With Alabama coach Nick Saban winning his seventh national championship, there’s no question that he’s the greatest coach in college football history. But is he the greatest coach ever, in any sport?
Simms and I had an unplanned debate on the subject earlier today on PFT Live. Saban definitely is the greatest college football coach. I can’t call him the best coach ever in any sport.
He had a chance to be the greatest in any sport, but he left the NFL after two seasons and a 15-17 record. After his first season, which resulted in a 9-7 finish, Saban chose trading a second-round pick to the Vikings for quarterback Daunte Culpepper (who had a wrecked knee) over signing as a free agent quarterback Drew Brees (who had a wrecked shoulder). Team doctors have been blamed for the decision, but does anyone really think that the Dolphins wouldn’t have signed Brees if that’s what Saban wanted?
A few years ago, Saban said that, if the Dolphins had signed Brees, Saban might still be the Dolphins coach. This assumes that Saban would have done with Brees in Miami what Sean Payton did with Brees in New Orleans. There’s simply not enough evidence of Saban’s NFL coaching process to allow that decision to be confidently made, especially since Saban made his way as a defensive specialist.
He’s still the best college coach ever, and he has said he has no unfinished business in the NFL. And if he wants to take the title of greatest coach ever (it currently belongs, in my view, to Saban’s friend, Bill Belichick), the NFL currently has seven vacancies. If he wants to give it a whirl with the Texans or the Chargers or the Jaguars or the Eagles or the Jets or the Lions or the Falcons, they’d surely consider his application favorably.