At long last, LSU is finally and fully out from under the shadow of Nick Saban
The confetti has long since fallen from the rafters of the New Orleans Superdome, its last remains on various eBay auctions. But the celebration continues, rightfully so, until who knows when. For LSU football the 2019 perfect season is significant in so many ways.
For starters, the perfect season was, well, perfect. No team in program history accomplished what the 2019 Tigers did. Their 15-0 record stands alone as the greatest in program history. Not since 1958 had LSU recorded an undefeated season (11-0), led by Billy Cannon who was also the school’s only Heisman Trophy winner until Joe Burrow earned the award for his legendary season, breaking nearly every passing record in the books.
It was a once-in-a-lifetime season for LSU with all parts coming together at the right time in the right place. It was Joe Brady momentarily descending from the NFL to bring innovation to an obsolete offense before returning to his rightful place at the next level. It was Burrow holing up in the film room to learn and perfect it. And it was head coach Ed Orgeron, Louisiana’s favorite son, who put it all together.
Yes, it was the perfect storm, lightning caught in a bottle, truly a fairytale season for LSU, which beat an unprecedented 7 top 10 teams.
But history will show that the 2019 season, as magnificent as it was and will always be remembered as, was perhaps most significant in lifting an ominous burden off the shoulders of its program. Healing the psyche of a troubled LSU fan base, the 2019 season once and for all freed it from the long and oftentimes excruciatingly painful shadow of one Nick Saban.
The man who resurrected LSU football, bringing a national championship for the first time in 45 years; the man who selfishly dumped on it a year later for the NFL only to double down on the snub with a return to the college ranks at LSU’s most heated and hated SEC rival no less, the page finally turned on the Nick Saban era relative to LSU football history.
It’s over. The wound that wouldn’t heal has finally done so. The scab that Les Miles couldn’t keep from getting ripped off time and time again, the heartache of 2011, is now gone. The healing of a fan base won’t be overlooked when reflecting on the jubilation that this season brought.
Nick Saban has been put in his place within the annals of LSU football, he no longer owns it or controls it. Now and forever he will be simply a woven part of it.
The 2019 team did what no other LSU team could, not even Saban’s best, his 2003 national championship team that seemed to set the standard for discipline and perfection. Alas, Florida’s 19-7 romp at Tiger Stadium proved otherwise. It was the only bump in the road to the title.
No, this year’s Tigers were better; better prepared, better disciplined, better physically, better in every way. This year’s Tigers redefined perfection with a precision never seen before; not in Baton Rouge for sure, and arguably not anywhere.
Yes, the 2019 LSU team stands alone in program history, above all others, above any of the 5 teams Saban produced on the bayou. And at the helm stands one of its own, a head coach whose lifelong dream it was to be at LSU. A leader who reached his destination, accomplishing what no other had ever done before him.
At long last, LSU football has passed Nick Saban by.