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Hunter: Bryant looms over Saban too

By Hunter Ford

Paul William “Bear” Bryant, will never be surpassed or equaled by any Alabama coach, not even Nick Saban, despite whatever Shane from Centerpoint or anybody else wants to think.

I’m a lifelong Alabama fan and a huge Saban fan, and I believe Saban will win more SEC championships and possibly another national title before he leaves the Capstone. But, Saban cannot, will not, and nobody ever will, surpass the accomplishments of Paul Bryant, or overtake his legend. This is not some kind of defense offered to justify cultural hero worship, the way, say, some southerners would defend the name and character of Robert E. Lee or Jefferson Davis a century after the Civil War. It’s just plain fact that Saban is nowhere near close to being in the realm of Coach Bryant. Shane should know that, having lived through the best of the Bryant years.

The winning of championships and the development of a culture of winning at Alabama are two things Saban and Bryant have in common. But Saban has done nothing that Urban Meyer hadn’t done before him (win two National Championships). Shane probably would scoff at the idea of Meyer being “The next Bear.”

Bear Bryant still has two more national championships than Meyer and Saban combined, and Bear raked in a dozen SEC Titles, leaving both of the SEC’s current best head coaches lagging way behind.

Bryant was a legend in his own time whose career spanned at least three distinct eras of football. The 1950s, saw Bryant resurrect two programs, Kentucky and Texas A&M, in an era of football that no modern coach could even try to emulate today. They couldn’t without getting fired (see Leach and Leavitt). At Kentucky, Bryant guided the Wildcats to one of their only all-time SEC Titles and he made a name for himself by beating Bud Wiilkinsons’s Oklohoma Sooners in the Orange Bowl, ending one of college football’s longest ever winning streaks.

Bryant took the Aggies and developed a Heisman Trophy winner (John David Crowe), beat Texas and had an undefeated season before leaving for Tuscaloosa.

Bryant entered the next era of football, the 1960s, winning national championships and developing future NFL stars like Joe Namath, Leroy Jordan, Ray Perkins, Kenny Stabler and others.

The late sixties with its social changes posed challenges that Bryant met and overcame. Bryant weathered a two year funk and blew into the disco era with the wishbone, winning three more national titles. Bryant and Bama dominated the 70s like no other team will ever be able to, not even the twenty-first century Tide with Saban at the helm.

Saban did well at Michigan State, he did even better at LSU, and he has done a spectacular job so far at Alabama.

But, in my opinion, Saban has not had to travel and adapt through the paths of different eras like Bryant did. Another thing that sets Bryant apart from Saban is persona. Bryant had a signature, his houndstooth hat. He was a crusty character in an era when that was in vogue. He openly smoked and drank, and was rough and tough with his players, when you could not only do that, but it was seen as socially acceptable, even admirable. Bryant was larger than life in an era where media exposure was very low relevant to today’s standards. Saban has no signature, and his persona is mostly that of an intense, introverted, jerk-to-the-media. Davy Crockett, or Bryant, he is far from.

Bryant not only has 200 more football victories than Saban currently has, he has a legend that lives on even as Saban sits on the throne Bryant once occupied. Fans who weren’t born before Bryant died wear houndstooth hats, caps and skirts to games. These kids probably don’t know diddly about Bear. Yet they are literally clothed in his influence. Saban, hasn’t reached that level yet, and will need many more years to even come close.

22 thoughts on “Hunter: Bryant looms over Saban too”

  1. I appreciate Coach Saban, but Hunter is right. However, if Coach Saban stays 15 years at Alabama he might just win seven National Championships. He ain’t nothin but a winner too. Thank God the debate is even possible.

  2. Good observation. Saban has made the debate possible. I would love to see Saban stay for a decade or longer, and my feeling is he will.

    One other thing about the Bryant legend. Bryant played at Alabama on one of the 1930’s era teams that won the Rose Bowl. He came back to Alabama “when Mama called.” That is another part of the legend that I don’t see anybody ever being able to match.

  3. I am troubled by one thing. I get a real sense that Saban is a Mercenary. I just don’t feel that he has become part of Alabama yet – maybe never will.
    Outside of the Thread..
    I’m hearing that Tim Brando’s daughter was savagely attacked by a caller called “JIM” – while Paul Finebaum sat back …
    this is really sorry of Paul if this went down the way I heard it ….

  4. Yes … “Pawl” will have to decide if he wants to allow callers to continue to insult a National presence on his syndicated program. It’s a caller-based show and that’s the format he’s sticking to. Maybe they high-five in the private forum and settle this disgrace.

  5. He called Brandos daughter a Dixie Belle , and said Brando had a hard on for LSU in the same sentence .Thats it.

  6. spot on, hunter. spot on, pluto.

    if shane compared coach saban to coach bryant it only validates what i’ve said and known about shane for years.

    he’s a pretentious idiot.

    and someday somebody besides me is going to see that. in the meantime, i’ll hold the high ground of sanity alone.

    a coworker and i were talking about saban today and complimenting him on his constant acknowledgement of the fans and their contribution. but sometimes i wonder if he’s just going thru the motions.

