Buying or Selling Nick Saban as Head Coach of the Cleveland Browns Next Year

John RozumCorrespondent IOctober 18, 2012

COLUMBIA, MO - OCTOBER 13:  Head coach Nick Saban watches from the sidelines during the game against the Missouri Tigers at Faurot Field/Memorial Stadium on October 13, 2012 in Columbia, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Nick Saban as the Cleveland Browns' head coach in 2013?

Well, the Browns apparently are interested in the Alabama Crimson Tide's man in charge. Per Paul Finebaum of Sirius XM College Sports Nation:

According to radio report, Cleveland Browns have targeted Nick Saban as next coach.. Two chances of this happening: Slim and none.

— Paul Finebaum (@finebaum) October 18, 2012

To a certain extent, this comes as no surprise.

Cleveland needs a new head coach, and with all its young talent, who better than Saban to build a franchise? After all, you could virtually call the Tide a franchise considering how dominant Alabama has been since Saban took over.

Not to mention his previous SEC success while at LSU.

Well, although Saban is a great fit for Cleveland, it's hard to imagine him venturing back into pro football. Still, let's break down each side of the coin to see if coaching the Browns would be a logical decision.



For starters, the impact of Trent Richardson would hit another level.

Richardson obviously played for Saban at Alabama, and the Cleveland offense becomes more focused around ball control and moving the chains.

Playing in the AFC North, the Browns need this type of physical philosophy, because the division still features tough defenses in the Pittsburgh Steelers, Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals.

In short, it's eerily similar to the SEC.

Run the ball, set up for play-action, present a stellar defense and having a pocket passer wins games. This is why the Tide have been so consistently dominant under Saban. That approach on both sides of the line suits well in the AFC North, and Cleveland needs a coach with this mindset.

Plus, a portion of Saban's NFL experience was as the Browns defensive coordinator under Bill Belichick from 1991 through 1994. After the 1991 season, Cleveland ranked No. 18 in total defense and improved to No. 7 after the '94 campaign.

So, we know the Browns would certainly improve at shutting opponents down at a more consistent rate. Include what we've seen from Pete Carroll with the Seattle Seahawks, and giving pro football another go-round isn't such a bad idea.


Saban has had just one NFL head coaching job, which came with the Miami Dolphins in 2005 and 2006.

There, Saban went only 15-17 and failed to make the postseason. Despite being short-lived, the Dolphins did go 9-7 during his first season, so had he stuck around after 2006,  Miami could have molded his philosophy to build consistency.

Instead, Saban went back to the college ranks and he never missed a beat.

Before Alabama, Saban never had a losing season at LSU and split for a national title in 2003. Since becoming the Tide's head coach, Alabama has won two national championships and is on pace for a third in 2012.

Combine all the elements of Saban's dominance in college and his success as an NFL assistant coach, becoming a pro head coach is unsurprisingly not as appealing.

Then again, the only way to gain more NFL head coaching experience is to actually pursue the endeavor.


Although it wouldn't be surprising to see Saban give pro football another try one day, it would be surprising if he did so anytime soon.

For as long as Saban has been around coaching, his longest tenure is currently with Alabama (in the midst of his sixth season). He coached LSU and Michigan State for only five seasons a piece and had one other season with the Toledo Rockets in 1990.

The Crimson Tide have literally been rolling under Saban since 2007 and there are no signs of them slowing down. That said, the next question is whether Saban wants to have a career at Alabama capable of matching Bear Bryant.

If so, he'll have to stick around Tuscaloosa virtually for the remainder of his coaching career.

As for right now, though, let's sell Saban going to Cleveland, but not rule anything out for later on down the road.

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