With Thanksgiving a day away, Nick Saban sent a timely message to Alabama fans seeking more lopsided results from the Crimson Tide: be grateful for the team you have. The 70-year-old coach ripped “self-absorbed,” blowout-hungry fans in a rant lasting over two minutes on Wednesday.
The rant began with Saban recalling the criticism his team faced for defeating LSU by only six points on Nov. 6 LSU lost to Ole Miss by two touchdowns a week prior, causing many to think an Alabama blowout was inevitable.
Saban, however, says that binary line of thinking doesn’t apply to college football.
“It’s just the opposite of that,” Saban said on “The Nick Saban Show.” “They’re competitors. They have moms and dads. They have pride in performance. They have things that they want to accomplish and they want to do and they want to be good. They don’t just throw in the towel. They work harder to try to get better. And everybody wants to beat us. So, we’re going to get everybody’s best game, and I don’t know why people don’t understand that.”
Alabama has been college football’s preeminent force for much of Saban’s 15-year tenure, winning six national championships and making their way to the top of the AP Poll at least once in each of the last 14 seasons. Saban believes his team’s continued success puts a target on its back, making blowout wins more difficult to come by.
“You could say it’s not fair to our players that they get everybody’s best game, but they do,” Saban said. “And they have to be able to compete through that and play over that. When I came here, everybody was happy to win a game. Now we’re not happy to win a game any more. We’re not happy to win a game at all. We think we should win games by whatever. And I don’t think that’s fair to the players either because our players work their butt off to be the best that they can be.”
Saban admitted his players are “not perfect,” but he said it’s unfair to criticize them given how hard they work on the field and in the classroom. Especially, Saban says, because that work is serving entertainment to the fans.
“This is not professional football,” Saban said. “These guys aren’t getting paid to play here. They’re representing you all. You should be proud and happy to support them and appreciate what they do and have some gratitude. And you know what else? Nobody wants to win worse than they do. Not me, not you — I don’t care what kind of fan you are — nobody wants to win more than the players that play. Nobody. And nobody feels worse than they do when they lose. Nobody.”