PART FOUR: THE AFTERMATH
While Wolfson is down on the field and Milton is directing the camera shots while Lundquist and Danielson lay out, Silver is getting the sequence of replays ready.
Silver— I’m looking at all the replay machines and getting the replays queued. And the same for Steve in this particular case. When you’re ready, we’re going to start out on whatever machine we started on.
Danielson— I really, really work hard at not getting caught up in the emotion of a game. It’s something I write at the top of my notes, is to concentrate on the facts. I have it on every one of my game plans that I work with, and so when things are going on, I’m not at all thinking about the enormity, the excitement, how earth-shattering this is, how monumental this is. I don’t think about any of that stuff.
I have a replay monitor, and I’m more on the monitor asking Craig to give me more replays of what had happened. What happened to the linemen? Did they fall down? Did they fan out? Who almost clipped his [Davis’] heels? Who almost made the tackle? Because I didn’t know what they would ask me to do. So I was preparing for if they came to me, because I don’t know what Craig is going to ask me or Verne is going to ask me, like what happened on that play?
Silver— A lot of time during the course of games, especially in the middle of the game calling replay, you’ve gotta get there, you’ve gotta get there because you don’t want to miss action. Here, clearly, the game was over and there was an incredible scene, so there wasn’t a rush to get to the replays. So I was getting everything lined up.
Danielson— So I’m trying to get who almost made the tackle, who got the key block, who almost was back-pedaling when he crossed [the goal line]. I’m saying “we need to get a shot of the Alabama bench, too.” I don’t think I was really watching much what was going on, to tell you the truth.
But I’m pretty sure I was going through five different looks of the replay through every single camera we had to see if I could notice something. Maybe there was a block in the back, maybe two Alabama players tripped.
I was looking for something. I was going “give me another replay, give me another replay.” My spotter and I were going through replays at that time and still collecting our thoughts. I didn’t know what was going to happen next.
Silver— When we were finally ready to go— and it’s a balance between Steve and myself as to when the right time to go is— but I was certainly not going to rush him because it was an incredible scene.
After our initial human reaction of screaming or whatever we did, believe it or not it’s just getting back to business and just calling the replays.
Lundquist— And after that 1:21, Craig said let’s go to the replay.
The greatest part of the sequence of replays— and I think we only did three— Gary set it up and he pointed out that Alabama had their field goal block team, he said no wonder they couldn’t catch him, they’ve got nothing but fat guys on the field. And even in the midst of that, I think I gave out a chuckle. Because it was a funny line.
Danielson— It was totally off the cuff. And it was like one of those things in the huddle and you’re between plays, and a guy asks you about a route and you vulgarly say to a guy “run the effing route on the 15 and shut up, if you’re open I’ll get to you.” And it’s something you don’t say in public; it’s not tactful, but that’s about how I was reacting right there.
You just say quickly what comes to your mind, and sometimes it’s not right. Sometimes you get criticized for it, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. But I think it summarized their problem. And then you just kind of let it go.
There was a moment during Davis’ runback where it looked like he was pretty close to stepping out of bounds. Thanks to CBS’ camera angle, we know he stayed in the field of play.
Milton— Thank goodness we stayed on that angle because if you cut to the regular play by play camera that’s on the near sideline, you would’ve been blocked by the Auburn bench and you would not have seen his feet. People would’ve raised questions.
Lundquist— Well, I knew he was tip-toeing it. And even before he got to midfield, I never had a sense that his left foot had come down on the chalk. But I think he was awfully close. I think his balance was terrific. You easily could’ve gone left six inches and it would’ve nullified the play. But I never had a sense that he was out of bounds, but I was very aware that he was flirting with danger over there. And then I saw at least three guys around him, and there was nobody standing in white at all, or nobody close.
Milton— So when he was dancing like that, I’m just glad we were on that end zone angle because you could see his feet and once we got to the replays, it confirmed that he never went out of bounds, but thank goodness we stayed on that.
Danielson— And there’s one last thing that happened, that I’d almost come out of the booth on, is the Auburn players get too close, in my mind, to the runner. And I think he may trip over one of them just before he scores.
Meanwhile— while the replays are being shown to the viewers— Wolfson is trying to navigate through all the Auburn fans who stormed the field, to try to interview Malzahn and Davis.
