Everyone remembers Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban’s brief and mostly forgettable tenure with the NFL’s Miami Dolphins. He joined the team in 2005, two years after winning a national title with LSU, and went 15-17 in two seasons with Miami before leaving for Alabama.
However, in an interview with ESPN that was reported by Michael David Smith of NBC Sports’ Pro Football Talk, Saban said that there was one thing that could have kept him with the Dolphins: team management letting him sign Drew Brees.
“If we’d had Drew Brees, I might still be in Miami,” Saban said.
Saban wanted to sign Brees, then of the San Diego Chargers, back in 2006 after Miami had rolled with longtime NFL backup Gus Frerotte for most of 2005. However, Brees had a shoulder injury from which he was recovering, one that Miami doctors were hesitant to clear. Thus, Miami signed Daunte Culpepper instead and he appeared in just four games before being benched in favor of Joey Harrington.
Brees, on the other hand, signed with the New Orleans Saints and eventually won a Super Bowl, cementing himself as one of the top quarterbacks in the league. Miami has not made the playoffs since 2008.
That all being said, would Brees have been enough to keep Saban in the NFL? Well, it’s hard to say. Brees definitely would have made the team’s receiving corps at the time better, and free agent receivers definitely would have been more drawn to Miami due to the fact that they would have a fine quarterback getting them the ball. Just how well Miami would have been able to keep up with Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, however, is something we’ll never know.
But the fact remains that given Saban’s words, we as fans will naturally keep saying “what if” and wondering what could have been, especially since Saban’s name will surely pop up if NFL head coaching vacancies surface this winter.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports