Dolphins fans that have long moved past the Nick Saban era get a chance this week to relive the Nicktator’s single worst decision running Miami’s franchise. (Yep, even worse than interviewing with Mr. Florio.)
I’m referring to Saban’s failure to land Drew Brees during the 2006 offseason. The Dolphins instead ended with Daunte Culpepper, Saban eventually landed in Alabama, with the John Beck/Cam Cameron combo platter arrived in Miami.
In advance of this Sunday’s Saints-Dolphins game, a few excellent articles are out detailing what exactly happened four years ago.
Brees admits to Mike Triplette of the New Orleans Times-Picayune that he was leaning towards Miami initially, which confirms many previous reports. But the Saints and new coach Sean Payton made it clear they were “all in” for Brees, while Saban’s interest was lukewarm.
Brees recalls that, “Saban was just kind of like, ‘We’ll see what the test results say, and I’ll get back to you.’ And I was like, do you want me here or not?” Brees said. “And he was like, ‘Well, yeah, I do, I just have to make sure.'”
The Saints were ultimately willing to offer more money, and closed the deal soon thereafter. (Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald provides another good blow-by-blow account from the Dolphins perspective.)
Brees is tired of the subject this week already, so he released a statement Wednesday. He said the Dolphins didn’t believe in his ability to come back.
Brees is clearly happy that he wound up landing with his Plan B.
“Nothing could have worked out better than it has here . . . This is where I belong, and I felt like this was a calling.”
As someone who went to college in New Orleans and loves the city, I’m happy things worked out the way they did too. The Saints’ bond with the city is truly unique, and what Brees means to New Orleans is enough to make a sports cynic turn into a softie.
So, thanks Nick!