The Clemson football program has been built to last and that’s all a credit to the work and leadership of Dabo Swinney.
Since taking over the Clemson football program on a full-time basis in 2009, Swinney has led the Tigers to seven ACC Championships, six CFB Playoff appearances and two National Championships. Clemson is currently on a run of six-straight conference titles and CFB Playoff appearances. The Tigers have also played in four National Title games.
Swinney made an appearance on Colin Cowherd’s podcast recently and the two went back in time to 2017 when there was certainly some tension building.
Let’s set the scene.
Clemson had just made it to the National Championship game for a second-straight season and was set to play the Alabama Crimson Tide. Cowherd told his audience that the Tigers were “a fraud” and that there was no way they’d beat a team of Alabama’s caliber.
Swinney used that as bulletin board material and, after the Tigers came away victorious, made sure to bring it up in the press conference.
“We wanted to play Alabama, because now y’all got to change your stories,” Swinney said. “You got to change the narrative. Y’all got to mix it up. The guy that called us a fraud? Ask Alabama if we’re a fraud. Was the name Colin Cowherd?”
To Cowherd’s credit, he did come on his show the next morning and admit that he was wrong and gave respect to Clemson football
Now, four years later, Swinney appeared on his podcast and was asked about those comments.
“I’m like who the heck is this guy. I had a lot of fun with our team and it was great,” Swinney said. We were getting ready to play Alabama and somebody had got me this clip and it was perfect. I don’t do social media. I told the boys, just get me to the press conference, and we will have some fun with this. We had a little fun at your expense.”
Cowherd admitted that he had underestimated the Tigers based off watching them against NC State earlier in the season. He also admitted that the powers at ESPN did not like Swinney saying those comments on air.
“We loved it. I had a ball with it. I used to work at ESPN so I can tell you Dabo, they hated you saying that on the air,” Cowherd said.
Of course, no publication or talk show host wants to be called out when they get something wrong. ESPN consistently posts and gives takes that prove to be wrong, but they certainly don’t want to see them brought up after the fact and paraded around.
Swinney had some fun at Cowherd’s expense and it was absolutely justified. Cowherd said as much and this is simply a fun story to look back on now for both sides, but honestly it’s been a fun story for Swinney the entire time.