So how is Nick Saban dealing with the large spot on the hood of the NFL car that he wasn’t able to completely and properly wash? By acting as if it’s not there.
Appearing on Wednesday’s edition of The Dan Patrick Show, Saban addressed the assumption that he has unfinished business in the NFL.
“Well, I don’t know why anybody would assume that,” Saban said. “I think that there was a time for me, and that’s when I went to the Miami Dolphins, left LSU. Because I’d been in the NFL before I wanted to be a successful college coach and sort of the pinnacle of success would be to go to the NFL and try to win a championship in the NFL.
“I did that and learned a lot about myself and some of the things that are difficult to change in the NFL. I’m talking about systematically in terms of whether it’s salary-cap issues that you inherit or draft picks, whatever it might be. Where in college it seemed like you can control your own destiny a lot better by working hard at recruiting, have a good recruiting staff, do a good job of developing players. Which I felt my impact was a little more significant as a college coach because you could do those things a little easier than the rules of parity in the NFL. So I’ve been happy doing that. I think my wife’s happy doing that, being a part of the community here. We don’t have the urge right now to do anything other than be here at Alabama.”
Actually, Saban’s answer shows why anybody — and everybody — would assume that Saban has unfinished business in the NFL. He calls winning in the NFL the “pinnacle of success,” and he concedes that he was unable to achieve that “pinnacle of success” because of issues like the salary cap and parity.
The average football fan views Bill Belichick, one of Saban’s mentors (even though Saban is older), as a more successful coach because he has won at the NFL level. And Belichick has won at the NFL level because he got lucky with the 199th pick in the 2000 draft.
For Saban to return, he’d need something more than luck in the NFL’s annual player lottery. He’d want to coach a team that already has its Tom Brady.
The Buccaneers currently have a guy who could become one of the best quarterbacks of his generation, and Saban surely likes Jameis Winston to Alabama. After all, Saban tried to recruit him to Alabama.
Saban prefers college football because, put simply, he can use his recruiting skills to stack the deck. In the NFL, the deck is stacked by having a great quarterback and building a team around him.
So many assume Saban would return to the NFL if he could do it with a stacked deck — especially since he admitted in September that he’d still be coaching the Dolphins if they’d signed Drew Brees in 2006.