Lundquist— And now you talk about people rushing the field, this was wave after wave after wave.
Wolfson— So immediately I said to my producer, “you stay here, I’m going to get Gus.” [Laughs] to be honest, it’s like tunnel vision. And I’ve done it so many times, fortunately, that it wasn’t early in my career. And they always tell you to be careful, watch yourself, don’t get it if you’re putting yourself in danger. I never think that way. My goal is to get the interview and that’s what you want.
So we just take off. You don’t even think about it. You’re just looking for one thing, and that’s the star player, and then, of course, the coach. That’s where we’re going. You kind of have been there and done that. Not in that situation, certainly, but you know to go to the star player and you know to go to the middle of the field to get the coach.
It’s funny. It’s not like an NFL game in the end. It’s not like the Super Bowl, where 50-some reporters are on the field already and surrounding. It does enclose, but not as quickly. We had enough time, but it was like a sea of people you had to get through.
Lundquist— I don’t know if Tracy mentioned this, but Aubie the Tiger mascot was surfing on some kind of board, being carried along by fans. When we throw it down to her with Gus Malzahn, you’ll see Aubie— you know, the caricature— he’s coming toward her being lifted along. I don’t know what he would have been on, some kind of a board.
Wolfson— It wasn’t something on my mind, but that’s what I think definitely took place.
Lundquist— And as he was within six to eight feet of Tracy, and she’s standing by with Malzahn, Kirk Sampson— the associate athletic director and SID at Auburn— saw what was about to happen and reached over.
Kirk Sampson, SID and Associate Athletic Director, Auburn University— Tracy was interviewing coach Malzahn. I was to Tracy’s left, and he was to her right.
Wolfson— I have no idea what he [Malzahn] said to me. I do remember how loud it was and how difficult it was to hear and how difficult it was for him to hear me. But the whole point, especially as a reporter, is to let him speak.
Sampson— In the pandemonium of the fans rushing the field, one of the things I was concerned with was the fans pushing and crowding towards coach and Tracy. And I remember just looking over my right shoulder and I see Aubie. He was laying on his stomach, and I don’t think he was on a wooden board, but I saw him essentially crowd surfing and slowly creeping closer towards where we were at.
And when I caught him, it was at the very last second. And he started to reach over the crowd a little bit, and I thought to myself “this could get dangerous if he were to fall over” into where coach and Tracy were.
Lundquist— And you could almost see it distinctly. He reaches over and he pushes whatever it was, pushes it up and out and dumps Aubie 10 feet from Tracy’s head. And she never knew it.
Sampson— So I remember trying to tell him no, and I don’t think Aubie could hear me because it was so loud. So I basically just turned around and pushed him out of the way. And he kind of flipped over, and I think he kind of disappeared into the crowd. It all happened pretty quickly, and so we averted any sort of potential issues.
Lundquist— It was a potentially dangerous scene. And Kirk Sampson kind of saved the day, because he saw what might happen. And he’s the one who told me about it. And I went back and looked at the video, and sure enough…
Wolfson— I remember Kirk doing that. I wasn’t focused on it, but I remember the conversation with Kirk afterwards about that.
Because Kirk was definitely on the side of me. He protects Gus, all the players and everything. And I remember him telling us this story afterwards. So for me that wasn’t a story, but now remembering, that was definitely part of their story.
It’s just another part of how crazy the game was. You’re just happy to be there to be able to get it done. You don’t know if you’re going to have that opportunity because of the chaos that ensues on the field. There’s not much help between me and my sideline producer. Total chaos trying to get the right interviews.
Sampson— This time of year, I typically get reminded about it by some Auburn fans and friends. And the game will replay sometimes on ESPN or the SEC Network or CBS Sports Network, and I’ll have some people hit me up on social media giving me a hard time about flipping Aubie.
Wolfson— And then Davis was being carried, as I said, on shoulders like around where we were and I tugged at him and said “you’ve gotta get him down, you’ve gotta get him down, it’s CBS, we need an interview.”
Silver— And then she got Chris Davis. And I just remember Tracy’s line, “they wanted to take you away, but I wouldn’t let them.”
Wolfson— I said “it’s CBS, you gotta get down! You’ve got to get him to give an interview!” And I pull him down from the guy’s shoulders to do the interview.