All college football fans have their favorite player. That one player who they talk about for years to come, comparing current players to their favorite from years ago, while tracking his professional career post grad. For my dad, this player takes the form of one Tony Robinson
Back in the ’80s, the reigning days of Johnny Major and company, Bo Jackson held center stage in Auburn, Alabama. In 1985, Bo’s impressive playing ability caught the attention of the writers at Sports Illustrated, who made plans to travel to Knoxville to cover Bo’s impressive victory over the University of Tennessee. They even slotted Bo’s win to appear on the cover of the magazine. Except for one problem: Tony Robinson ran all over Auburn’s defensive line on that fateful day, and led the vols to an unexpected 38-20 win. This was supposed to be Bo’s day, but Sports Illustrated switched gears and instead featured Tony on the cover of the October 7, 1985, edition of Sports Illustrated under the caption, “The Tennessee Waltz: Tony Robinson Buries Auburn.”
I mentioned in my last post how excited my dad was to see Tony come down the vol walk then run through the Power T with Coach Majors at the October 19th South Carolina game. This was Tony’s first time returning to Neyland since 1985. Then, just last Saturday on November 9th, the university brought Tony back again to be featured as the Vol Legend of the Game. While the current group of vols didn’t fare as well against Auburn as Tony’s team did, it was still an exciting day.
In preparation of Tony’s attendance of the game, my dad acquired the October, 1985 edition of Sports Illustrated featuring Tony on the cover. Shortly after the vol walk ended last Saturday, we hauled ourselves quickly over to the Call-In Kickoff Show where Tony was scheduled to participate. When I was a kid, I can remember attending the kick off show to see voice of the vols John Ward, and at one point in the show, kids could line up for autographs. We attended the show with this mindset in hopes that Daddy could have Tony sign his magazine. 15 minutes into the show, however, there was still no sign of Tony. A bit disappointed, we left the show to begin our trek to our gate, and just so happened to make our exit by going behind the stage rather than in front of. As soon as we got behind the stage, we saw a tall, skinny scarecrow of a man garbed in UT smokey grey sweats –it was Tony! Unfortunately, just as Daddy handed him his SI issue, officials from the show grabbed Tony’s arm and insisted that he had to come now as he was already late for his show appearance. Tony brushed them off and ignored their demands as he finished signing Daddy’s issue! Tony Robinson: 1982-85, #10