Tim Tebow won a lot of games and fought a lot of tough battles in his football career. But he says one challenge stood above the rest: Nick Saban.
Tebow recently joined ESPN’s First Take to discuss the Crimson Tide’s dramatic overtime win over Georgia in the College Football Playoff title game, and he had high praise for Saban.
“I’ve game-planned against Nick Saban,” Tebow said. “It’s one of the hardest things I’ve done in my life to beat a Nick Saban-coached football team.”
Tebow faced off against Saban’s Alabama teams twice, splitting the pair. Tebow won in the 2008 SEC Championship Game — and went on to win the national title — but Saban enacted his revenge the next year en route to a national championship of his own.
In his professional career, Tebow also matched wits with some tough defensive coaches, most notably in the 2012 playoffs against Pittsburgh’s Dick LeBeau, whom the Denver Broncos defeated in overtime behind a game-winning touchdown pass from Tebow. However, the next week Tebow ran into Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots, who came out victorious en route to a Super Bowl appearance.
“I got to play against Bill Belichick and so many of the best defensive minds, and there is not a brighter defensive mind than Nick Saban. It’s one reason why he was able to get Alabama to the top. They didn’t have the No. 1 recruiting class when he got there. But because of his schemes and the talent, he was able to get them to the top.
“When you talk about defense, Saban is up there with the best in the world and maybe the best of all time as far as defensive minds.”
Saban now has six national championships, with five coming at Alabama in the past nine years.