Crowd shots from the 1973 Florida game

Larry Parker again delivers in this collection of photos from the sunny sidelines of Cliff Hare Stadium during a bland 12-8 loss to Florida* , November 3, 1973. Even in defeat, Larry captures the curls as bouncy, the plaid as poppin’, the smiles as wide as ever. And he also captures… the dragon thing.

I first thought it must have one of those Holloway kids who used to roam the sidelines in the tiger outfits, maybe playing a prank or something. But then I noticed that the picture was taken on the Florida sideline. And then I Googled. And the only conclusion I can draw is that yes, it is Albert the Anthropomorphic American Alligator, who apparently appeared on the scene in 1970, three full, plenty-of-time-to-iron-out-the-kinks years before these photos were taken.

God only knows what he looked like then

Because while I’m sure we can all agree that Aubie has had some work done since his Miller-swillin’ days in the pre-Barry Mask passenger side of James Lloyd’s car, I think it equally obvious that Albert has been the subject of serious genetic experimentation. Frankly, that thing looks like the papier-mâché love child of Dino and Pluto, like a Halloween costume that Glenn might make for Sally Draper (and that Betty might beat her for wearing).

Thank you, Phil Neel, for not forcing us to suffer through something like that.

OK, enjoy…

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