10 Things Alaska and Alabama have in Common


They're Both Bear Markets

The polar bear is native to Alaska.
The polar bear is native to Alaska.

And we're not talking the Wall Street kind, either. These back-to-nature states are home to unique species of bear. In Alaska, the polar bear is king. The world's largest land predator, the polar bear weighs up to 1,500 pounds and feasts on seals plucked from oceanic ice holes, living up to the descriptor once given it by Norse poets: seal's dread. The polar bear's fearsome reign isn't only over ocean creatures, though. Some natives still refuse to utter its real name for fear of causing offense.

In Alabama, there once lived an entirely different kind of bear. Longtime college football coach Paul "Bear" Bryant earned his nickname by agreeing to wrestle a captive bear at age 13. "Now imagine a guy that can carry the nickname Bear," former quarterback Joe Namath once told ESPN. Known for his record-breaking career wins and fearsomely competitive nature, Bryant was as easy to spot in his native habitat as a giant polar bear: He always wore a houndstooth hat on the sidelines.