Iron Bowl by the numbers, including a record-breaking number of fans

Iron Bowl Sign
Who are you cheering for this year? Photo via Pat Byington for The Bama Buzz

The biggest game of the year for Alabamians is coming up in just a few short days! On Saturday, November 27 at 2:30PM, the University of Alabama football team will take on the Auburn Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Alabama. We’ve got you covered with the numbers you need to know, no matter who you’re cheering for.

32-22—the score of the first Alabama-Auburn football game

Once upon a time, back in 1983, Auburn (then the Agricultural & Mechanical College) played the University of Alabama in Legion Field Birmingham, Alabama. Auburn won the first game of what would become one of the U.S.’s biggest football rivalries in front of 5,000 fans.

34—the dollar amount that almost ended the Iron Bowl

I know what you’re thinking… that sounds dramatic. When outlining the contract for 1908, disputes between the Auburn and Alabama head coaches and a $34 per diem dispute in the game contract led to the series being discontinued. Both teams had a different proposal for a daily reimbursement for players, with a $34 difference in the proposals.

From 1907-1949, the series was on hold. In 1947, Auburn, Alabama and several governmental entities in the state (including the Governor and the Alabama House of Representatives) made resolutions encouraging the series to resume.

47,000—the number of fans that Legion Field held in 1948

 Legion Field
Photo via Bham Now

So how does Birmingham’s Legion Field come into play? In 1948, when the teams were preparing to resume their series, Legion Field’s size and neutral site made it the ideal home base for the Bowl Game.

85—the number of Iron Bowls played

As an Auburn alum and lifelong fan of the Tigers, it pains me to say this, but Alabama’s got the winning record… by a long shot. The Tide has won 47 of the 85 games, with Auburn winning 37 and the series tied once.

1989—the first year that Auburn played their home games for the Iron Bowl at Jordan-Hare

Jordan-Hare Stadium
Just look at that view of Jordan-Hare. Photo via Nathan Watson for Bham Now

Auburn became increasingly disgruntled at having to travel to Legion Field for the Iron Bowl games, and as the university made improvements and expanded upon Jordan-Hare Stadium, they pushed to play in their home stadium. Pat Dye, Auburn’s head football coach in 1981, and Bear Bryant, Alabama head coach and athletic director, met and discussed moving the game. When the schools’ contract with Legion Field ended in 1988, Auburn officially began moving its home games to Auburn.

PS—at that game in 1989, Auburn won its first true “home” game. If you’re one of the lucky people watching this year’s Iron Bowl in Auburn, there are plenty of fun tailgating options and watch parties.

2000—the first year that Alabama played their home games in Bryant-Denny

Bryant-Denny
Are you watching from Tuscaloosa this year? Photo via Jacob Blankenship via Bham Now

For the next decade, Alabama continued to call Legion Field home for the rivalry. In 1998, expansions of Bryant-Denny led the university’s stadium to be bigger than Legion Field. In 2000, Auburn came to Tuscaloosa for the first time… and won 9-0.

PS—Watching the game from Tuscaloosa this year? Here’s everything you need to know about homegating and celebrating in style.

101,821—the record-breaking attendance for the Iron Bowl

This record, set in 2010, was in Alabama’s Bryant-Denny Stadium. Over 100,000 attendees saw Auburn win in a narrow 28-27 Auburn victory.

Know any other fun facts about the Iron Bowl that we missed? Be sure to tag us @TheBamaBuzz on social to let us know!

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Cecilia Wood
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