Sports fans, you already know about the one story that dominated the sports scene last week — If Mack Brown is out at Texas, will Nick Saban replace him? Day after day, minute after minute, Brown/Saban/Texas talk swirled.
Then finally on Friday word came that Saban would sign yet another new deal with Bama. (No wonder, UA’s giving him extensions and raises every few months.) On Saturday, the coach had this to say:
“The way this sort of got spun, it was a little bit more like, ‘OK, he got a new contract at Alabama, so he’s going to stay at Alabama instead of going to Texas. I never considered going to Texas. That wasn’t even a conversation.
I knew that if Mack stepped down, there would probably be an opportunity, but it wasn’t something I was interested in doing, not at this stage in my career…
We’ve been trying to do this thing with Alabama all the way back into the season. It really wasn’t about the contract. It was about staying at Alabama, wanting to be at Alabama, wanting to continue to do good things for Alabama and our commitment to the players here, the university and the community.”
That whole “it really wasn’t about the contract” part? Yeah, that’s a lie.
Readers of the site know that this writer in particular doesn’t view Saban’s dismissal of the Bama job while still the Miami Dolphins’ coach as that big of a deal. Coaches blow off job opportunities and dance around job offers in order to keep their teams focused all the time. That goes with the territory. Sure, Saban was pressed again and again until he finally flat-out lied about the Alabama situation. But again, what was he supposed to do? Tell the truth and derail the Dolphins’ year?
This situation, however, is very much different. The Crimson Tide team doesn’t have another game for weeks. And last week’s nonsense was 100% about the contract. If it were really only about “staying at Alabama, wanting to be at Alabama,” Saban could have spoken out before getting his new contract, couldn’t he?
Before Tide fans chime in — and, for the record, we said repeatedly that we didn’t believe he’d leave Tuscaloosa — Saban had said previously that he wanted to stay at Alabama. We know that, no need to email. When he signed a new deal in March of 2012 the coach said: “From my standpoint, the acceptance of this extension represents our commitment — my commitment, our family’s commitment — to the University of Alabama for the rest of our career. We made that decision after the season when other people were interested.” He then had his contract “amended” and “restated” again this past April.
But here’s our question: Why? Why the need for a new contract this week? If he’s already committed to Alabama for the rest of his career, why did Saban need his salary jacked again? Why did he dance around the job topic while on ESPN a week ago?
Now we could have let all this slide had Saban not gotten a tad too sanctimonius about the way this all worked out for Texas’ Brown:
“I have a tremendous amount of respect for Mack Brown. Mack Brown is the coach at Texas. He deserves the right, based on his body of work, to be able to leave the program the way he wants to leave the program. It wasn’t fair to him or to me to be speculating about this job, which I haven’t talked to anybody there about.
Really, the whole thing from my perspective stunk, but there wasn’t a hell of a lot I could to about it.”
Total. Complete. Utter… BS.
Unless Saban was so deep into “the process” that he was totally incommunicado, he could have could put an end to the Texas talk any day last week prior to finalizing his Bama pact. He could have let Bill Battle or Jimmy Sexton put out a press release stating, “We’re working on a new deal and Saban is not even considering leaving Alabama.” He could have let Miss Terry do the talking. He could have pulled out his cell phone and called any writer or talkshow host in the country with a definitive answer to protect poor ol’ Mack Brown.
He didn’t because doing so would have given away leverage and contract negotiations are all about leverage. Anyone over the age of 10 with an IQ higher to match knows that to be true. So there is no arguing what just happened in the Heart of Dixie. Saban and Sexton — the wonder agent who’s mastered this routine — let everyone sweat just long enough to make sure the coach’s new deal would be super-sized and Tide fans would appreciate their beloved leader just a little bit more. No more of this underappreciation crap for Saint Nick.
The coach may be committed to Bama, just not so much so to tell the school, “The last contract was fine, I’m not leaving, put that cash back into the academic side of the school.” Not so much to shut down the Texas talk and help out Brown until he received another extension and another raise.
But for Saban to then come out and say — after the contract was agreed upon — that “there wasn’t a hell of a lot” he could do about all the speculation? Please. We believe a line from “The Outlaw Josey Wales” sums up our feelings pretty well…