It’s Nick Saban’s birthday today and the Alabama head coach is turning 65, prompting an appropriately low-key celebration across the college football landscape of somebody who just might be the best coach of all time in the sport.
As much as he would like all the focus to be on his team’s upcoming game against LSU however, that does not appear to be the case. In fact, according to one report in the New Jersey Record, Saban could have been preparing to face the Philadelphia Eagles this weekend instead of heading to Baton Rouge to play the Tigers.
This whole thing got started when comedian Tom Arnold told Paul Finebaum that Saban got in touch with the owners of the New York Giants in January and expressed interest in the open head coaching job vacated by Tom Coughlin. While a move from Alabama back to the NFL didn’t end up working out (Ben McAdoo was eventually promoted to the position), boxing promoter Bob Arum confirmed a few of the details involving Saban’s interest with the Record over the weekend.
“I get a call from Nick Khan, who’s an agent at CAA, and is a good friend of mine. He says, ‘Bob, I know you’re a good friend of (Giants co-owner) Steve Tisch. I have a colleague here at CAA,’ and I forget the guy’s name, ‘who represents Nick Saban. And Saban would be very interested in the Giants job,’” Arum told the paper. “I guess [Tisch] talked to (fellow co-owner John Mara)… because he called me back and he said, ‘Yes, we would be very interested. But we’re on a deadline. We’re about to hire somebody else.’
“They came back and said, ‘Nick is delighted. Now he’s talking to his wife.’ They went so far as to contact real estate agents in New Jersey, for homes in New Jersey. Then Nick [Khan] called back the next day and said, ‘Call Steve. Tell him Nick can’t do it. His wife loves Tuscaloosa, Alabama. She doesn’t want to move, so Nick can’t take the job.’”
Rumors that Saban has been looking to return to the NFL again have popped up nearly every season he’s been in Tuscaloosa and you could understand why he might be looking for a new challenge after winning his fifth national title. A prestigious job like the Giants would certainly be a solid fit given how he operates and even the timing makes some sense as Alabama beat Clemson on January 11th — three days before New York named McAdoo as their new head coach.
But it was not to be of course, and certainly not the first time that Saban’s wife Terry has been involved in a story about the coach possibly taking another job.
Thankfully for Alabama fans though, Saban stayed put in January and has the program on the cusp of yet another national title with an undefeated record and No. 1 ranking in all of the polls. It’s fun to think of what might have been had he decided to move on to the NFL but it’s probably safe to say it’s not the story Saban is thinking about on his birthday.