You guys remember Nick Saban’s rather unsuccessful stint as a head coach in the NFL right? You don’t? Oh, well I don’t really blame you.
After the 2004 season, Saban left LSU and took a job with the Miami Dolphins. To say that his career in the NFL pales in comparison to his one in the NFL is an understatement. In two seasons with the Dolphins, Saban went 15-17 and never made the playoffs.
Following the 2006 season, Saban announced to the Dolphins that he had taken a job with the Alabama Crimson Tide and the rest is history. According to Deadspin, there is probably a good reason why Saban wasn’t with the Dolphins for longer than two seasons and it had nothing to do with his coaching record.
According to the biography written about the Crimson Tide head coach Saban: The Making of a Coach, the Dolphins players liked to have fun with Saban and they did it a lot.
It all started during the Dolphins’ annual rookie talent show. Matt Roth and Channing Crowder, the team’s second- and third-round picks in the 2005 NFL Draft, teamed up for their act. They called their rookie head coach onto the stage and asked him to sit down and well, it got a little steamy in the auditorium.
“Saban, somewhat reluctantly, obliged. He sat facing Crowder and Roth. At that moment, Kay-Jay Harris, an undrafted free agent who had been signed by the team, was supposed to start playing some loud club music over the speakers, but he couldn’t figure out how to get the CD player to work. The “surprise” that Crowder and Roth had in store for Saban didn’t wait for her cue, however. From behind him, a stripper—dressed in high heels, a very small bikini, and a Jason Taylor Dolphins jersey—pranced out of a door and onto the stage. She touched Saban’s back. He flinched. When she walked around to face Saban, he shot straight up in his chair. Harris still couldn’t get the music going. The auditorium was instead filled with shouts and catcalls coming from the seats. The stripper moved in front of Saban and began to dance provocatively. He sat completely still for one more moment, then abruptly stood up, walked off the stage, and hustled up the stairs. The room went silent. “There were like 30 stairs,” says Crowder. “All you could hear was the click, click, click of his shoes, then the door creaking open and the boom when it shut behind him.” The room exploded in delirious peals of laughter. “It was pretty immature on our part to include Saban in the skit,” says Crowder. “But that’s why we did it.”
Apparently, this was the most harmless bit of joking around the team did with Saban. As you read on in the book, it becomes clear that the players on the team felt they were above Saban.
The book tells about a incident between Saban and then-Miami defensive tackle Randy Traylor, who had a clause in his contract that exempted him from conditioning drills. The team lined up for sprints and Traylor was the only one to job all while saying “Hey Nick! HEy Nick!” which was the one thing that pushed Saban’s buttons.
That made Saban snap and yell back at Traylor, who casually walked back over to the sideline.
There was also an incident between longtime Miami veteran Zach Thomas and Saban. Thomas was seen yelling at the assistant coaches when Saban got in his face and told him to shut up. The Dolphins pulled Thomas, who was known to have a short fuse, away from Saban before he did something he would regret.
All in all, it seemed like Saban wasn’t really cut out for the NFL. Not because he isn’t a great coach. His resume shows that he is. He wasn’t cut out for it simply because the players in the league were getting paid for what they do and weren’t too inclined to taking orders from someone with a college coach’s mentality.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to The Palm Beach Post