  7. Hunter; Some prophet you are. Not! How long did it take Bryant to win an SEC crown or for that matter a championship team at UA. It took Saban much less time at both LSU and Bama. He is young, vivacious, and intense. He is neither a smoker nor a drinker and his personality is superior to any smoking, drinking, dead coach Yeah yeah Bryant. I believe Saban will win more outright championships than Bryant did and prove his mark on the field. If a houndstooth establishes an identity than maybe you ought to wear one everywhere you go. They’re only in style at BAMA. They don’t contribute to character. Besides Bryant in his latter, more mature years wore a cap or did you forget that. You will be proven dead wrong even if you leave this earth before Saban makes his mark.

  8. and on brando, another pretentious bastard.

    brando can dish it but he can’t take it. he’s jumped from job to job his entire career, finally settling at the perenially loser network, cbs. the only things cbs have going for it at the moment are sixty minutes, a serial filandering late nite comedian and sec football.

    now sec football is the gem, no doubt. and look what the swine do with their pearls.


    an aging verne lundquist.

    and brando in new york.

    the inarguably best D1 football conference in the country and this is all they’ve got???


    It’s just so hard to compete in the SEC…

  10. To compare Saban to Bryant is insane. Shane has been very lame as of late (to me) Thanks Hunter, for not going along with this. Paul Bryant had tremendous ties to the University, so did Stallings. CNS does not. I appreciate Nick, but his motivation has to be different. Mal has total devotion to the program, I would guarantee CNS does not. Regardless, they pay him to do a JOB, he is a great coach, but Shane’s mancrush goes over the line. Ive enjoyed Shane, but this is not well thought out and lazy. a reaction for the sake of reaction it might be, but it doesnt help his “credibilty” which he had somewhat with some of us. Sabans heart may change after a decade and several NCs, but there is no comparision and the game has changed so that Im not looking for one. I wish CNS well, but i doubt he bleeds crimson and white. Paul Bryant and Stallings did regardless of the TX ties. Thanks for not taking the company line. Absurd notion to say the least.The prophet calls BS on Shane’s blog with respect.

  11. Wildman, Bryant took the job in ’58, won the first NC in ’61, 3 years, same as Saban. And he won it back-to-back 3 times, top that shit biggun

  12. I don’t think it is productive to compare the two or to take sides. This is like trying to decide if your Grandfather or your Millionaire Uncle is the better patriarch of the family.

    They both are great men. I’m just glad that they both wear Crimson.

    Furthermore, anyone that thinks any less of CNS because he seems to be a mercenary doesn’t understand Saban at all.

    Saban is at Alabama because it is a place where he can do what he wants to do, which is be a totalitarian. Saban knows that as long as he has total control, eventually he can be successful. This is why he gets furious with other things or other people. This is why he left the Dolphins. He was not in total control.

    Nick Saban will be the Head Coach at Alabama as long as he has total control and has the opportunity to dominate his opponents. That is why he gets up in the morning. He lives to kick other people’s ass in recruiting and coaching college football. That’s it. If you cede to him total control, he will stay.

    The $5 million dollars a year in salary and endorsements is just the cherry on top for Saban.

    So, don’t criticize him for being a mercenary. He is doing what he loves to do in an unfettered environment.

    To claim that Saban is a hired gun is a completely ignorant comment.

  13. Coach Saban is an important part of a machine. Other parts of the machine are; the AD, the administration, the boosters, scouting system, and other friends of the program. If fall the parts work well together, the machine works very well. The ‘core’ parts of the Bama machine are always there, but they work better when the other parts are doing well.
    Bad coaching, bad talent, bad administration can ruin a program if any part is faulty. The machine will continue to run well as long as we don’t have any major changes.

  14. It will be funny if Kiffin kills Saban at the next NC. USC over AL, will be still be a Saban killed coach then?

  15. Tomorrow Damage Inc, Orion and Battery will be seperated. The Master of Puppets could not come to terms with the Leper Messiah from Memphis. He will not call them now. Notice that? Orion did not get his wish this time, Leper Messiah is pissed. The Disposable Heros from the other side will join Orion in what he thinks are the The Thing That Should Not Be. He is not happy. The master of puppets could not pay that kind of dinero. Battery will be disappointed and is will be surprised.Welcome home sanitarium. Weve been waiting for you. Tomorrow it shall be. The Prophet has spoken.

  16. Hey guys, do what I did and get your partners thrown under the bus. If they overshadow, let them talk, and then stick a knife in their back. IT knew better, but others did not. I am the glue of this community. Do not F with me and do not try and take my show. I’ve been a bookmaker, candle stik maker, and last but not least a widow maker. The Japanese writing on my tshirts and gel in my hair should speak for itself. Do what I did and have your gutters protected, and Dr. Mrk will let you know where your PSA stands. I’m solid, unbreakable. See you Friday at 10. Lt out!

  17. Crimsonite from the planet Crimson in a galaxy far far away. FormerlyE.G. White

    Alabama has a winning record against USC. The last time we played them in the Hula Bowl while we were on probation, we stomped their ass. Lame Kitten Shit has no chance in hell of beating us with Saban coaching. Hell, they’ll never make it the BCSNCG to play us. RTR!

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