Sporting figures lead some of the most fascinating lives, with many enjoying fabled rises to the top of their respective field. The trials and tribulations are not always documented by the media, and even when they are the story is never completely told to its extent.
Sometimes the truth only ever comes out at the hand of the figure in their autobiography well after the fact. We’ll be waiting with bated breath for the autobiographies of these men…
Saban is arguably the greatest coach in the history of college football. He has released a book about coaching, but the tell-all story about his career and the decisions he has made along the way has yet to be released. The 68-year-old has enjoyed success at every team he has coached in the college game, winning six National Championships, including five with the Alabama Crimson Tide. The Crimson Tide are one of the leading contenders in the American football odds to win the crown in the 2020 season, which would take him clear of the legendary Bear Bryant as the most successful coach in the history of the game at the collegiate level.
On his way to greatness Saban has made a number of intriguing decisions to get to the top and has not been overly candid with his explanations. In his 2018 playoff championship win he made the call to replace quarterback Jalen Hurts with Tua Tagovailoa, which inspired a comeback triumph over the Georgia Bulldogs. He has never shared his thoughts on his defense on the final play of the game against the Clemson Tigers in the 2016 Championship Game that resulted in a last-second defeat, either.
However, the call most people will be interested in was his decision to join Alabama. Saban was coach of NFL outfit the Miami Dolphins and categorically stated that he was not leaving for the Crimson Tide, only to have a change of heart two weeks later. The reasons behind his departure have been speculated, but the truth has never emerged from the mouth of Saban. We await the details…
Belichick has been the NFL’s equivalent of Saban, winning six Super Bowls – the most by a head coach in the history of the league. The 67-year-old was Saban’s boss during their time together at the Cleveland Browns between 1991 and 1994. There are enough tales there to write a book on its own. However, Belichick came into his own at the New England Patriots, backing rising quarterback Tom Brady to replace the stalwart Drew Bledsoe. It was a decision that would define his career. Belichick is perhaps the least candid coach in the modern-day NFL. Rarely does he let his true feelings known to the media outside of a couple of documentaries produced by NFL Films.
Belichick has made some of the gutsiest calls, beginning with choosing Brady over a healthy Bledsoe, which allowed the Patriots to win Super Bowl XXXVI against the St Louis Rams. He has traded away team captains weeks before the season, much to the bemusement of his own players. The 67-year-old has benched key players ahead of Super Bowls and most recently allowed Brady to end his career outside of New England.
The line to the media is always the same: “I do what’s in the best interests of the team”. He never lets his true feelings escape. However, at the end of his career, he might just let the cat out of the bag behind some of those baffling calls whether they were failures of successes. There will not be a shortage of people willing to find out!