After his fifth NCAA title, fourth with Alabama, Nick Saban has achieved nearly everything he has set out to accomplish in college football. Only Bear Bryant has more national titles and that was in a different era of collegiate athletics. His stint in the NFL with the Miami Dolphins is the only blemish on a stellar coaching resume.
John Mara has stated his preference for a proven head coach with a chip on his shoulder and Saban checks off both of those boxes. Mara revealed his thought process on on ESPN Radio last week, “Do you feel like they have something to prove? Is this something they’ve been waiting for their entire life and they can’t wait to get started?’’
For Saban, it’s something that’s been nagging him for almost a decade. Just four months ago, Saban griped about his experiment with the NFL. “If we’d had Drew Brees, I might still be in Miami,” Saban said. Saban wanted to sign then-free agent Brees to the Dolphins, but doctors refused to clear him due to his shoulder injury. Miami ended up signing Daunte Culpepper, who struggled with his own injuries, and Saban quickly learned that having a healthy franchise quarterback is a necessity for success in the NFL. He went 15-17 before going to Alabama.
Art Stapleton of NorthJersey.com, opined last night about the appeal of Saban to Giants ownership.
Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk speculates that the opening in Tampa Bay would be a possible landing spot for Saban. He recruited Jameis Winston, born and raised in Alabama, but Saban had to watch him play his collegiate football at FSU. He would finally have his franchise quarterback who is looking to improve on his successful rookie season.
The Giants would make sense as a landing spot for Saban if they were willing to back up a Brinks truck. To lure Saban to the NFL, any team would have to offer big money and likely some control over personnel. Whether that’s complete control like Chip Kelly had with the Eagles or not, Saban no doubt felt a bit hamstrung by his lack of control in Miami.