Nick Saban: Sympathy for The Devil

Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE
Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE /

It is much more secure to be feared than to be loved.    – Niccolo Machiavelli

Alabama football has, with the hiring of one man, gone from being a laughingstock to being the most hated program in America. I don’t know about you, but I think it’s nice to be relevant again.

When I mentioned a Hail Saban shirt I’d designed to some people a few days ago, the response was mostly positive, but a couple fans confirmed the attitude that has seeped into the Tide Nation. They were worried such swagger would confirm what our opponents already think of us. The implication being, I assume, that we don’t want to risk having the Miami media think we like having Nick Saban on board.

I, for one, am tired of apologizing for loving Alabama football. I sat in the stands last season with my head in my hands as we barely escaped with a win against Duke. Duke. Auburn has now beaten us so many times in a row, we’re not considered a serious opponent. They say we are hurting their strength of schedule.

We genuinely have cause for hope now and it has the rest of the SEC, and indeed all of college football, quaking. The bashing and name-calling you hear is the response of fans and media that don’t know what else to do, and of coaches that realize they have to look across the field at this guy in a few months. So we’re supposed to avoid doing or saying anything to get these people upset at us?

News flash: our opponents and their surrogates in the media are already doing all they can to undermine Coach Saban before he ever coaches a game. They are attempting to institute a scorched earth policy, and make him radioactive to recruits. He is played up as the Devil in a panama hat. Do you think this is being done because he can’t coach?

Yes, I realize part of Alabama’s tradition, and what sets us apart from some other schools is our class. We don’t tear down goalposts. We act like we’ve been in the endzone before. But I wonder if the people saying a little swagger is a bad thing refrain from yelling the Rammer Jammer cheer at games after a victory?

Part of the fun of college football is the bragging; the gamesmanship; the being a fan. And part of being a fan of Alabama football these days is playing to the genuine fear other schools have of our coach. I don’t remember many paying Mike Shula the attention it would take to insult him. True, some did, but would you rather opposing fans call your head football coach Bambi or Satan?

While I won’t ask you to show your support of these sentiments by buying a Hail Saban shirt (though I won’t stop you if you do), I will stand side by side with you at games and cheer our team, and our coach, no matter how much it offends the guys on the other sidelines.

As for the Miami media, who are playing to the cheap seats by heaping derision on Coach Saban; I’ll give a damn about your opinion when the Hurricanes make it through just one season without an arrest, brawl or declaration of war by your color commentator.

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