The Alabama Crimson Tide are arguably the most successful college football program of the past decade, with much of that credit going to coach Nick Saban.
During his six-year reign as head coach of the Tide, Saban has gone 67-13 (officially 62-13, but we’ll not get into how ridiculous the NCAA can be here) and won two BCS National Championships (with a potential third coming on Jan. 7 of next year).
He’s the face of the program and is practically a deity down in Tuscaloosa, constantly getting the best recruits and putting the best product possible out on the field each and every year.
Why all this effusive praise for Saban?
Because Greg A. Bedard of The Boston Globe is reporting that there is a small chance the coach signs on with the Cleveland Browns—apparently only if a number of parameters are reached and certain personnel decisions are made by the franchise.
Here’s what Bedard learned about the ‘Bama coach going back to the NFL:
According to the NFL sources, Saban has let it be known that if he returns to the NFL — where he flopped, going 15-17 with the Dolphins from 2005-06 — it would likely be with Lombardi playing [former Patriots GM Scott] Pioli to his [Patriots coach Bill] Belichick.
Belichick and Pioli famously built the New England dynasty that won three Super Bowls from 2001 through 2004, and Saban apparently feels he can repeat that success in Cleveland if Lombardi is his GM.
Of course, this all hinges on Saban somehow getting restless with his uber-successful college football program and not being satisfied by his fourth career national championship—an unprecedented number in this era.
He would be leaving the cushy confines of a state that lives and breathes successful college football to take over one of the most beleaguered franchises in the NFL.
Should Saban jump to the NFL again?
While the Browns have some pieces in place to turn it around (notably former Crimson Tide star Trent Richardson), it mostly seems like Cleveland’s football team is doomed to failure.
We certainly expect Lombardi (if he’s hired) and the rest of the Browns brass to make a hard push at poaching the ‘Bama head coach. However, Saban would be wise to rebuff the offers, no matter how financially appealing they may be.
The 61-year-old is revered in Tuscaloosa and his legend will only grow exponentially larger the longer he stays in the Yellowhammer State.