With more than a decade of dominance under its belt, Alabama has soared higher than anyone might have anticipated.
This has won it the adulation of its own supporters, and the ire of fans of rival sides. However you feel about the sturdy dynasty and impressive track record that it has established, there is no denying that lessons can be learned from Alabama’s achievements.
So what exactly can be gleaned from the rise of the Crimson tide, and how could this influence the shape of things to come?
Success breeds success
This is a rule which not only applies within Alabama’s college football ecosystem, but more broadly across the games it plays and seasons it competes in against major rivals.
While one side’s winning ways might be seen as a slight on opponents, in reality it is a positive thing to have a dominant force in any discipline, be that football, business or anything else.
As Alabama began to prove itself in the years following Nick Saban’s appointment in 2007, its successes not only snowballed internally, but essentially forced everyone else to up their game. This has led to a consistently better quality of football across the board, and so it is also a benefit that all fans can appreciate, wherever their loyalties lie.
Furthermore, for fans of sports betting, Alabama’s impact has kept things interesting. While this information page on the online casinos Alabama has to offer reveals that most forms of gambling remain illegal in the state, those in other parts of the country where rules are more relaxed have experienced the thrills and spills of a successful side redefining college football in all sorts of ways year after year.
One person can make all the difference
It is easy to conceive of Alabama’s various victories as one and the same as those of Saban himself. Indeed his tenure as head coach, and specifically his managerial style, is inseparable from the trajectory the team has taken.
There is no doubt that Saban has surrounded himself with some of the most talented supporting staff in the country, nay the entire world. But more than just being a savvy recruiter of top talent, he has also proven himself to be an unsentimental person. As and when Alabama’s handful of failures have arisen, Saban has seen fit to reshuffle his subordinates, cut the dead wood and start almost from scratch, albeit with himself remaining at the helm.
In any other hands, this tactic might seem callous; few businesses could survive if the CEO fired half the executives after a quarter of bad performance. However, Saban has rebounded from setbacks with consistent returns to form, so clearly there is some sense to this approach. It may not work for every other coach, but equally it may not be exclusively applicable to Alabama as well.
Resources are essential
While Saban’s approach to hiring and firing is intriguing and perhaps instrumental in determining the path his team has taken since 2007, it is equally true to say that he would not have been able to do what he has done without significant resources at his beck and call.
The vast amount of support that Alabama receives from its fans, and the accompanying flow of cash that comes along with it, means that the head coach was not exactly hamstrung by a stingy budget.
Levels of support have grown further in conjunction with the successes that this dynasty has brought with it, so it is a self-perpetuating phenomenon. And of course college football is big business in its own right, with spin-off products and merch ensuring investment is always on the increase.
The lesson here is that you have resources available to you, it makes little sense to be sparing with them. The more you put into football, the more you get out, and a combination of top level talent and plenty of money generally provides positive results.
Saban’s own $9.5 million salary is just a small indication of the kinds of funds that are sloshing around, and it is clearly money well spent.
Alternative strategies are worth considering
Finally, the thing to take away from any assessment of the Alabama dynasty stewarded by Nick Saban is that sometimes the singularity of an individual’s abilities, in combination with the right time, place and backing, are so unique that they cannot be replicated.
Even attempting to replicate what Saban has done would not yield the same results. So instead, it is more likely that other football programs will flourish if they work with what they have and forge their own paths, rather than trying to chase the tail of a one-off stalwart.