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Nick Saban spoke for about four minutes straight, uninterrupted.
He was sitting at Baumhower’s Victory Grille for his weekly radio show when a caller asked how Saban gets the team to tune out the noise of Alabama being expected to win by significant margins.
“For example,” the caller said, “with Arkansas, we were supposed to blow them out and then you don’t do it, and it was because you have created such a game atmosphere that we go to the games knowing we’re going to win. We just don’t know by how much.”
Then Saban began to respond.
“I’ll tell you what, I’m glad you go to the game that way because I don’t ever go to the game that way,” Saban said. “I have too much respect for the other team, been in too many games, whether we won when we weren’t expected to win or the other team beat us.”
Rat poison, Saban said, is always going to be created by the media and that the reality of the world isn’t based on what can be read on the internet, what somebody thinks or what the line is for a game.
“The biggest one is, every time a team loses two games, everybody says that team is like done,” Saban said. “It’s really just the opposite.”
He referenced how Texas A&M had just lost two games before defeating Alabama, and those two losses made the Aggies dangerous. The same, Saban said, can be said about LSU and how many thought Alabama would blow the Tigers out because they’re “not good anymore.”
“They’re competitors,” Saban said. “They have moms and dads. They have pride in performance. They have things 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. We’re going to get everybody’s best game. I don’t know why people can’t understand that.”
Cheers from fans began to fill the restaurant as Saban continued.
“You can say it’s not fair to our players that they get everybody’s best game, but they do,” Saban said. “They have to able to compete through that and play over that. I don’t know. When I came here, everybody was happy to win a game. Now we’re not happy to win a game anymore. We’re not happy to win a game at all.”
The cheers grew.
“We think we should win games by whatever,” Saban said. “I don’t think that’s fair to the players either, because our players work their butt off to be the best they can be, and to get criticized for what they work hard for to do, so that you can be entertained. So that you can enjoy and have pride and passion for what they accomplish and what they do.”
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He said they’re just college students who go to school every day, study and have to run after practice if they miss study hall.
Clapping and cheers echoed through the restaurant.
“I mean, c’mon. Give me a break,” Saban said. “This is not professional football. 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.”
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Delivery: DailyYour EmailThe applause and cheers were holding steady while Saban’s voice raised, pushing the limits of the microphone.
“You know what else?,” Saban said. “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.”
Alabama radio voice Eli Gold begins to cut in, thinking Saban was done. He wasn’t.
“And nobody feels worse than they do when they lose,” Saban said. “Nobody. So for all you self-absorbed folks out there that can’t look past your own self, aight, to appreciate what other people are doing.”
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