Why I think Nick Saban would bolt for NFL, if the job is right

“A man can convince anyone he’s someone else but never himself”

– Verbal Kent, “The Usual Suspects” (1995)

Alabama head coach Nick Saban.
Alabama head coach Nick Saban.

I’m sure people think I’m crazy for putting this together but I don’t think this is farfetched. Yes, I know he’s built a dynasty at Alabama and it would be hard for him to leave Tuscaloosa. Let me emphasize, I don’t think Nick Saban would leave for just any NFL job tomorrow if a team called him. Here’s the criteria that I think it would take for Saban to leave Alabama for an NFL job:

1. The organization would have to have a talented, young quarterback or a future Hall of Famer

Sorry, but this rules out organizations like the Cleveland Browns, New York Jets, Buffalo Bills, Washington Redskins, etc. None of those teams have shown that they can draft and develop a great quarterback in some time. Saban has won championships at Alabama with average quarterbacks but that won’t work in the NFL. The best teams in the NFL have a competent or future Hall of Fame quarterback on its roster.

2. The organization would have to be a well-run organization

Once again, this rules out the Browns, Jets, Bills, and Redskins. Might as well throw out organizations like the Jacksonville Jaguars, Cincinnati Bengals, St. Louis Rams (or are they the Los Angeles Rams now?), Oakland Raiders, etc. I would imagine that Saban wouldn’t want to deal with narcissistic, egomaniac for an owner (I know I wouldn’t). Saban wants to have some sort of control of his team, and not be micro-managed by an owner.

3. It would have to be one of the smaller media markets

When Saban was with the Miami Dolphins he was hounded by the media. Miami is a huge city and therefore has a strong media presence. I think Saban hates the media more than he hates losing or having to defend spread offenses. I think that’s one of the reasons why he wanted to come back to college and go to a small town like Tuscaloosa. I think cities like Pittsburgh, Green Bay, Indianapolis, and Charlotte would appeal to Saban.

Top 3 candidates (in alphabetical order): Green Bay Packers, Indianapolis Colts, Pittsburgh Steelers

Alabama hoisting the 2016 national championship trophy.
Alabama hoisting the 2016 national championship trophy.

Why would he leave Alabama? These reasons:

1. He’s a fierce competitor

He’s won five national championships as a collegiate head coach. Not that that gets old, but I think Saban will always be hungry for more. He’s one of the most competitive coaches in football history. He hasn’t forgotten his first job in the NFL and I think he’d lick his chops to go up against the best week in and week out. He’d love another opportunity to succeed at the next level.

2. His first stint in the NFL wasn’t a colossal failure

15-17. That was Nick Saban’s record in his two season with the Miami Dolphins (I’ve seen worse records). He had his only losing season as a head coach in his second season there. I’m going to defend him because, at the time, Miami didn’t check out in any of the categories that I mentioned above for an ideal NFL job for Saban. He never had a good quarterback in Miami. If the Dolphins had been able to sign Drew Brees, like Saban wanted, I think he would still be the head coach of the Dolphins.

3. He can leave a stronger legacy

I think anyone is crazy if you think a guy like Saban is content with staying in college. He’s built a strong legacy in college football as one of the best head coaches of all time, but he has a drive to win and wants more. The NFL is obviously the next step for him. Given the right circumstances, I think Saban would be a successful head coach in the NFL. There’s been very few coaches that have been successful in college and NFL. He would have the opportunity to add on to his coaching legacy if he could win a Super Bowl.

Conclusion: Saban is going to turn 65 years old this year. Given his age, I think there’s very little chance that a NFL organization is going to pluck him from Alabama. I wrote this because it’s fun to think about and I don’t think it’s out of the question.

Thanks for reading

Shane Price
Follow me on Twitter – @priceisright53


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