Nick Saban and Alabama are sitting on top of the college football world entering 2016, but did he almost retire after last season’s College Football Playoff championship win over Clemson?
SEC Network analyst Paul Finebaum thinks he nearly did. Finebaum hopped on Dan Wolken’s podcast and shared his thoughts on the subject.
You can listen to the entire podcast in the link below.
Finebaum discussed the second tough offseason for Saban, from the SEC Media Days frustration to the player arrests.
“I just have a feeling — call it what you choose,” Finebaum said. “This has been a fairly disorienting period since the national championship game. It could be a lot of things. I do think losing Kirby Smart could be more important than the typical Alabama fan makes it out to be. This is a guy who was really his right hand man, so to speak.”
Finebaum continued: “I thought he should have retired. I made that pretty clear. I believe he thought about it. This is just my opinion … I think he nearly did. I think he gave serious thought to walking away, and he just couldn’t pull the trigger because he’s one of these great figures — they’d rather be carried off the field than to be retired and say they can still play.
“I think Saban looked around college football — and with all due respect to Dabo Swinney, and said, ‘I just beat Dabo Swinney. I can do this again’ … I believe Saban said, ‘I’m going to keep doing this, because I’m the best there is.’ Now, he would never admit that, but I think he thinks like that.”
After long grueling seasons, it’s fair to think that head coaches look at a lot of aspects of their lives and reflect back on it. Specifically Saban, though, will know when his time is up. He’s not one of these coaches who will stick around forever like Bobby Bowden at Florida State. It’s certainly not about the money. He’ll know when to step away, and only a handful of teams in college football can legitimately take down the Crimson Tide this season.
Had Saban walked away after last season, it certainly wouldn’t have been a wildly surprising notion, but he still thinks he has more in the tank.
And with the success that he’s had, how could you doubt him?