Former NFL executive Scott Pioli recently weighed-in on the Nick Saban – Tim Davis kerfuffle.
Before I offer a snippet, let me give you a hint: you’re going to like what he says.
Say what you will about Pioli being part of the Saban family – he’s worked with Saban and also Bill Belichick, these comments provide the best perspective I’ve seen on this mess:
“[Davis] spends a year out of football, can’t get a job, Nick creates a position at the University of Alabama to help a guy who’s been unemployed he shows his loyalty to the guy, brings him in, creates a position, pays him. This guy made the choice to come work for Nick and now a couple years later, he’s bashing a guy who really helped him,” Pioli said. “And to me this is something within the industry that I really struggle with, Mike, because I’ve see it happen to Bill Belichick, I’ve seen it happen to Bill Parcells, I just don’t understand the mentality of people who are given opportunities, they seize the opportunity, they get paid, and then some time in the future they start to air dirty laundry or their hard feelings toward someone. I just don’t understand why people can’t keep their mouths shut and move on. So, to me, it’s one of these trends in sports that I see, that I just, truly
I don’t understand it either, Scott, and it disappoints me as well.
Look out chain gang, it looks like Auburn’s getting deeper at the running back position where they run straight to the sideline.
“In the future, I’m going to be more committed in order to justify the honor you’ve given to me tonight.” [Coach Saban after being inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame]
It’s a little easier to not hate your arch rival when you’re beating them like a dog.
As a child growing up in the 1970s, I wasn’t aware of what it was like to lose to Auburn. Because of that, I was able to he
ar about players like Pat Sullivan and Terry Beasley without absolutely hating them. I don’t remember watching either play, but the photo at right is one of my earliest football memories of the enemy.
It’s a pretty cool photo.
Two players, fresh from the battle, enjoying a moment together on the sidelines.
But for Beasley, those battles – even from a relatively short football career, left him with a lifetime of disabilities:
Beasley, 63, has battled health problems related to concussions for more than a decade.
According to Anderson v. National Football League et al — Beasley and his wife are plaintiffs, along with dozens of other NFL players — a class-action lawsuit filed in a Georgia Northern District Court in May of 2012, Beasley has suffered from “multiple past traumatic brain injuries with symptoms including but not limited to, memory loss, headaches, anxiety and sleeplessness.”
Following his Auburn career, the San Francisco 49ers drafted Beasley with the 19th pick of the 1972 draft, but the toll of concussions suffered over the course of his career – Beasley suffered at least 19 concussions during his playing days in college and the professional ranks – cut his NFL career short.
Without a doubt, Beasley is the perfect example of how violent this sport we love actually is. And he’s also a great reminder that this is just a game. I pray that he and his family would be comforted by God during this most difficult time.
Tell the truth. The first time or so after you heard the name “Nick Saban” the phrase “Nick Satan” also ran through your mind.
I know it did for me.
So I’m sure Nick Saban has heard the phrase a couple of million times in his lifetime. And it’s probably one of those things you never like and you never get used to. One of those things you wish people would just quietly pass by.
For Saban, though, the phrase doesn’t just emanate from his surname. In case you haven’t heard, he’s got sort of a reputation as being a tough boss.
So this week, Florida offensive line coach Tim Davis tried to be a funny-man at a gathering of Florida boosters:
“I’ve always wanted to work with Will,” Davis said. “Will’s got a plan. Will coached under the devil himself for seven years. I only did three. He did seven. And his DNA is not any different than Nick.”
Real original, coach Davis.
Most expected coach Saban to bypass the comments and continue The Process undisturbed. But he addressed the issue with reporters at a Crimson Caravan event:
“I try to do right by the people that work for me,” he said. “It’s a tough, demanding job. And at the same time, if anybody had an issue or problem with me, I would want them to just tell me.”
“Twice. On two occasions,” Saban said. “It’s just disappointing. If somebody has a problem with me, I’d appreciate it if they’d tell me. If I’m doing something to offend somebody, I’d certainly like to do whatever I have to do to fix it. It’s not our intention. It’s not what we try to do.
“We’re in a tough business. It’s very competitive. Sometimes you’ve got to demand that people do things that maybe they don’t want to do, but it’s not personal.”
“I know it’s not representative of Will Muschamp and the University of Florida and the way they do things,” he said. “I know that, because I’m close enough to Will to know that.”
