Bill Simmons doesn’t think too highly of Alabama head coach Nick Saban.
The former ESPN analyst and writer had some harsh critiques of Saban in a recent podcast, most notably calling Saban a coward for leaving the NFL and electing to say in college for the past decade.
Transcription via SEC Country:
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 agaisnt 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.’
Well this is awkward.
Saban’s tenure in the NFL after winning a national title at LSU didn’t go so well, as Saban went 15-17 in two seasons with the Miami Dolphins before returning back to the college game. Saban has won four championships with Alabama since, and he could capture a fifth if he beats Clemson in Monday’s national title game.
Criticizing Saban for that failed NFL venture can be a valid point, but Simmons seems to miss a major point about the college game in the process. Saban had to rebuild the Alabama program when he got there, and “the best” coaches really aren’t necessarily in the NFL. Jimbo Fisher, Urban Meyer, Jim Harbaugh, Chris Petersen, and Dabo Swinney are all fine coaches, and you don’t see Simmons going after them for sticking with — or in Harbaugh’s case, going back to — the college game.
Simmons’ criticism here would be analogous to saying that Bill Belichick isn’t that great because he stuck with Tom Brady and the Patriots and he didn’t go out and coach up a team in a more difficult situation. Both cases would completely miss the point on why Belichick and Saban are great coaches, and neither situation makes the coaches cowards.
Maybe Simmons should take his own advice and stick to criticizing the pros, because he clearly doesn’t get the college game.
[H/T SEC Country]