I think we all know the answer to that question, after legendary coach Nick Saban announced yesterday that he was retiring after 17 seasons at the University of Alabama.
Saban is walking away after winning six national championships with the Crimson Tide, plus another during his time with LSU, and after a season in which he was just one win away from another appearance in the national championship game after making the College Football Playoffs yet again.
There’s been a lot of speculation that the sudden resignation – which reportedly came the same afternoon that he was interviewing coaches in the morning – is due to health issues, either his own or his wife, Miss Terry.
But earlier today, Saban put those rumors to rest during an interview with ESPN, where the 72-year old coach said that he made the decision to hang it up when he realized that his age was catching up to him:
“Well, I don’t think there’s any good time, especially when you’re a coach. Because once you’re a coach, you think you’re going to be a coach forever.
But I actually thought that in hiring coaches, recruiting players, that my age started to become a little bit of an issue. People wanted assurances that I would be here for three years, five years, whatever and that got harder and harder for me to be honest about.”
Well apparently the folks down in Tuscaloosa didn’t get the memo that Saban is still very much alive and well.
Immediately upon the news of his retirement, Tide fans began taking to the statue of Nick Saban outside of Bryant Denny Stadium and leaving tributes in a scene that would make you think the beloved coach had passed away.
I guess they’re not thinking straight in their grief.
It’s a bizarre scene for sure, but I decided to take a closer look at the offerings left at the statue, and it just got even more weird from there.
There are plenty of Oatmeal Creme Pies, a staple of Saban’s breakfast routine, and the Diet Coke that the coach is so fond of. And of course there are the customary flowers that people leave at a memorial (usually after someone’s died, but that’s beside the point).
But then there are some more strange tokens left for Saban.
Zoom in and you’ll see that somebody left Coach a condom, while another dropped off a Four Loko in Saban’s honor.
Yet another left a Smirnoff Ice, I guess in hopes of getting to see Saban drop to his knee and chug it.
Then there’s the duck decoy down in the front, maybe in honor of Saban’s appearances in Aflac commercials alongside the famous duck mascot and Colorado coach Deion Sanders?
Somebody also clearly just made due with what they had on them at the time they walked by, and left an empty bag of Bucees candy right up front. It’s the thought that counts. (Same goes for the single slice of pizza on a paper plate. Giving up your dinner to honor Saban).
And then there are some gifts that truly make it seem like he’s sick or has passed away.
In Saban’s hand is a “Get Well Soon” balloon, which I’m assuming someone left either to be funny or because they assume something health related led to Saban’s retirement despite his denials. That, or that was the only balloon left at Walmart.
And finally there’s a sign off to the side that reads:
“Well done my good and faithful servant.”
Again, just in case you forgot: HE’S STILL ALIVE.
Although I guess Alabama fans are mourning, whether Saban is with us or not.