I’m not sure why people thought Saban would have no response. I mean, at some point he’s going to be in front of reporters and be asked about the situation. But, as it almost always the case, Saban handled the issue brilliantly.
In addition to generating a bit of sympathy for himself and showing a bit of his personal side, Saban also issued a few zingers:
- “I try to do right by the people that work for me,” he said. “It’s a tough, demanding job…We’re in a tough business. It’s very competitive. Sometimes you’ve got to demand that people do things that maybe they don’t want to do, but it’s not personal.” – In other words, it’s just bidness, Sonny. In his own way, Saban notes perhaps Davis wasn’t tough enough to work for him. He almost makes it sound like there were parts of Davis’ job he was asked to do, but either couldn’t or wouldn’t.
- “And at the same time, if anybody had an issue or problem with me, I would want them to just tell me…It’s just disappointing. If somebody has a problem with me, I’d appreciate it if they’d tell me. If I’m doing something to offend somebody, I’d certainly like to do whatever I have to do to fix it. It’s not our intention. It’s not what we try to do.” – In a couple of short sentences, Saban sends the message that Davis didn’t handle things the right way. If Davis had a problem with Saban, he should have been man enough to talk about the problem face-to-face.
- “I know it’s not representative of Will Muschamp and the University of Florida and the way they do things,” he said. “I know that, because I’m close enough to Will to know that.” – Boom, you’ve just been scolded by your daddy. In these parting words, he lumps the issue back over onto the Florida coach to handle.
Have you ever wondered why coach Saban limits the time his assistant coaches spend with the media? Consider this issue to be one of the top reasons.
Do I think Saban was seriously offended by Davis’ comments. I doubt it.
Do I think he meant to deliver the messages I’ve outlined above? I doubt he consciously thought about it. But that doesn’t mean the message wasn’t delivered.
File this off-season blog post under the category of something only Bama fans can do…compare three BCS National Championship Logos.
Let’s take a look at them and then discuss…
First up, 2009:
And, finally, 2012:
The 2009 logo celebrates Alabama’s 37-21 win over Texas in a game played at the Rose Bowl. This logo incorporates a crimson canvass with white words and gray used to color the football. All of that works well together, but the kicker for me is the use of the two roses on the bottom of each side of the logo. The use of the roses allows a touch of green to be added, for the stems, and is a permanent reminder of the game’s location, Pasadena, California. This use of green in the 2009 logo is the only color besides crimson, white and gray to be used in any of the three logos.
The 2011 version commemorates the Tide’s 21-0 win over LSU in New Orleans, Louisiana. This version, like 2012′s, doesn’t include the word “Alabama.” Instead it highlights “National Champions” in the center of the design. The logo also subtly pays homage to the historic site for the game, the Louisiana Superdome, in two ways (at least to my untrained eye): 1) the top third of the logo resembles the Superdome’s iconic shape; and 2) the football in the bottom portion of the logo also has the rounded shape of the Dome. (Ok, #2 may be a stretch.) The ornate design on either side of the script “A” at the top of the logo also harkens to mind the similar designs included in architecture of the French Quarter. This design, again like 2012, only includes crimson, white and gray.
The most recent logo commemorates Bama’s destruction of Notre Dame, 42-14, at the Orange Bowl in Miami, Florida. It’s crimson, white and gray, like it’s 2011 counterpart, and rightfully highlights the Tide’s status as “Back to Back National Champions” in the center. The only reference to location in this design is the use of two palm on either side of the script “A” at the top of the logo.
The year of each championship is also included on each logo. It appears at the top for 2009 and at the
bottom for the other two. Immediately following Bama’s win over the Irish, another logo appeared, but included “15″ at the bottom instead of “2012.” This version, however, seemed to disappear pretty quickly after the win. I like the incorporation of “15,” but including the year is a way to specifically honor the 2012 team and does provide some historical perspective.
Which is my favorite? I have to say the 2009 version. A 17-year title drought made me so hungry for a championship that probably any old logo would have sufficed, but the classic setting for the game, and thus the incorporation of the roses, makes this version stand out.
The 2011 version is a solid logo, but upon it’s release immediately paled in comparison to 2009. Compared to roses used in 2009, the subtle references to New Orleans seem way too subtle.
The 2012 version stands out because of the back-to-back championships aspect, though, at first glance one does wonder if it commemorates both championship teams, or just the 2012 squad.