For those of us who hoped Nick Saban retiring would be the end of Nick Saban, this idle/jilted version of him might be even more insufferable. In an ESPN story about how Alabama pivoted from Saban to Kalen Deboer in 49 hours, the seven-time title winner revealed that “player attitudes” and the NIL era contributed to his departure.

Alright, so let me get this straight, Saban can light up coaches, players and officials during the game, yet once the final whistle is blown, it’s all water under the bridge? Just compartmentalize it and move on. Never ever let them see you emote.

Not only is there a five-minute long Nick Saban Rage Compilation on YouTube, but what’s classy about retiring from college football and then going on a scorched earth tour of everything that — from the way it sounds — didn’t lead to his retirement, but rather forced him out of the game? Sorry that the courts didn’t rule in favor of upholding a system that Bama more or less had a monopoly over, Nick. Just take the loss like a man, accept the results and stop slamming your head against the wall.

This next quote sure sounds like someone who’s royally pissed that his players don’t have to be blindly loyal to the program anymore.

“I thought we could have a hell of a team [in 2024], and then maybe 70 or 80 percent of the players you talk to, all they want to know is two things: What assurances do I have that I’m going to play because they’re thinking about transferring, and how much are you going to pay me?” Saban said. “Our program here was always built on how much value can we create for your future and your personal development, academic success in graduating and developing an NFL career on the field.

“So I’m saying to myself, ‘Maybe this doesn’t work anymore, that the goals and aspirations are just different and that it’s all about how much money can I make as a college player?’ I’m not saying that’s bad. I’m not saying it’s wrong, I’m just saying that’s never been what we were all about, and it’s not why we had success through the years.”

The gall of a guy — who received a raise anytime another program gave out a contract that was more lucrative than his — to bring up compensation is wild. The reason Saban had success through the years is because he’s a great coach and he owned the power vacuum. It’s a lot harder to treat players as disposable when they can do something about it. Back in November, Saban lamented that the transfer portal is tougher on Alabama than other schools because “we don’t lose our best players. We lose the next best player.”

“The guy that’s been in the program for two or three years — he’s a really good player, good special teams guy, a backup, but he goes someplace else and starts for somebody else.”

Oh, boo-hoo, your three- and four-stars are no longer forced to waste away on the bench and spend their last days of football covering kicks and holding clipboards. How about the comments from Group of Five coaches who likened their programs to a “farm system”?

​​“We are a farm system,” said Liberty coach Jamey Chadwell. “No matter who you are, you are going to have to try hard to hold on to your top players. That gets taxing. We are taking the approach that if a freshman plays and he does well, we are only going to have him for one more year.”

If I recall, Jermaine Burton, the leading receiver for the Crimson Tide last season, transferred to Tuscaloosa from Georgia. How about running back Jahmyr Gibbs, who was at Georgia Tech before Saban turned him into a first-round pick a couple seasons ago? So Saban can take other programs’ best backups and/or best players, yet when it happens to him, it’s upsetting the competitive balance?

Tricky Nick went to Capitol Hill in June to lobby Congress and his buddy Sen. Jon Manchin to fix the transfer portal and regulate NIL money. That didn’t work a lick, the NCAA is now in shambles, but, yes, player frustrations, NIL money and a lack of devout loyalty strongly influenced his decision.

Oh, and by the way, Saban is going to be plastered all over ESPN as part of College Gameday, and I’m sure his now coworker Pat McAfee will continue to happily pay him hundreds of thousands in exchange for interviews. If he wants to join the media, that’s fine. Just know no one feels sympathy for his plight, and all this bitching about the transfer portal and NIL money only demonizes the people he alleges to support. As far as I can tell, the only sore loser here is Nick Saban.


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