Nick Saban almost definitely isn’t leaving Alabama after winning a fifth National Championship as head coach of the Tide.
Saban described the comeback win against Georgia on Monday, sparked by the entry of backup quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, as his happiest moment. “This was a great win for our players and I’ve never been happier in my life,” Saban told ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi.
Would a sixth National Title with the Tide, a seventh for Saban, an 18th in all for Alabama, make Saban even happier? It is tempting to wonder, in the days after one of the more startling finishes to a college football season in living memory, whether he might want to seek challenges outside of the college game. Even with Bear Bryant’s record of six national titles there for the beating next season.
Bruce Arians stirred the pot on Tuesday night on The Herd with Colin Cowherd. Arians, who just announced his retirement, said there was one franchise that could convince Saban to leave Alabama for the potentially choppier waters of the NFL.
“It would not surprise me,” Arians said when asked by Cowherd if Saban might be considering one of the NFL head coaching vacancies. “There's a job he covets and it just happens to be open... The Giants."
Arians answered pithily when Cowherd asked him why the Giants, especially, could draw Saban away from the job that he could have for life—or retirement at least—in Tuscaloosa. "Because they're the New York Giants,” Arians said. "When we grew up, they were the thing."
There are so many intertwined factors to mull over here, not least Saban’s reported $11.125 million-per-season salary, the fact he’s 66, and the chance to break Bryant’s record.
Set against them: the chance to atone for one of the few question marks over Saban’s coaching career, his two-season stint with the Miami Dolphins in the mid-2000s. That idea, again, that he might not have anything more to prove with the Tide. The only way now might be down, especially with his apprentices like Kirby Smart building powerhouses of their own.
Saban almost definitely won’t leave Alabama. But the NFL, and the Giants, exert their own definite pull factors and lures that could yet result in the offseason’s most startling coaching hire.
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