On this day in sports history

BY COLIN “BIG C” MACGUIRE

The Greenville Standard

 

Jeff Rutledge, former University of Alabama quarterback, turned 62 on Jan. 22.

Jeff’s daddy, Paul, who was known as Jack played baseball at Alabama in the late 1940’s. His daddy was not the Alabama assistant coach.

There was no relation. Jeff’s older brother, Gary, played at Alabama from 1970-74. Gary lettered from 1972-74 and was the starting quarterback on the 1973 UPI National Championship Team.

Jeff, like his brother Gary, played at Banks High School in Birmingham. As a freshman, he came off the bench with Banks trailing 14-0 versus Phillips and brought them back to a 15-14 win.

For the next three seasons, he was great as a starter, 1972-12-0-1 State Champions, 1973-13-0 State Champions, 1974-9-2. His record as starting quarterback was 34-2-1.

His senior year, Jeff and future Alabama teammate Tony Nathan were the top two prospects in the nation.

Banks vs Woodlawn drew 42,000 fans at Legion Field on Nov. 8, 1974. A week later Banks lost to West End 35-27. Jeff suffered torn ligaments from his ankle and a 35-game unbeaten streak was broken.

Banks, without Rutledge, lost to Homewood in the first round. Jeff was named All-State, Super All-State, All-Southern, and Parade All-American.

Rutledge signed with Alabama and played some as freshman. He started as a sophomore, junior and senior and played on teams on that finished 42-6 with three SEC Championships and one national championship.

Jeff was named MVP of the 1978 Sugar Bowl vs Ohio State. Jeff, and his brother Gary, were the only brothers to start at quarterback to win a national championship.

Rutledge was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams as a backup. He played on two teams that won the Super Bowl.

He coached on the Pro, College, and High School level. Jeff won two state championships at Montgomery Bell Academy in Nashville, Tenn.

Jeff Rutledge has been a winner all his life. Happy Birthday, Big Man.

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