We are seeing a phenomenon in football. There are two teams, one in college and one in the NFL, that are dominating the sport.
I’m not certain if this is fun or frustrating. Well, since in the past 12 months they’ve knocked out two teams from the state of Georgia, it has not been a lot of fun.
Alabama just won a national championship in college football. It was the 17th for the program and the fifth in the 11 years Nick Saban has been the head coach.
New England will play in its eight Super Bowl next week against the Eagles in Super Bowl LII. The Patriots have won five and lost two Super Bowls in the 18 seasons Bill Belichick has been the head coach.
We’re sort of sick of them. They have miracle plays. They win games they’re not supposed to win. They are never out of it, as we have so cruelly found out. New England overcame a 25-point deficit to beat Atlanta in last year’s Super Bowl, while Alabama was down by 13 against Georgia just a few weeks ago and still won the game.
It is not a coincidence these two teams are this successful. Just look at their head coaches. And it’s not a surprise that Saban once worked for Belichick, from 1991 through 1994 when Belichick was the head coach of the Cleveland Browns. Saban was his defensive coordinator.
Saban left before the 1995 season to take over Michigan State’s football program. The Browns must have missed him. They went from an 11-5 record in 1994 to 5-11, and then the team relocated to Baltimore.
Belichick was fired, but he joined his mentor, Bill Parcells, in New England as the defensive backs coach. What did the Patriots do in Belichick’s first year there? They went to the Super Bowl. They lost, but how weird is it that the first year Belichick roamed the sidelines in New England, even as an assistant, the Patriots went to the Super Bowl.
It would become a regular event. Belichick became the Pats’ head coach in 2000, and he’s been there ever since. Saban went from Michigan State to LSU, where he won his first national title. Then Saban had two years with the Miami Dolphins before landing in Tuscaloosa.
And the rest, with these two, as they say, is history.
It is historic what is happening. Maybe it’s hit home more since they have beaten the Falcons and the Bulldogs in similar games in the past year. But to see New England and Alabama just keep winning is almost exhausting, unless you love these teams.
Isn’t it time to give someone else a try? Is football boring with these two winning all the time?
Well, here’s the scary thing. It is unlikely to change, at least for a while. The Patriots will likely win with Belichick as the coach and with Tom Brady as the quarterback. Brady is 40, but who cares? He’s still the best quarterback in NFL history, and he doesn’t seem to be slowing down.
Yes, Brady is the best quarterback in NFL history. Hate him if you wish, but the guy is really good. He’s Montana, Elway and Marino all wrapped into one.
And why should we think Saban is going anywhere anytime soon? He’s 66, but he’s in great shape. He’s successful, at the top of his game. There’s no reason to believe the talent at Alabama will dry up anytime soon. He’s going to break Bear Bryant’s record of six national championships as a head coach at some point in the next few years. Yeah, you know he will.
Thirty years from now we’ll look back on this era and laugh about how Alabama and New England ruled football. It’s hard to imagine a team doing what these two have done, but it certainly would be nice to see some other teams win and push these dominant coaches, players and teams back to a normal rate of winning. Seeing the Crimson Tide and Patriots win all the time is getting old.
Listen to “The Bill Shanks Show” from 3-7 p.m. weekdays on “Middle Georgia’s ESPN” – 93.1 FM in Macon and 99.5 FM in Warner Robins. Follow Bill at twitter.com/BillShanks and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.