Nick Saban proved himself not up to the task of coaching in the NFL during two unsuccessful seasons with the Dolphins, and he embarrassed himself on the way out of the NFL by taking the job at Alabama after promising he wouldn’t. But Saban has been an outstanding coach at the college level, and that may be enough to make some NFL owners interested in giving him another chance.
In an ESPN.com profile of Saban, Mark Schlabach reports that after Saban led Alabama to the national championship in January, there were overtures from a couple of NFL teams about a return to the pros.
It sounds crazy that any team would want Saban after he did a dismal job in Miami, and it also sounds crazy that any team would think Saban would leave with such a good thing going at Alabama. Then again, plenty of people were convinced that Pete Carroll would never leave USC to return to the NFL, but eventually he did.
Saban, however, acknowledged that he’s better suited for coaching a powerhouse program like Alabama, with all its inherent advantages, than he is coaching in the NFL, where parity means that all teams have approximately equal resources, and there are no easy wins over Western Kentucky or Florida Atlantic.
“I loved coaching the NFL players,” Saban said. “Everybody thinks it’s the NFL players who are hard to get along with. I loved the NFL players and it was never a problem. It’s just the rules of parity in that league make it difficult to create any advantage for yourself. I always thought my advantage was I was willing to outwork everybody to get better. That was a hard thing. I missed college players and I missed helping guys develop personally, academically and athletically.”
Missing college players while coaching in the NFL is not something Saban is likely to go through again.