Saban-to-Texas leak was a contract ploy

Paul Fineman on CBS Sports’ Tim Brando Show:  “The Nick Saban to Texas story is the most overplayed, under-substantiated story in the history of college football.  There was never a chance he was going.”


Just like he wasn’t going to leave the Miami Dolphins?


Fineman said the Texas rumor “was something Jimmy Sexton (Saban’s agent) let get out there for fun. . . . I feel very confident Saban will stay at Alabama with a megadeal that he would have gotten anyway. ”


What he means:  Saban’s agent concocted a story designed to raise the stakes in the upcoming negotiations for a contract extension.


Fineman, who knows Saban about as well as anyone in the media, said the University of Texas would be a bigger challenge than he would want. He said Texas is “a program that is so confusing and so political, he would answer to fifty people instead of one.”


Still, Saban’s wife Terry offered this: “People get spoiled by success, and there gets to be a lack of appreciation.  We’re kind of there now.”


Followup question:  Given that Saban is the highest-paid coach in college ball, how much more appreciation does he need?


On ESPN’s Sports Reporters, Mike Lupica criticized the conduct of law enforcement in the investigation of Heisman Trophy candidate Jameis Winston.  “If it’s true that one of the policemen said to the young woman, ‘Are you sure you want to go ahead with this?’  And if this woman believes she was forced to have sex with this man, well yeah, why wouldn’t she  . . .”

At which point John Saunders interrupted:  “That would be heinous.”

Lupica agreed:  “And then I saw one of the state’s attorneys say, ‘He was just doing his job.’  What job is that exactly?”


Perhaps it’s part of his job to warn women of the indecencies and humiliations they must endure whenever they accuse men of raping them.  And what gratitude she might expect for bringing down a popular athlete and a national championship-contending football team.


          In an interview with the Washington Post, Redskins receiver Santana Moss objected to Robert Griffin III criticizing his coaches for a predictable offense and talking up his own leadership qualities, rather than accepting accountability for breakdowns:  “When you know you’re a leader, you don’t have to tell people you’re a leader, one.  Two, as a leader you understand that if you’re involved in the situation whether you’re the receiver, the quarterback, the guys making the tackle, whoever  . . . you have to at some point stand up and say ‘Me’ or ‘I.’”


NFL Network reported that Griffin asked his coaches to not show his sacks and turnovers when the team is viewing film.  Apparently Griffin in college did not have to look at his negative plays in team meetings.

      Jim Rome of CBS Sports asked:  “Isn’t the idea to learn from the bad plays on tape, to study those plays?  If you cut them out, it’s not a game tape, it’s a highlight reel.  He’s blamed his bad plays on his coaches and his receivers and now to come to find out he’s trying to erase them altogether.  Allegedly.”


After a limping Griffin played poorly Monday night against San Francisco, Niners linebacker Ahman Brooks said.  “I don’t think he should be playing.  You can see it.  Everybody can see it.”



Outside Sources


ESPN Magazine devotes a section of the Nov. 25 issue to a study of the quarterback position.  When NFL players were polled on which quarterback they would most like to play for, the winners were Peyton Manning 54%, Drew Brees 13%, Andrew Luck 8%.


       What, no Tom Brady?


The mag reports that Peyton Manning is “blitz-proof.”  He releases the ball in 2.32 seconds which is 0.14 faster than he was last year and is third best in the entire league.  He ranks No. 1 when under pressure, completing 62.5%, while the league average is 40.8.


ESPN’s busy researchers determined through scientific data that Matthew Stafford is the most “clutch” QB in the league, based on how much his efficiency improves over his norm when the game is in balance.  Not surprisingly, Tony Romo and Carson Palmer came out “not clutch.”


Jim Rome summarized New England’s Brady-led comeback from a 24-0 deficit to beat Manning and Denver: “Brady was firing daggers into the wind.  Manning floated ducks.  If he can’t get his weapons going, he can’t play in the elements and he can’t play from ahead, then that Manning-Brady rivalry is officially dead.  And come January, so is Denver.”


        Hey, Peyton:  Do ya think a cold wind might blow through the Meadowlands in February’s Super Bowl?


Tony Kornheiser on ESPN’s Pardon the Interruption:  “I’ll read this statistic: The record for teams down 24-0 at the half is now 5-and-485.”


On the same show, Mike Wilbon called the NFC North “the worst division in football: The old Black-and-Blue has got the Packers playing without Aaron Rodgers, the Bears playing without a defense, the Vikings without a prayer and the Lions without a brain.”

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