Every year that Alabama head coach Nick Saban brings home the hardware, the critics come out and begin asking the same tireless question.
"Are you leaving for the NFL now?"
The answer has been no for quite some time and that is the response everybody will continue to get. College football is just simply way too attractive for Saban to leave. We are talking about three national championships in four years, a couple of commas in the back account and national respect that very few coaches have received at any level of sports.
You don't go and try to fix something that isn't broken.
Saban is not leaving Alabama, so stop asking the question.
Saban Will Try Anything Once
For those that just can't seem to believe that Saban is completely comfortable at the college level, let's get you out of the way first. Before Saban came to Alabama and began filling up his trophy room, he coached the Miami Dolphins during the 2005 and 2006 seasons.
Probably the least unsuccessful part of his career, Saban finished those two years with a combined record of 15-17. It wasn't fun for him because he wasn't winning and he knew he wasn't going to make an impact quite the way he wanted to.
Don't just take my word for it. Saban said it himself in an ESPN report when he tried to once again put this NFL question in the coffin for good.
I came to the Miami Dolphins, what, eight years ago for the best owner, the best person that I've ever had the opportunity to work for? And in the two years that I was here, had a very, very difficult time thinking that I could impact the organization in the way that I wanted to or the way that I was able to in college, and it was very difficult for me.
Some would say that the Dolphins didn't have the foundation to begin winning right away and that is why he failed. There is some truth to that. After all, expecting to win games with Gus Frerotte or Joey Harrington as your starting quarterback isn't exactly being given a fair shot.
But there is much more to what he said and why he isn't interested in coaching in the NFL.
Does Saban want to win? Of course. But he also wants to play a part in people’s lives and be more than just a coach that teaches X's and O's. At the college level, Saban has the opportunity to coach young kids and be a role model for them in life, which supersedes anything that can be taught on the gridiron.
Instead of coaching grown men who are stuck in their ways, Saban enjoys being able to play a role in his players' lives, as he told Cindy Boren of The Washington Post.
I didn’t feel like I could impact the team the same way that I can as a college coach in terms of affecting people’s lives personally, helping them develop careers by graduating from school, off the field, by helping develop them as football players, and there’s a lot of self gratification in all that, all right
Forget the NFL, this has to be the most satisfying job ever for the Alabama head coach.
College Is Where It Is at
If impacting his players forever wasn't good enough to remain a college coach for good, you also have the most logical reason Saban isn't going anywhere: he wins.
Not only does he have four national championships as a college coach, but three of those have come in the last four years. He has won tons of head coach awards, and with recruiting the way it has been lately, I'll go out on a limb and say there will be more of those accomplishments soon to come.
In college, Saban gets to pick and choose from a menu of elite players that will best fit his system. In the NFL, you draft a guy and cross your fingers that he is all that you hoped for. Sure, sometimes top recruits don't always play to their potential, but that is when Saban is able to turn to the next 5-star player and everything continues to run smoothly.
Saban has it made at Alabama and continues to restock on talent once guys decide to leave school early. The success he is having at college would be impossible to attain at the next level.
Even Bill Belichick, who would be considered the Saban of the NFL, has lost the last two Super Bowls he has been involved in. It is much harder to succeed in the NFL than it is in college and Saban knows this.
Would you rather be an icon at the collegiate level or just an ordinary guy in the NFL? I don't know about you, but I would have much more fun beating my competition into the ground every year than not making the playoffs and worrying about my job security.
Saban gets paid like a king and the most recent national championship victory earned him a nice little chunk of change on the side. There is no reason to leave when your current job gives you absolutely nothing to complain about.
Don't worry, Crimson Tide fans. Saban isn't going anywhere.