For a four-time national champion head coach, Nick Saban has certainly taken his share of criticism.
He was criticized for his constant movement between jobs, his inability to win in the NFL and even his intensity. With his fourth Coaches' Trophy, though, Saban has cemented his status as the best coach in the nation and one of the best of all time.
What Saban needed to prove is the ability to stay put and establish a national power. Everyone knew that he could turn a program into a power; he did it three times with Michigan State, LSU and Alabama.
Now we know what Saban is really capable of. He can create a dynasty.
Alabama has indeed become a dynasty under Nick Saban. Three national championships in four years. Five straight seasons with double-digit wins. Five All-Americans in 2012. Alabama is the best college football team since the Nebraska Cornhuskers of the mid-1990s.
The talent accumulation in Tuscaloosa has been truly special. The Tide have had a ridiculous 29 All-Americans since 2008 and tons of first-round picks over that span as well. Guys like Julio Jones, Dont'a Hightower, Andre Smith and Trent Richardson have all excelled at the next level, and Saban's coaching is a big reason why.
In his time at Alabama, Saban was named AP Coach of the Year in 2008 and Bobby Bowden Coach of the Year in 2009 and 2011.
The awards, the great players and the talent accumulation only tell part of the story.
While schools like Oregon, Ohio State and USC have all been hit with sanctions for various infractions, Alabama has dominated the old-fashioned way—hard work and hard recruiting. The Tide don't need to cheat to get incredible recruiting classes. They get recruits to come for the chance to play for a national power.
That has paid off this season yet again. The Tide have the best recruiting class in the nation with two 5-star recruits and 12 4-star recruits. The rich will keep getting richer under Saban.
When Saban hoisted that trophy on Monday night, he did more than win a national championship. He established a dynasty, and he became a legend.