"I felt bad about it at the time," he said Monday morning in a telephone interview from his office during a break between patients. "I still do."
Fortunately for Davis, who followed two older brothers into the Alabama kicking job, he didn't face the sort of Bill Buckner-like scorn that would bedevil others who faltered on the biggest stages. He still says "Roll Tide" at the end of phone conversations, still has mostly fond memories of his football career and playing for the man everyone in Alabama calls "Coach Bryant" to this day, nearly 30 years after his death.
Davis built a successful business, which he shares with his daughter, and welcomed his first grandchild just last Friday.
"It's a girl," he said proudly.
But, come Monday night, he'll be tuned in and pulling extra hard for his beloved Tide. There's still a score to settle.
"If we win," Davis said, "that would put a lot of that other stuff to rest."
For Parseghian, the '73 Sugar Bowl put to rest his reputation for playing it safe, which he had carried ever since his decision to settle for a 10-10 tie in an another epic game, the 1966 contest against Michigan State.
That game was especially galling to Alabama fans, since the tie didn't prevent Notre Dame from winning the first of two national titles during the Parseghian era. The Fighting Irish stayed atop the rankings ahead of both the mighty Spartans (who had four of the top eight picks in the next NFL draft) and a Tide team that posted a perfect record in the quest for an unprecedented third straight championship (to this day, no team has finished No. 1 in The Associated Press rankings three years in a row).
Seven years the epic Notre Dame-Michigan State tilt, with another national title hanging in the balance and the Irish facing third-and-long from their own 3-yard line, Parseghian decided the prudent call was to gamble. He sent in a formation that looked like a run — two tight ends and three running backs — but signaled a pass to quarterback Tom Clements.
"I knew he was going to be throwing the ball out of the end zone. If he slips and falls, or he's sacked, that's a safety and we lose the game," Parseghian recalled. "Yeah, it was high risk. But that's what we had to do. I didn't want to punt it back to them out of our own end zone."
Big tight end Dave Casper, who went on to star in the NFL, was the intended target. The Tide had him well covered. But Weber, who was mainly known for blocking, ran right by the cornerback and found himself all alone far heading toward the sideline. Clements delivered the ball perfectly. Weber juggled it briefly before tucking it away and getting knocked out of bounds.
"An over-the-shoulder, pure hands catch, on a play I had never before practiced, thrown by a quarterback who had never thrown me the ball, not even in warm-ups in practice," Weber said. "From my perspective, quite simply a sandlot play between two good athletes."
Notre Dame ran out the clock and celebrated its championship.
Parseghian and Bryant spoke briefly on the field afterward. Later, the Notre Dame coach sent off a letter to his larger-than-life rival, who would pass away 10 years later, about a month after his final game.
"We had great respect for one another," Parseghian said. "Basically, I just told him there were no losers in that game."
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