Nick Saban Article by Michael Silver

Discussion in 'NFL Zone' started by Kilyin, Jan 9, 2013.

  1. Kilyin

    Kilyin Well-Known Member

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    Dictator Nick Saban indeed better off staying in school instead of returning to NFL

    Nick Saban, the undisputed emperor of college football, has everything he could ever want in Tuscaloosa: Three national titles in four seasons; a great shot at another one a year from now; the best players; no static from anyone, including the browbeaten reporters who cover him; and the whole world kissing his feet.

    Thus it's no surprise that I think Saban, whose name has naturally come up in conversations among some NFL teams conducting coaching searches, should stay in Tuscaloosa.

    Yet there's another, far more compelling reason Saban should stick to the college game: He's too much of a hard *** — and too much of a lightweight — to survive in the big leagues.

    As with Crash Davis, he's far more suited to being the king of the minors .

    After coaching Alabama to a 42-14 victory in Monday night's BCS title game, Saban told reporters he's staying at the school , saying, "Maybe this is where I belong, and I'm really happy and at peace with that."

    Then again, this is the same man who declared in December of 2006, "I guess I have to say it: I'm not going to be the Alabama coach ."

    Less than two weeks later, he left the Miami Dolphins to become the Alabama coach. So pardon me if I don't consider his word stronger than oak .

    This is not to say that I disagree with Saban's sensibilities: College football is where he belongs. When you are such an intractable, humorless control freak that you react to a team employee commenting benignly upon your haircut by issuing a decree that staffers outside of football operations can no longer speak to you in the hallways, as Saban apparently did during his two-year stint with the Dolphins, it's a clear-cut sign that professional football is not for you.

    Saban is the worst kind of bully, an autocrat so consumed with his power — and making the people under him feel that power, at every opportunity — that his ill-tempered insecurity supersedes all else. The lower level the employee, the higher the likelihood that Saban would pull a power trip. Yes, he was a wonderful boss.

    You can get away with that boorish behavior in a college town where everything revolves around the university's football program, and where you can lord your authority over players whose scholarships and NFL futures hang in the balance. Making dissent even less likely is the reality that the young men you coach cycle through the program every three-to-five years, and only have to be around you for a limited, NCAA-mandated number of hours per week.

    In the NFL, where up-front money and salary-cap concerns make certain players difficult to cut or trade and where veteran leadership is essential for locker-room stability, Saban's style is an impediment to sustained success.

    He also spent an inordinate amount of time obsessing over the media coverage of his team — and trying to control it. Alas, in the six years since he's been gone, the attention paid to the NFL has intensified immensely. Watching Saban try to control his players' Twitter accounts alone would be high comedy.

    He is a good enough coach, especially on the defensive side of the ball, that he wasn't a complete disaster in Miami, going 15-17 before lying like John Edwards and fleeing like Saddam Hussein. As a leader, Saban was overmatched, and he knew it. And if the 61-year-old coach were to return to the NFL now, I believe he'd fail miserably. For one thing, his reputation would precede him in league circles — and that would not be a positive development.

    I was reminded of Saban's unpopular NFL past last Saturday while enjoying some Chinese food with Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo at a Towson, Md., restaurant. Ayanbadejo, a thoughtful veteran who has played for a healthy spectrum of head coaches during his 14-year professional career, recalled being summoned to Saban's office in 2005 after learning he'd been traded to the Chicago Bears.

    When Saban asked him if he had anything to say before he departed, Ayanbadejo replied, "You're a good coach. You should devote more time to coaching and less time to being a jerk."

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