the sideline in the wake of a 15-yard personal foul penalty. He cursed loudly in the air and charged toward a coach to confront him.
Brown lunged toward Kerry Stevenson, Alabama’s director of player personnel, and made glancing contact with him before a teammate pulled him away. Linebacker Keith Holcombe practically had to tackle Brown to the ground to get him away from Stevenson. The play got caught on ESPN’s camera and was replayed over and over, underscoring the uncertainty on the Alabama sideline.
“I really felt like a jerk,” Brown told Yahoo Sports in the Alabama locker room. “That’s not how I am. I wanted to win, that’s what it was. I did something stupid. I could have cost us the game.”
In many ways, this was the most enthralling and unusual of all of Nick Saban’s six national title victories. There was a quarterback change at halftime, overtime theatrics and a dollop of chaos and uncertainty in between. By the time the Tide prevailed, 26-23, there’d been somersaults of momentum and enough plot twists to intrigue Stephen King.
After Brown’s sideline blowup got trended into GIF lore, Saban didn’t pull him from the game. And a little more than five minutes into the fourth quarter, he darted down on kick coverage and delivered a clothesline tackle on Georgia’s Sony Michel. “You have to be mature,” Brown said. “I’m a grown man. I knew I had to make a big play to get my guys to wake up. That’s what I did. That’s definitely out of my character what I did.”
He added: “I knew I had to keep my composure and poise. I could have affected the whole team and I didn’t want to do that.”
Brown was so overcome with emotion that he said he cried for five straight minutes after the game. “I love to win,” he said. “I’ve never won a game in that fashion before. It’s legendary. It’s crazy.”
More from Yahoo Sports:
• Alabama stuns Georgia in overtime 26-23 to win national title
• How ‘Hawaiian Tebow’ Tua Tagovailoa became an Alabama legend
• Alabama wins national title over Georgia: Sports world reacts
• The 6 plays that helped Alabama win the College Football Playoff national title
• How much more pain can Georgia take?