— FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — AJ McCarron knows how Alabama quarterbacks are judged.
It's about wins and losses, not yards and touchdowns. Titles matter more than trophies, and you can go from beloved to vilified in the heartbeat it takes for one bad throw.
Fans are tough on Crimson Tide QBs. Guys like Tony McCarron, AJ's father.
"My dad, I always mess with him, he was that fan growing up," AJ McCarron said. "As soon as a player messed up, he started dogging him. And you never know why, the receiver could have run the wrong route or whatever. He's dogging the quarterback. I've seen it growing up and I know how to deal with it."
Father and son can laugh about it now, but it's also the reality of the position.
No matter where you go, quarterbacks are scrutinized, but that gets magnified within a program that lays claim to 14 national titles — and just one Heisman Trophy — entering Monday night's BCS championship game with similarly pedigreed Notre Dame.
McCarron has already joined the pantheon of quarterbacks, including Joe Namath, who have led the Tide to national titles with his starring role in last year's championship victory over LSU.
No Alabama quarterback has led his team to two of them. McCarron has that chance and has said he's returning for his senior season instead of going to the NFL.
His legacy's still being written, but it's looking good.
"I think AJ's a special guy and certainly he's one of the best quarterbacks that's ever played here," Tide center Barrett Jones said. "It's pretty special for me to be able to play with a guy like that. He's got so much passion and so much poise and I just really love the way he plays the game."