Nick Saban went OFF on a caller’s question calling out what he feels are unrealistic fan expectations for the Alabama football program during his weekly “Hey Coach” show, broadcast on Facebook and other platforms.
Normally serene in the calm setting of Baumhower’s Victory Grill in Tuscaloosa, Saban nearly exploded when caller Roy from Selma asked about “rat poison” then said he goes to games knowing Alabama will not only win, but win big and is disappointed when the games are close, as has been the case a few times this year, most notably against LSU and Arkansas.
Starting out calm, Saban initially seemed he would treat it in the light-hearted manner in which he answers all the questions on this casual and insightful show. But as he went on he went off, raising his voice to a level that probably had people in the restaurant sliding back their chairs.
“I’m glad you go the game that way because I don’t go the game that way,” he said. “I have too much respect for the other team, have been in too many games where won when we were not expected to win, or the other team beat us.
“I think people don’t really,” (pause) “rat poison is rat poison and the media is going to create it but the reality of the world is not what you read on the internet, it’s what somebody says about things, it’s not what someone’s opinion is, it’s not what the line is on the game, all right, and certainly the biggest one is whenever a team loses two games.”
At that point, he began to raise his voice to a volcanic level.
“Everybody says ‘that team’s like done.’ And it’s really just the opposite. Texas A&M lost two games before we played and I said ‘it’s a dangerous team because these guys have pride in performance, they want to have a good team.’
“They had two disappointing losses. That makes them dangerous. They are humiliated by what’s happened the last two games. Same thing when we played LSU. Everybody said ‘oh, they lost two games in a row, they’re not any good anymore.’ It’s just the opposite of that, all right. They’re competitors, they have moms and dads, they have pride in their performance, they have things they want to accomplish and that they want to do, and they want to be good.
“They just don’t throw in the towel. They work harder to try and get better. And so, we’re going to get everybody’s best game. I don’t know why people can’t understand that, but (pause) you can say it’s not fair to our players that they get everybody’s best game. But they do and they have to be able to compete through that and play through that and it’s, I don’t know (shrug of the shoulders).
“When I came here everybody was happy to win a game. Now we’re not happy to win a game anymore. We’re not happy to win a game at all. We think we should win games by by whatever, and I don’t think that’s fair to the players, either.
“Our players work their BUTTS off to be the best that they can be. To get criticized for what they work so hard to do so that you can be entertained. So if you can have pride and passion and enjoy what they do – and they’re not perfect.”
Sit up at attention now because there’s more.
“They’re just college students,” Saban continued. “They go to school everyday, they’ve got to study, they have to run extra after practice when they miss study hall. I mean come on – give me a break!
“This is not professional football. These guys aren’t getting paid to play here (well, some are now with the new NIL rules). They are representing you all. You should be proud and happy to support them, and appreciate and have some gratitude.”
At this point, Saban is leaning forward almost to the point you think he’s going to rise out of his chair and go into the live audience.
“You know what else,” he added, his voice almost at a screaming level by now (it’s obvious he’s very passionate about his players ,by the way), “nobody wants to win more than they do; not me ,not you. I don’t care what kind of fan you are, NOBODY wants to win more than the players that play.
That seemed to be end of it but Saban had still more to get off his chest.
“And nobody feels worse than they do when they lose,” he said. “Nobody. So for all you self-absorbed folks out there that can’t look past your own self to appreciate what other people are doing…”
Saban then kind of threw his arms up in the air and the air was cleared a bit when host Eli Gold came in with a “well said at the very least.”
There was a spattering of applause from the crowd but mostly people just sat in stunned silence.
You can watch the show here on Facebook; his vocal outburst starts at approximately at the 1:36 mark.
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