The G.O.A.T. has left the building
Farewell to the retiring Nick Saban, the greatest college football coach who ever lived.
Fresh off a devastating overtime defeat last week, Nick Saban broke character.
“This is one of the most amazing seasons in Alabama football history in terms of where this team came from, what they were able to accomplish and what they were able to do, winning the SEC Championship,” Saban said after losing the Rose Bowl to Michigan. “And really, really proud of this group.”
Was this — effusive praise of a team that fell short in the Playoff — the sign we all should have picked up on? That the end was near for the greatest college football coach of ‘em all?
Some may look at that quote and others like it from this season and say that Saban lost his edge. More likely, the man was simply at peace.
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He actually got to coach football this year, in the literal sense. He molded a raw group and turned it into a unit that was an overtime away from likely winning him his eighth national title. If you saw how the Crimson Tide looked back in Week 2 against Texas — and even a week later at USF — then you know what a monumental leap they took in-season. And you know what a breath of fresh air that was for their ever-demanding 72-year-old coach.
Saban is gone now, hanging up the whistle Wednesday after 17 seasons as the head coach at Alabama, 28 seasons as a college head coach and exactly 50 seasons in the coaching profession. The numbers are what they are, and they are absolutely otherworldly.