Though he’s unquestionably the best college coach in the country, one very famous media voice doubts that Nick Saban is that great of a coach.
Bill Simmons, formerly of ESPN and Grantland and currently of The Ringer, had some strong words for the former Miami Dolphins coach on his podcast on Friday.
Most notably, he called Saban a “coward” and labeled college coaches inferior compared to those in the NFL. He begins talking about Saban at the 54:13 mark in the podcast.
He’s a coward. He left the NFL. He’s a coward. You want to compete against the best. The best coaches aren’t in college, they’re in professional football. He had a chance to go head-to-head against Bill Belichick, the greatest coach of all-time. He didn’t get the quarterback he wanted in Miami, and like a coward he went back to college, where he stays and just beats up on all these inferior college coaches. Congratulations. He’s the guy who plays Madden on rookie level winning the Super Bowl. Come to the NFL, let’s see what kind of coach he is. When he plays golf, does he play from the pink tees? Come to the NFL, let’s see how good you are. ‘Oh I didn’t get Drew Brees in Miami, I’m going back to college. I’m just gonna cherry pick all the best players in the country because I’m the head coach at Alabama.’
In Saban’s two seasons in Miami, he went 15-17. Against Belichick’s Patriots, Saban went 2-2. The last time Saban coached against Belichick, whose staff he worked on in Cleveland, the Dolphins shut out the Patriots 21-0. Since coming to Alabama in 2007, he’s gone 114-18.
Recent college coaches who have made the jump to the NFL have been a mixed bag. Chip Kelly has been fired twice in the past two seasons. Jim Harbaugh made it to three consecutive NFC championship games, but was fired after going 8-8 in his fourth season. Former Syracuse coach Doug Marrone left the Buffalo Bills after just two seasons.
Since the College Football Playoff came into existence, Alabama has made it into the playoff every year. Saban will be coaching Alabama on Monday against Clemson in the national championship game. A win would give him five national titles with Alabama, and six total. Six championships would tie him with Alabama legend Bear Bryant.
Update: Simmons acknowledged the story SEC Country did on his comments and had this response.
To hear Simmons full comments on the Saban, you can listen to them beginning at the of the 54:00 minute mark.