Taylor Tannebaum Alabama fan ashes

“It just means more,” we’re told when it comes to SEC football. ESPN and ACC Network analyst Taylor Tannebaum recently shared an anecdote that proved just how true that sentiment is.

Before joining ESPN, Tannebaum cut her teeth working as a reporter for Alabama TV stations, covering the Alabama Crimson Tide and Auburn Tigers. Naturally, that meant she spent time on the sidelines during a handful of Iron Bowl games. During one such game, she was treated to an experience that seems like it could only happen at an SEC college football game.

“So one Iron Bowl, I’m standing on the sideline, Tannebaum told Kelly Gramlich and Eric Mac Lain during an appearance on their podcast. “It’s in Tuscaloosa. Alabama ended up winning that one. I wanna say it might have been 2016. 2017. I’m standing on the sideline. I’m a photographer cause I have to do my own camerawork. The sideline is very close to…where fans can come up to the side.

“So I’m standing there and the kid walks up to me and goes ‘Hey.’ Pulls out a plastic baggy. ‘This is my grandfather’s ashes. He’s the biggest Alabama fan in the world and he wants to be laid here.’ And I was like ‘That’s so cool but can you not do it right now next to my feet?’ I’m gonna be standing here the whole game, I don’t want to step on your grandpa. This is getting really weird. SOS.

“This is how much they care. Grandpa died and he wants his ashes to be spread at Bryant-Denny Stadium. I totally respect it. Also, I look at the guy, I’m like, Alabama is losing right now, it was like 14-7. You cannot spread the ashes when Alabama’s down. This is just not okay.

“So we talk a little bit and I guess I wasn’t paying attention cause you have to switch sides when touchdowns are happening. I had to run to the other side. I come back. The ashes are strewn. He did it without my knowledge. So I come back, I’m like ‘Oh my god, I’m gonna have to do this with grandpa’s ashes next to me the entire game.’

“The cool part of the story is I take a picture of it, it goes kinda viral on Twitter, it’s this whole thing. I end up getting a Facebook message from the guy. He ended up seeing the story was written…he messages me ‘Thank you so much, this means so much, my grandpa would have loved this.'”

The game in question was actually the 2014 Iron Bowl, which Auburn briefly led 16-14 and 23-21 before Alabama won 55-44 in a track meet.

Bama and Auburn fans taking matters into their own hands to spread loved ones’ ashes at Bryant-Denny Stadium is more common than you might think (or perhaps its exactly as common as you would think). As noted in a 2015 AL.com article detailing Tannebaum’s experience, cremated remains were discovered on the field at Jordan-Hare Stadium following the infamous Kick Six Iron Bowl a year prior. And another woman admitted that she spread her brother’s ashes at Bryant-Denny Stadium on Alabama’s Fan Day in 2012.

We’d have to imagine that, since then, it’s probably happened once or twice…or many more times. And not just in college football stadiums in Alabama.

[Kelly Gramlich]

About Sean Keeley

Along with writing for Awful Announcing and The Comeback, Sean is the Editorial Strategy Director for Comeback Media. Previously, he created the Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and wrote 'How To Grow An Orange: The Right Way to Brainwash Your Child Into Rooting for Syracuse.' He has also written non-Syracuse-related things for SB Nation, Curbed, and other outlets. He currently lives in Seattle where he is complaining about bagels. Send tips/comments/complaints to sean@thecomeback.com.