Georgia football has had its fair share of great teams. Under Kirby Smart, almost every team has had a very special place in Georgia Football history.
For many the most fondly remembered team is going to be the 2021 Georgia Football team. The curse breakers. That team will always be special for this blogger too, but they will always be second to me. The team that I will always remember is the 2017 Georgia Football Team.
Now some of this might be personal. It was my freshman year in college and I was going to every home game. But that team just felt different than all of the other teams. It had personality, it had heart.
They were not the most talented team Kirby Smart has had or will have. Both sides of the ball had huge holes in it. Go back and compare the lines on both sides of the ball to the 2021 team. Drastically different. But that 2017 team never quit, they played hard.
When that 2017 season started, Georgia had not been flirting with a championship since 2012. That’s probably another reason why I have such a soft spot for that team. But also, I think it was proof of what Georgia fans thought they could be.
Most of the college football landscape laughed at Georgia fans for believing that one day, they could be the powerhouse of college football. People made jokes at Georgia’s expense for firing Mark Richt, a superb coach. Many thought Georgia fans were “delusional” for believing they could be the kings of college football. Funny how we are “delusional” still even though Georgia has won two titles.
Then Georgia kicked off the season. The Notre Dame game changed the Georgia fan base narrative; which I have written about. But then Georgia went up to Neyland and demolished the Vols. Then the Mississippi State game where everyone thought the ugly bulldogs were going to beat Georgia. Then move to the WLOCP where, myself included, thought maybe the other shoe would drop. It always seemed as though Florida was our boogie man. Then Georgia destroyed Florida.
For brevity, I will skip the other games. But again, think about how special that season was. The SEC championship where Georgia rematches with Auburn after getting its teeth kicked in a month earlier. Think about Georgia and Auburn, the two teams that have played longer than anybody squaring off in the SEC Championship. That won’t happen in a while.
Then of course you have the Rose Bowl. What more needs to be said? Maybe the most magical game in Georgia Football history. We all have stories about being at the game or watching the game at home. It’s just one of those games where the people who lived to see it will never forget it.
That team was special, even though it was a play away from winning a National title. Personally, in my life that was a really tough time. It became a little harder when Georgia lost the national championship. The way Georgia did lose, it added more misery to an already tough time.
I am sure many of you thought the same thing as I thought after the game. Why? Why do we always come up short? Will it ever happen?
But now after the past two years, seeing Georgia hoist that trophy up, maybe it was a good thing? It made me appreciate how hard it is to win a championship. The long grueling season, the games that take years off your life. It’s not easy to win a national title.
So I suppose that’s why the 2017 Georgia Football season is special to me. It made me understand what it takes to be a champion. There will probably never be a team under Kirby Smart that is like that 2017 team. We should give them the credit they deserve. They were the ones who took Georgia to the next level.
So in ten years while the National title teams are being celebrated, take a moment and think back to that 2017 team. Because if it weren’t for them, who knows where this program would be at?