The man behind the microphone during radio broadcasts of Auburn Tiger athletic events had arguably as great a year as the team he was covering. Now, Rod Bramblett is capping off the season with the honor of being the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association's Alabama Sportscaster of the Year.
Bramblett, who just finished his 11th season as the voice of the Tigers, had not one, but two play-calls of a lifetime in 2013, and either one could have been the defining moment of his career. And as quickly as the Tigers turned around a 3-9 program to enter the BCS National Championship in a single year, Bramblett didn't have to wait long either. The second defining moment happened just two weeks later.
Bramblett gave thanks to the team after tweeting that he was honored to be given the award. He said he had great material because of the team.
The first call came on November 16 as the Tigers, trailing Georgia in the final moments of the game after holding a sizeable lead in the first half, made the most improbable of plays.
That play, now known as "The Miracle in Jordan-Hare", was coined by words Bramblett screamed from the broadcast booth high above the stadium.
The play opened with the Tigers not only trailing, but holding the ball on 4th down and 18 yards. It seemed the Bulldogs were about to win as Bramblett calmly said of the play, "Here's your ball game".
Marshall stepped back and hurled the ball into the air. As it spiraled perfectly across the field and found itself tipped by two Georgia players, Bramblett, for a brief second, sounded as if the game was over, the pass wasn't going to save the day.
But just as quickly, the tipped ball found its way into the outstretched hands of the intended receiver, Ricardo Lewis, who took the ball home for a game-winning touchdown. The play was 73-yards.
The stadium erupted, and though they couldn't hear Bramblett's broadcast, he too was screaming. At first, his words were almost unintelligible, like his tongue was tied. Then, screams of "Louis is gonna score!, Lewis is gonna score!" and then "A miracle in Jordan-Hare, a miracle in Jordan-Hare!"
Just 25 seconds later, the Tigers would officially win the game with a score of 43-38.
The play, coupled with Bramblett's call, went viral and people all over the United States were talking about it.
Follow an Auburn bye week, with the crowd's enthusiasm over the best play of the year still at the top of mind, the No. 1 ranked Crimson Tide, fresh off back-to-national championships, came to town with threats of muting the celebration. Only a year prior, the Tide had decimated the Tigers in a 49-0 Iron Bowl that was the most lopsided game in a generation.
Bramblett would have to wait until literally the last second of the game to scratch another career call onto his resume.
With the game tied at 28 points, the Tide was holding the ball as the clocked ticked to zero. Most thought the teams were about to head to overtime, but Alabama coach Nick Saban asked for a review and was granted one second on the clock after it was shown there was one second left when the Tide was pushed out of bounds.
Saban sent out a field goal unit to attempt a 56 yard win.
As the teams set up for the final play, Bramblett mentioned that if the Tide "comes up short, I guess he [Chris Davis] can field it and run it out..." Little did Bramblett know that he'd just predicted how Auburn would beat its instate rival just moments later.
"It's got, no it does not have the legs," Bramblett said as the ball sailed toward the uprights. At that moment, the ball landed in the arms of Chris Davis, who would not have been deeper in the end zone without being out of bounds.
The run started, and Bramblett began counting the yards like he would in any play, since radio listeners obviously can't see the game.
"He'll run it out to the 10, 15, 20, 25-30, 35-40, 45-50...45" It was at midfield when it became clear the Tigers were going all the way. " There goes Davis!," Bramblett yelled. "Davis is gonna run it all the way back!" Now practically screaming, "Auburn's gonna win the football game!"
Within seconds of Bramblett's prediction, "They're not gonna keep em off the field tonight..." fans were pouring onto the field. "HOLY COW, OMG!" he continued. "Auburn has won the Iron Bowl in the most unbelievable fashion you will ever see!"
As he gave the final, "34-28" Bramblett added, "And we thought the miracle in Jordan-Hare was amazing, oh my lord in heaven!"
The 109 yard return sent the Tigers on to the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta where they beat the Missouri Tigers 59-42.
The Tigers went on to their second BCS National Championship in four years, though were unsuccessful in winning against No. 1 Florida State University.
In addition to the Alabama Sportscaster of the Year award, Bramblett was recently named Sports Illustrated Play-by-Play Announcer of the Year.
"This is a great honor, being recognized for what has been a truly incredible season," Bramblett said of the Sports Illustrated award, recognizing that he may have been the voice, but there are a lot of others to thank. "This award isn't just for me, but it is for the entire Auburn IMG Sports Network crew which I consider to be the best in the business."
Bramblett, a 1988 Auburn graduate, serves as the voice of Auburn's football, men's basketball and baseball radio broadcasts. This is the announcer's third time being awarded Sportscaster of the Year in Alabama having also won them in 2006 and 2010.
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