Miss Terry asked the question that ended the Nick Saban Era

Don't fault Terry Saban, but she asked the question that ended the Alabama Football Nick Saban Era and the GOAT's coaching career.

Gary Cosby Jr.-Tuscaloosa News / USA

Make no mistake - Terry Saban asked the correct question. She cannot be faulted because the answer ended the Nick Saban Era.

In testimony to the U.S. Senate on Monday, Nick Saban talked about what is best for college football. While doing it, he explained that what is not best for college football was a reason why he and Terry Saban decided it was time for Nick's retirement.

Saban had been cautious about blaming NIL for why he decided to retire. As he said on Monday, he has always been in favor of players building and expanding their individual brands through NIL opportunities.

It was the other, once unintended use of NIL funds to sign recruits and transfers and pay players to play that Nick Saban disdained. And disdain is probably too mild a word to describe Nick Saban's feelings about what college football has become.

When asked on Monday how much the " current chaos contributed" to his retirement decision, Saban replied, "Well, all the things that I believed in for all these years -- 50 years of coaching -- no longer exist in college athletics," Saban said. "It always was about development of players, it was always about helping people be more successful in life."

As Saban explained college football has little to do with a development purpose any longer. Sure, coaches want their players to improve, but too often today's development cycle is two seasons or less. Much of what is still development leads to players who improved at Group of Five (really six, with the Pac-12) programs being snatched away by a Power Four high bidder.

Senator Joe Manchin (a longtime friend of Saban) asked the former Alabama Crimson Tide head coach to describe college football today. Saban's answer was " It’s whoever wants to pay, the most money raised, the most money to buy the most players is going to have the best opportunity to win."

The tipping point for Nick Saban was likely reached when Terry Saban asked her husband a simple question.

"Why are we doing this?"

Terry Saban

Understanding the context of Terry's question requires knowing that during Alabama's Nick Saban Era, Terry Saban was probably the Tide's most important recruiter. She was the one who most convinced the families, and especially the mothers that the Alabama program was best for their son.

Terry Saban, perhaps even more than Nick understood how much the recruiting environment had changed. When Nick Asked Terry to explain the 'why' question, her response was "'All they care about is how much you're going to pay them. They don't care about how you're going to develop them, which is what we've always done. So why are we doing this?"

Nick Saban had no good answer. And without a good answer, the Sabans chose the retirement path a few days later.

Few college football fans choose to remember, but Nick Saban saw the chaos coming years ago. He warned any who listen. But one person, not even a GOAT could have stopped the massive changes.