Fowler talked extensively about the topic of the day — the back-and-forth between Alabama football head coach Nick Saban and Texas A&M football coach Jimbo Fisher that had transpired in the previous 24 hours.
Fisher held a press conference Thursday morning where he leveled personal attacks at Saban. Some of the things Fisher said include calling Saban "a narcissist" and saying about Saban that "some people think they're God."
Finebaum asked Fowler, "There was no misunderstanding Jimbo Fisher today. I'm particularly interested in how you view his very personal attack on Nick Saban, his character and really, almost, his entire career."
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"Yeah, uncalled for," Fowler said. "He got off course there. I mean Jimbo is right to say that he's not cheating. They're just gaming the system. When you claim to have no knowledge of what a collective is — everyone knows what a collective is. That was the unintended consequence that was always going to happen when you have NIL. ... I understand Jimbo getting upset when it was implied that he cheated, but he did buy the players. He bought them within the framework of the system. And he struck back — Jimbo is a feisty guy."
Fowler then explained that he's interviewed Fisher several times with most of those occasions coming while he was the Florida State football head coach. Fisher was the FSU football head coach from 2010-17.
"He's a feisty character," Fowler said continuing his response. "Him striking back, it didn't surprise me. He feels on equal terms with Nick. He's one of the few coaches that probably isn't intimidated and feels like he can swing freely at him. And he did. But I don't think he covered himself in glory, to be honest with you."
Finebaum responded by saying that Fisher "played to his base."
"I don't want to overinterpret what Jimbo Fisher was saying, but he really did cast aspersions toward Nick Saban's integrity," Finebaum said. "We both know plenty of assistants who have had fun poking at Nick Saban's overbearance, but all these things equal greatness. But I felt like in Jimbo's case today, we went way beyond that, Chris."
"Yeah, we did," Fowler said in response. "I really don't understand it except to say that Jimbo's a feisty character, who gets off track a lot. And whether or not he would take anything back or walk anything back privately — he wouldn't do it publicly — I don't know. But listen, it's not the worst thing in the world to have feuding coaches. It's never been where these guys should be really good friends. They're in each other's way. They are obstacles for each other's goals and potential success. I don't have a problem with it, really. Let them work it out. It's good theater. If he crossed the line and wants to walk it back, OK. If he doesn't, I guess it will be an interesting collision at midfield."
The Alabama and Texas A&M football teams are scheduled to meet Oct. 8 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
On Thursday, the Southeastern Conference publicly reprimanded Saban and Fisher for their comments.
Here's more Nick Saban, Jimbo Fisher news:
Mike Golic Jr., Nick Saban: Mike Golic Jr. says it was 'beneath' Nick Saban to go after Deion Sanders, Jackson State
Cole Cubelic, Nick Saban: ESPN's Cole Cubelic says Nick Saban went 'full Fire Marshall Bill' on Texas A&M football
Jimbo Fisher, Nick Saban: Jimbo Fisher went scorched earth with Nick Saban. Here are the 6 most damning things he said
Chris Fowler visits stadiums around the country calling big games each week of the season...does he think the battles over NIL will drive away long time fans of the sport? 👇 pic.twitter.com/K6tncss5nx
— Paul Finebaum (@finebaum) May 19, 2022
Fowler has been with ESPN since 1986. Finebaum joined ESPN in 2013.
This article originally appeared on The Tuscaloosa News: ESPN's Chris Fowler criticizes Jimbo Fisher's attacks on Nick Saban