Georgia football finally gets the sweetest revenge of all

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - JANUARY 10: Georgia Bulldogs players celebrate after the Georgia Bulldogs defeated the Alabama Crimson Tide 33-18 in the 2022 CFP National Championship Game at Lucas Oil Stadium on January 10, 2022 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - JANUARY 10: Georgia Bulldogs players celebrate after the Georgia Bulldogs defeated the Alabama Crimson Tide 33-18 in the 2022 CFP National Championship Game at Lucas Oil Stadium on January 10, 2022 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

Georgia football is now national champions with a long overdue win over the Alabama Crimson Tide and it couldn’t have been written any better.

Finally, that’s the word that has been whispering at the edges of my thoughts for over a week now. Is it possible? Can Georgia finally do it? Or will the excitement build to only come crashing down again even harder than before, just like it did a few weeks ago?

I’ve tried to take my own advice and enjoy the ride. And I have — most of the time.

But ever since Alabama clinched the SEC west and then won the SEC Championship, those questions have been slowly creeping back, despite my best efforts to keep them away.

Since that amazing game on New Year’s Eve in the Orange Bowl against Michigan, I oscillated back and forth all week between unwavering belief and hope haunted by memories of past almost’s.

I’ve been a Georgia fan since I was a kid, but I’ve never seen them win a national championship before Monday night.

My earliest Georgia football moments are vague memories of David Greene and David Pollack. But Matthew Stafford and Knowshon Moreno are when I really fell in love with the Dawgs. That said, I have no recollection of beating Alabama.

I know the Dawgs beat them in Tuscaloosa and I’ve seen the clip of Stafford’s pass to Mikey Henderson multiple times. But I don’t remember it.

Georgia football finally beat Alabama to win the National Championship — how sweet it is.

I do remember losing in Athens during a blackout game. I remember being four yards away from an SEC and national title. I remember losing again in Athens.

And I’ll never forget losing that national title game on bad luck and bad calls — because we all know Tyler Simmons was onside. And I’ll never forget losing the SEC Championship 11 months later in the last seconds.

Or last year leading at halftime in Tuscaloosa, but ultimately walking away with another loss. Or this year, when the Dawgs record-breaking magical season was once again interrupted with another loss to Alabama.

Yes, it’s just a game. But it still hurts. Which is why the only word echoing through my head and heart now is “finally.”

And honestly, as painful as that heartache was, and as much as I wouldn’t want to go through it again, it ultimately made this victory all the sweeter.

Finally, Georgia has redemption —  the narratives are erased, and a new story is written.

To be the best, you have to beat the best, and no one will disagree that Alabama has been the best for over a decade now in college football. Which is why beating them feels like a reckoning, finally defeating the proverbial giant.

I always loved the story of David and Goliath as a kid, and that was the story I thought of every time Georgia would play Bama. Except they never slayed the giant — until yesterday.

And I know some people will say that Georgia wasn’t David.

They weren’t the underdog in the story this year.

And they’re right — sort of. They’re not the same Georgia team of years past. They’re 14-1 and now the undisputed No. 1 team in the nation. They have a record-breaking defense that continues to set new records as they hold every team they play below 17 points. And really, that defense has been the missing piece all along.

But, thanks to God and head coach Kirby Smart, the Georgia defense of decades past has been resurrected and turned into something completely new and unique. And it is a lot of fun to watch.

There’s nothing fancy or complicated about it. It’s simply strong, smart, fast athletes working together as one cohesive unit, brought together and led by one of the best defensive minds in college football.

It’s old school, punch you in the mouth, dare you to make a play, and make you pay for every inch of turf you try to take. They bring the boom and then some, locking down opposing offenses and having a heck of a good time doing it.

Georgia enjoys hitting the other team and pride itself on protecting their endzone and turf like the Junkyard Dawgs they are. Smart and his defense looked at the people crowning offense as the new king and laughed in their faces saying, “Check again.”

Defense still rules, and it’s not going anywhere anytime soon if Georgia has anything to say about it.

So yes, those who say Georgia isn’t the underdog are in a way right. Georgia’s defense dominates and is the best. But ironically, I still got the David and Goliath story I always wanted.

As if Georgia beating the team they had previously lost seven straight to wasn’t enough of an underdog story, the Dawgs’ offense easily fulfilled this role.

Despite averaging 40.7 points a game, being No.1  in the country in offensive efficiency, and a top 10 rated offense, Georgia has been wrongfully criticized and discredited offensively.

In a landscape of explosive offenses, UGA’s combination of quiet domination in the run game and explosive pass plays in almost every game this season has somehow been overlooked and ignored. Cue underdog narrative.

While there was plenty of talent on Georgia’s offense, a multitude of injuries to starters led to some unlikely heroes stepping up and keeping the dream alive.

Of the key players on the offense being Brock Bowers, a freshman tight end rose to the challenge of making up for the lost wide receiver production. Then there is Ladd McConkey, a 3-star wide receiver whose only Power 5 offers were from the Bulldogs and Vanderbilt.

Of course, there is the former scout team walk-on turned fifth string starter Stetson Bennett who has one of the highest quarterback ratings in the country, has been one of the most accurate deep ball passers this season, and led the Bulldogs to their first national championship in 41 years.

If that doesn’t fit the undersized fighter going to slay a giant, then I don’t know what does.

And really, isn’t that the most Georgia thing ever? The Dawgs finally beat Alabama and won that long-coveted national title on the back of a historic defense and the arm of a backup quarterback discredited by everyone — even his own fans.

Finally, breaking the championship drought against the team who prevented the Dawgs from winning so many other titles. It’s rare in life to get a second chance. And this game was that in more ways than one.

Maybe it’s not the story we imagined or wanted. But it’s the story we needed. And it’s one for the history books.

It’s the culmination of the years of being so close and wanting to be the best, combined with the defense we needed and the insatiable hope that we could never fully give up.

You know, Just like our starting quarterback and so many other players on this team and the past teams that laid the foundation for this day, for this moment.

Finally, it’s our time. Finally, that beautiful gold trophy belongs to the University of Georgia. Finally, it’s red and black confetti falling from the sky.

2022 National Champions — 1980 no more.

Long live the years in between and the team that finally broke the streak.

Long live the fans that never gave up hope and the players that gave it all.

Long live 5 star, big city lights and small town, backup dreams.

Long live the heart of this team and the faith of this fanbase.

Long live the almost’s and the final that made them all worth it.

And long live Kirby Smart.

Next. Georgia football leaves it all on the field to win 2022 National Championship. dark

Finally, the day belongs to the Dawgs. To the stars on the wings of a pig indeed.