Fountain City Classic reunites old NFL rivals as new head coaches

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COLUMBUS, Ga. – On Saturday, Albany State head football coach Dan Land, and his counterpart at Fort Valley State, Kevin Porter, will both get their first experience as head coaches in a rivalry that dates back to 1945. But the rivalry between the two head coaches was born in the National Football League in the 1980’s.

The 27th annual Fountain City Classic will determine which team represents the East Division in the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championship game on November 12. Albany State and Fort Valley State will meet in Columbus at A.J. McClung Memorial Stadium on Saturday November 5 at 2 pm.

Land was named interim coach at Albany State, his alma-mater, in 2015. Prior to this season, the university removed the interim label, naming Land as the program’s head coach.

Porter is in his first season as head coach at Fort Valley State.

But this will not be the first time the two men have stood on opposite sidelines of a bitter rivalry.

Land played safety for the Oakland Raiders from 1989-1997. Porter was a defensive back for the Kansas City Chiefs from 1988-1992.

The Raiders and Chiefs are considered two of the NFL’s oldest and most bitter rivals. At Tuesday’s Fountain City Classic press conference the two friends reflected on their careers, and their rivalry coming full circle on Saturday in Columbus.

“It just means that we’re old,” said Land with a big laugh. “No, I’ll tell you what. It is a long way coming full circle, just that we played college football and then we went on to the pros, and the Raiders didn’t like Kansas City, and Kansas City didn’t like the Raiders,” he continued.

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“Now, we have this big rivalry with Albany State and Fort Valley State,” said Land. “Now, we don’t like each other so, it’s a good thing. What I mean by ‘we don’t like each other’, is we don’t like each other on Saturday. Other than that we’ll always be good friends,” he added.

Porter agreed with Land’s assessment of their personal, and newfound collegiate rivalry.

“You know, it comes full circle,” said Porter.

“You know when we were growing up and going to college, and then you get to the NFL, and like I said, that’s one of the biggest rivalries in the history of the game, Chiefs versus Raiders,” said Porter.

“But to be able to have an opportunity to play in this rivalry is right up there,” he added.

You can find more information about the Fountain City Classic here.

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