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By the time the Senior Bowl rolls around on Jan. 27, the tidal wave of college football that is bowl season has given way to much calmer waters. For this reason, the Senior Bowl has a tendency to fly under the radar, even though it’s a showcase of some of college football’s top talent.

The game’s reputation matches that of its host. We don’t generally think of Mobile, Alabama as a tourism hotbed. Images of Forrest Gump on his shrimp boat might come to mind when we picture Alabama’s coast. Although Mobile could never compete with its Gulf Coast neighbor New Orleans, we believe it’s well deserving of a place in the hidden gem category. So for all those still hungry for college football (and excited about some of the seniors’ NFL potential) and looking to explore one of the region’s most culturally rich cities, we’re here with a Senior Bowl/Mobile guide to help you plan the best trip you never thought you would take.

What’s so great about Mobile and the Senior Bowl?

Good question. We’re going to break it down into a few categories to show you exactly what this southern port city has to offer. Here are our top five reasons why you shouldn’t miss this combo

Food!

The Senior Bowl
Photo by Pixabay

Mobile offers the very best of two extremely delicious worlds. On the one hand, it’s on the coast so you have access to fresh seafood. Look out for freshly caught gulf shrimp, oysters, and blue crabs. If you’re not the seafood type, Mobile is blessed with plenty of barbecue and southern food options. Whether you’re looking for fried chicken, cornbread, and coleslaw or slow-smoked barbecue with the kind of smell that pulls you in off the street, Mobile has plenty of it all. So don’t hesitate to fill up before and after the game.

Pro Tip: Eat at The Brick Pit for the best barbecue in the city.

Museums and historical sites to pack a few days full

The Senior Bowl
Photo by USS ALABAMA Battleship Memorial Park

Whether you’re exploring the U.S.S. Alabama (a WWII battleship docked in Mobile’s port), checking out the Mobile Carnival Museum (a window into the city’s long history with Mardi Gras) or hopping around the city and snapping photos of classic southern homes and mansions, you’ll find no shortage of chances to dive into Mobile’s history and culture. 

Kayaking the Mobile Bay

The Senior Bowl
Photo by Pixabay

We highly recommend jumping in a kayak and exploring the bay and its connected rivers and estuaries. Bay kayaking tours will guide you. Oh, and be sure to keep an eye out for wildlife! Waterfowl, deer, raccoons and even alligators (be careful) are common sightings. A sunset trip will have you snapping away with your camera.

Gone fishing

The Senior Bowl
Photo by Pixabay

You can hug the coast and fish the bay and connected rivers or take a bigger boat out offshore and maybe even see some dolphins. Whichever style you prefer, there are plenty of charter options out there. From flounder to sheepshead to Spanish mackerel to redfish offshore to trout in the rivers, the area is prime fishing territory. Check out this article for some tips.

What about the game?

Let’s not forget about gameday. The Senior Bowl invites some of the best college football players from the around country who are on track to complete their studies in the spring. While the lottery picks rarely wait until their senior year to enter the NFL draft, many of the players are top talents and will go on to play on Sundays. For example, the 2016 Senior Bowl MVP was Dak Prescott who went on to win Offensive Rookie of the Year.

The game is a great opportunity to see talent from across the country in one place. Some of the players have been overlooked as draft prospects and are eager to prove that they can stand out even when surrounded by some of the very best. So don’t let the bowl game hangover overshadow this opportunity.

If you’re looking for a place to stay, check out accommodation options in Alabama or in the U.S. Here you can find anything from a hotel downtown to an Airbnb to crash at after the game.

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The Senior Bowl and Mobile: Five Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Miss This Combo
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