Back Story: Senior Bowl, 1968

It was a comfortable 73 degrees at noon on January 6, 1968, perfect weather for the dignitaries watching the 19th annual Senior Bowl ( at then-named Ladd Memorial Stadium, as seen below. The first Senior Bowl — a game featuring the nation’s top senior collegiate football players and NFL draft prospects — originated in 1950 at the Gator Bowl Stadium in Jacksonville, Florida, but moved to the Azalea City the following year, where it has been played ever since. Produced annually by the nonprofit Mobile Arts & Sports Association, the Senior Bowl has raised over $7.8 million to date. Initially, players were divided into North and South teams, but in 1991, team nomenclature was changed to “American Football Conference” and “National Football Conference,” to distinguish where the coaching staffs were from. In 1994, names reverted to North and South, before finally returning to American and National designations in 2021. The 1968 game was a matchup between coaches Mike Holovak from the Boston Patriots, representing the North, and Hank Stram from the Kansas City Chiefs, representing the South. The South won, 34-21. 

Black and white photo of attendees in the crowd at the Senior Bowl in 1968
Photo courtesy of Alabama Department of Archives and History

The Who’s Who of Who’s Who

Lindsey Nelson, (far left), American sportscaster, age 48. Known as much for his opening phrase, “Hello, everybody, I’m Lindsey Nelson,” as his 300-plus multicolored jackets, Nelson covered college football for 33 years, including the 1958 Senior Bowl.

Debi Faubion Attorri, (second from left), 1968 America’s Junior Miss, age 17. The Oklahoma native went on to a career in TV, radio and film, finding much success as an Emmy award-winning newscaster. 

E.B. Peebles Jr., (second from right), Senior Bowl president and CEO, age 50. The lifelong Mobile resident and Citadel graduate is credited for the revitalization of the Senior Bowl. His name now adorns the stadium in which the game was played for 70 years, along with Ernest F. Ladd’s. 

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Fred Whiddon, (far right), president of the University of South Alabama, age 37. Founder of the first four-year state-supported university in Mobile, he became the youngest university president in the country at age 33. He held the position for 35 years. 

By the Numbers

10: The single-season record number of players sent to the Senior Bowl from one school, set by the University of Alabama, 1987. Auburn sent nine players the following year.

$343: Amount of money players on the losing Senior Bowl team received in 1950. Winners received $475. The last time players were paid was 1988.

1958: Year the Senior Bowl was first nationally televised, aired by NBC — it’s been on TV every year since. 

37: Number of times the South / National team has won, solidly dominating the North / American team’s 32 wins 

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