It’s irrational, it’s sickening… it’s everything you would expect from Alabama football fans.
I’m talking about how Bama fans are still reacting to rumors that Nick Saban is heading to the University of Texas.
Everything from, “he wouldn’t” to “I can’t blame him, he’s already given us so much” to “I don’t know how I would survive” have crossed the board of emotions in this swirling rumor mill.
Bama fans preach they are sick of hearing the deliciously tantalizing rumors that their coach- THE coach that has brought them three BCS National Championships in four years- is leaving them for greener Texas pastures.
The details of this rumor has varied. Originally, anonymous sources claimed Nick Saban was the favorite to replace Longhorns head coach Mack Brown. Those rumors have now graduated to bigger game- as in the Texas Athletic Director position.
Nick Saban says we fans shouldn’t worry.
“I am totally committed to the University of Alabama,” he said in a recent press conference.
If you just asked yourself, ‘hey, didn’t he say something similar about coming here when he was with the Dolphins?’ then consider yourself a smart observer.
The answer is yes. He said this to be exact, “I guess I have to say it, I’m not going to be the Alabama coach.”
Uttered only weeks before taking the job at the University of Alabama… that statement has haunted Saban and instilled a deep rooted concern among even the most loyal fanbases that maybe, just maybe, Saban is capable of lying right to our faces.
Yet, Saban is viewed as the man of the hour, the messiah of a born-again football program and besides not wanting the winning to stop- Bama fans want to connect his name with Alabama tradition forever. They literally want him to die here.
That sounds harsh but it’s the truth, and kind of beautiful in a really crazy, psycho, messed up sort of Alabama way. You see, Bear Bryant had a funeral procession along Tuscaloosa’s streets and Saban has a chance to be even greater than the Legend himself, why would UA want to share? You can’t blame them for so fiercely loving the man that has brought the one true thing they cherish, back to life.
The passion that Alabama fans feel to keep Nick Saban in the state could be seen when he was the focus of a 60 Minutes Sunday report, two weeks ago.
On a typical Sabbath in the South, Alabamians across the state muted their televisions when the evening news reporters talked about things like first amendment rights at Guantanamo Bay or Lamborghini’s newest engine- because who cares? The only thing that mattered was when Nick Saban popped up on their screens- then the sound returned to homes everywhere as the leader of Alabama football spoke.
While the show was granted rare access to Alabama’s program and Saban’s way of life, the 13 minute report showed nothing most Alabama fans wouldn’t already know.
They talked about The Process and how its most defining moment was when AJ McCarron and Barrett Jones pushed each other after disagreeing on the play to call- all while leading 41-14 in the National Championship game. They showed him yelling, they showed him running, they talked to him about being a perfectionist, his background in West Virginia, his father’s pee-wee football team and the lasting legacy he has left.
But Bama fans already knew all that, and they knew his legacy was right here in Tuscaloosa.
UA was the first administration, first group of players, and first fans at this level to all buy in and trust this man who hails from West Virginia and is driven by intense perfection that’s source is mysterious to the common public.
While the rest of the nation watched 60 Minutes and was hearing once again that Nick Saban is the sole reason Alabama is winning consistently- Alabama fans already sat comfortably aware of that fact. In their eyes, they were the first to let Saban be Saban completely and utterly. The first to let their university be the scientific lab allowing Saban the resources to engineer the success all Bama fans share. And so, fans watch and swoon over the unfettered coach that is bringing glory days back to the once “fading college football power” (as 60 Minutes described it.)
That’s why UA Chancellor Dr. Robert Witt’s polarizing comment on 60 Minutes rings so true, not just to those who measure athletic revenue but to fans that span generations of Crimson Tide pride.
“Nick Saban was the best financial investment this university has ever made,” Witt said without hesitation.
Finances aside, most fans know the “Saban investment” doesn’t only have monetary value and that is why any threat to their leader is a potential attack on their way of life. And if your fanbase was winning like they were- you would be just as nervous to lose him.
Alabama fans know if the time comes when Nick Saban wears any other color but Crimson, they would absolutely have to hate him. He’s just that good.
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