Nick Saban is the greatest college football coach of all-time.
The current Alabama run ó five titles in nine seasons ó belongs at the top of any dynasty in the history of the sport. To do what Bama has done in this day and age of parity is remarkable
So, naturally, the question becomes: How do they do it?
Yes, they have talent. Start there. They have tons and tons of talent, more than the other guy in most cases.
But talent isnít the only ingredient needed for excellence, and Alabama has something else that you normally donít associate with greatness. The Tide has something that sets them apart from those trying to chase them down.
They have humility.
Typically, thatís not a word that comes up when talking about excellence. Normally, and even when it comes to Saban, you think of words like "arroganceíí and "entitledíí and "smugness.íí When it comes to Saban and Alabama, you might think of them as being cold and calculating, nothing more than a joyless machine that churns out victories, always looking for whatís next instead of enjoying whatís now.
But all of that could not be more wrong. Itís a narrative created by those who are both jealous and clueless about what exactly Saban has created in Alabama.
Everything that is great about Alabama ó its humility, its attention to detail, its work ethic, its bond to one another, its forgiveness of one another ó was on full display Monday night in Bamaís amazing comeback to beat Georgia in the national championship game.
It was humility that allowed Saban to switch quarterbacks at halftime. He could have been stubborn, sticking with his chosen starting quarterback Jalen Hurts, who was 26-2 in two years at Alabama and was playing his second consecutive national title game.
And how about Hurts? Did you see how he reacted during and after the game as he watched a true freshman, Tua Tagovailoa, become a college football legend and, most likely, Alabamaís starting quarterback for the next three years? Hurts didnít sulk. He didnít pout. He was the first one running to Tagovailoa every time something good happened and the first one to praise him after the game.
You see, humility isnít thinking less of yourself. Itís thinking of yourself less. Itís putting everyone else ahead of yourself.
Thatís what Alabama does. Thatís what Saban does. Thatís how they win.
Itís never about individuals. Itís never about accolades. Itís not about who gets credit.
As soon as the game was over, Saban was asked about equaling the great Bear Bryant with his sixth national title. Saban dismissed the question, saying that never important to him.
And donít believe for a second that Saban is a robot who no longer gets a thrill from winning. His reaction when the Tide won was pure elation and, after the game, he said, "Iíve never been happier in my life.íí
"Never,íí said Saban, smiling a smile he rarely shows publicly.
When you step back and look at what Alabama has done over the past decade, itís easy to get sucked into the belief that it has all been easy, that is a program on cruise control, fuelled by good luck and no obstacles. But do a deep dive and youíll see that it has taken work and endurance and perseverance.
Bama suffered a gut-wrenching loss on the last play of last yearís national championship. On Monday, it trailed 13-0 at the half and 20-7 in the third quarter. Its kicker missed an easy 36-yard field goal that should have been the winner at the end of regulation, a setback that wouldíve driven a stake into the heart of just about anyone else.
But Bama never stopped, allowing its freshman quarterback to make a play to win a title even after that quarterback made freshman mistakes.
In a way, that too is humility. Itís the ability to have confidence in someone even after they mess up. Itís also what allowed Saban to put Mekhi Brown back into the game after Brown melted down on the sideline and nearly punched an Alabama staffer. Brown made a big tackle later in the game and then cried for five minutes after the game, apologetic for his actions and thankful for Sabanís forvgiveness.
See, these are the moments that win games. These are the moments that win championships. These are the moments that create dynasties.
These are moments that set Alabama apart from everyone else.
Iíll say it, because Saban and Bama wonít.
Contact Tom Jones at [email protected] Follow @tomwjones.