TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The University of Alabama held another national championship parade and celebration on Saturday afternoon, which began at Denny Chimes on campus and concluded with Nick Saban’s address in front of Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Here’s what he said:
“Thank you so much for the support that you’ve created, not only in being a part of this celebration to honor this great team and their accomplishments in 2017, but what you’ve done to support our team all year long. We can’t thank you enough for the support. What you do, the passion that you have, is what makes being the coach at the University of Alabama and a player at the University of Alabama something that’s extremely, extremely special, beyond words for me to really explain.
“Our team, our university, has an extraordinarily high standard for expectation of what we want to accomplish and what we want to do. This team has a tremendous standard for what they want to accomplish and what we want to play to on a consistent basis and how we want to represent this university. It’s a level, and anything less than that is not accepted. And that level has been established not just by this team but by the previous teams that we’ve had that have stood up here and won championships and been champions by the way they represent this university, how they compete and how they play. And that was very evident when there were 24 NFL players on our sidelines at the National Championship Game, and you could feel the spirit of each one of those guys and the expectation that they had for each one of these players. And then these players responding to that expectation with an outstanding performance to be able to come back and win a championship.
“The standard of togetherness that this team has, the grit to be able to compete on a consistent basis, to finish, the perseverance to overcome adversity and the challenges that this team had to face, whether it was injuries, difficult competition, tough turnaround for the National Championship Game, whatever it was. Their intensity to be able to focus and play one play at a time at a very high level, to be able to finish and win, I can tell you that this team didn’t meet the standard, they actually exceeded the standard because so many people contributed to what they were able to accomplish.
“Sometimes I think that all you fans out there think that these guys are some kind of superhuman student-athletes, but you know what? They’re really ordinary, normal student-athletes that are just like every other student-athlete. But they make themselves extraordinary because of the commitment that they make to the standard of excellence that they’re willing to work toward and persevere toward to accomplish something special together as a group. We have a sign that says not to win a championship but to be a champion. And this group probably exemplified the togetherness, the hard work, the perseverance, the positive energy that goes with being a champion. I could never, ever be prouder of a group for what they were able to accomplish this year.
“I really do think that this season and even the final game probably was a metaphor of life for us all to learn from. The challenges that the season created, the challenges that the game created, getting behind in the game, coming back in the game, losing a game and having to come back from that. The people that stepped up with the opportunities that were created because of players missing and always stepping up at a high level and to receive the challenge that they had to perform to and be able to play to a level that we could still succeed. The collective leadership that these guys showed each other so that they supported each other regardless of the circumstance. They always stayed together, they always played together. And their ability to persevere, their ability to overcome adversity, the resolve that they had as a group. The game, the Georgia game, the National Championship Game, this season, is a metaphor of life that we can all learn from.
“And I think we all have reason to be proud of what they were able to accomplish and what they were able to overcome. Now, we have the best fans in the world. You all are the best fans in the country. Today we have the best team in the country. And I think your support in coming out today makes this one of the best days and the best memories, aright, that each one of these young men can have and makes all the hard work that they did worthwhile. And it’s all for you. It’s all for them and what they could accomplish as a team and what we can be proud of together and the memories we were able to create. I don’t think anybody’s ever going to forget — I know I’ll never forget — the feeling that I had when Tua [Tagovailoa] takes a sack and one minute later the feeling that I had when we threw the touchdown pass. And for the seniors that are here on this team and the guys that will be leaving the team, my message after the game to them was, ‘Use the lessons that you learned in this season to help you be more successful in life. They will serve you well because the things that you did were extremely special.’ And to the players that are coming back, get ready for the challenges of the future and let everybody know that we’re not finished …”
(Fans and players finished the line by yelling out “Yet!”)
“Thank you very much and Roll Tide.”