Alabama Football: The retirement question, why all the asks, and why Nick must answer

The pernicious question about Saban and retirement. Alabama football fans are fed up with them and that must be mild compared to Nick’s real response.

Again this week, the subject of Nick Saban and retirement from Alabama football, was front and center nationally. Chris Low spoke about it to Paul Finebaum. Low and Finebaum have earned respect for their reporting over many years. Even if you don’t much care for the Finebaum show (count me in) you can acknowledge his talent as an interviewer. Low, despite being a UT fan, consistently does quality work.

So, to be clear, this is no exercise in shooting two messengers, just doing their jobs. But like most Alabama football fans, I want a cease and desist order issued to stop the ubiquitous questions. Enough already, let the man work without being constantly hounded about when he will retire.

He will retire when he is good and ready and hopefully for the sake of Alabama football, that time is far into the future. The same as Low said on Paul’s show, we think that means well into Nick Saban’s 70’s.

Nick exhibits exceptional patience, publicly at least, with the frequently repeating question of when. He says he has not been part of a team since he was nine and cannot imagine not being part of one. The most recent iteration of explaining earned a summation on seccountry.com,

Nick Saban on retirement” “It’s something I couldn’t even imagine.”

As Alabama football fans we will take that to mean, retirement for Nick Saban, is inconceivable.

There is a reason the questions will keep coming

The retirement questions will persist. And there is one primary reason why the questions are not going away. The reason is Alabama football opposing coaches will wield the questions as a weapon to attack Saban’s recruiting prowess. Sow enough doubt about the future of Nick’s coaching career and maybe lure away a few 5-stars from the Crimson Tide’s ever-rebuilding war chest.

Alabama fans have justification to be disdainful of such tactics, but such is the nature of recruiting. Saban’s success allows him to recruit without attacking the weaknesses of other programs. But that does not mean he can opt to deflect, or not defend, against  false suppositions his career is nearing its end. He has to repeatedly and patiently answer the retirement questions. If he doesn’t, other programs will use any vague response against him.

It took awhile to have an impact, but the last few seasons of Paul ‘Bear’ Bryant’s career, retirement questions diminished his formerly masterful recruiting efforts. Toward the end, Bryant was too tired and too sick to fight it.

There is no diminished fight in Nick Saban. Based on his excellent health, he could easily battle for another decade or longer.

I guess if Nick can put up with all the nonsense, we Alabama football fans should not complain. Just in case though, I will remain poised to add Kirby and Jeremy to my dog-cuss list, joining Gus and Fat Phil and a few others.

In case anyone wonders about my dog-cuss list, it is a short one. I try to be like Pappy O’Daniel and be a “forgive and forget” guy. I tidy up the list every several years whether it needs it or not.