Do you think that when Nick Saban goes down to the cement dungeon beneath his Alabama mansion to unwind and walks past his case full of CFB National Championship trophies, his collection of jarred tears secretly obtained from rival SEC coaches (and Bill Belichick), and the trove of locks of hair (that he wishes were Super Bowl rings) he's pruned from all of his starting quarterbacks, he wishes he also had a wig made entirely of the hair of Drew Brees? Maybe he does. Maybe he does.
In an interview with ESPN this weekend, the Alabama coach said he thinks maybe he'd still be in Miami coaching the Dolphins if only the team hadn't famously fudged by signing Dante Culpepper instead of Brees.
"If we had had Drew Brees, I might still be in Miami," he told Paul Finebaum on ESPN's Outside the Lines.
Brees, of course, was recovering from a serious shoulder injury, while Culpepper was dealing with a leg injury. Doctors and Dolphins brass placed their bet on Culpepper when they figured a leg injury would pose a lesser recovery problem. Unfortunately, they were wrong. Brees is a two-time MVP, went on to play in seven Pro Bowls, and won a Super Bowl with the New Orleans Saints (in Miami, of all places). Culpepper, well, he didn't do much for the Fins.
Saban insinuated that the ultimate call came down to the team's doctor, who failed Brees on his physical, but several sports reporters and fans take issue with that claim.
I really like Nick Saban, but he is not telling the truth about Drew Brees & #Dolphins. It was his call. Don't blame him for the call ...— Jason Cole (@JasonColeBR) September 6, 2015
I'd respect Saban a lot more if he just said ,"I wanted Culpepper, thought Brees was done. I got it wrong & high tailed it back to college"— Ralph Malbrough (@SaintsForecast) September 6, 2015
Saban spent only two mediocre years in Miami before heading out with his pants on fire after months of denying he was interested in the Alabama job.
There's a lot of reasons to think that Saban just isn't cut out for an NFL gig. His hard-nosed, tyrant-like coaching style works better on young, unpaid college kids rather than full-grown men, most with at least hundreds of thousands of dollars in their bank accounts.
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Though, maybe if you squint your mind's eye a bit, you can see the best-case scenario that could have come about from a Brees-Saban partnership in Miami: The new Shula and Marino. Miami's answer to New England's Belichick and Brady. A yearly contest not just for dominance in the AFC East but also the entire AFC. A Super Bowl trophy or two or three back in South Florida. It could have been great. Then again, there are still a lot of things that could have gone wrong and reasons to believe it wouldn't have worked out that way.
In any case, some observers think Saban was being facetious and simply using the story to send a message to NFL teams.