In October 2016, actor/comedian Tom Arnold was a guest on “The Paul Finebaum Show” and said Alabama coach Nick Saban had flirted with the New York Giants before team hired Ben McAdoo in January 2014.
Football fans, especially Alabama fans, scoffed at the notion that Nick Saban would think about leaving Tuscaloosa even though there were rumors of Saban flirting with other college jobs (Texas) and even other NFL jobs.
Turns out, Arnold’s story may have been true. Sports Illustrated NFL writer Peter King wrote in his “Monday Morning QB” column about the same rumor involving Saban and the Giants.
Don’t get seduced by Mr. Perfect. The Giants have done that before. I am all in favor of going hard after Stanford coach David Shaw, but the Rams couldn’t get him interested last year, and he told me last year that if you’re going to go after him, you’re going to have to convince his wife that your city is better than Palo Alto. (Not likely, was his point.) And here’s the Nick Saban truth. Before the Giants hired McAdoo in 2016, an intermediary from the Saban camp reached out to a top Giants official. Said Saban might be interested. There was contact between the two sides, and after a couple of days, the word came back: “His wife says she’s not moving from Alabama.” Saban may come back to the NFL one day, and the Giants would be an interesting place for him, and if they could get him, by all means they should. But I get the sense the Giants at the highest level have been through the Saban dance before and won’t be going through it again.
Besides proving that Tom Arnold may have better sources than almost anyone, what else might what King wrote prove? For one, it might prove that despite multiple quotes of Saban saying he is happy in Tuscaloosa, his flirtatious nature with the NFL is a real pond that Saban dips his toe in from time to time.
Does this mean Saban ever will leave Alabama? Not necessarily, although Arnold seems to think so as he tweeted this to me Tuesday.
He would’ve signed yesterday if Ohio State was going to the BCS https://t.co/0JLTelklv7
— Tom Arnold (@TomArnold) December 5, 2017
To Arnold, the College Football Playoff committee did more than just save Alabama’s 2017 season. How different would this year’s coaching searches have been had Alabama not made the playoff and Nick Saban taken the now-vacant Giants job? Is there any truth to this Arnold message? I’m certainly not going to dismiss his words as many did before.
Nick Saban has a great thing going in Tuscaloosa, but it appears as if the thought of returning to the NFL is something that intrigues him. The University of Alabama may have to add a statue of “Miss Terry” on campus, as she seems to be the common thread between the two stories and the only one who can keep Nick in Tuscaloosa.
(You can follow Justin Nails on Twitter @justinnails)
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