Beyond College Gridiron: Nick Saban's NFL Stint and Its Lasting Impact on Pro Football

Beyond College Gridiron: Nick Saban's NFL Stint and Its Lasting Impact on Pro Football

Beyond College Gridiron: Nick Saban's NFL Stint and I...

Photo by Jimmie Mitchell/SEC

The impact of Nick Saban on college football can only truly be measured at the podium. He's had a significant imprint outside the college gridiron, especially when it comes to the NFL.

Nick Saban's NFL experience

Nick Saban made the move to the NFL in the position of head coach of the Miami Dolphins.

Failing to hold an exemplary record with the Dolphins would open the way for a less than courageous perception, yet his stint in the NFL served as the origin of the pro-type fill he developed upon his return to the game.

Impact on Player Development

First, Saban's stint in the NFL largely informed his coaching style, which in turn shaped player development at Alabama.

He created a pro-style environment, paying close attention to every detail and training his players to play with discipline, toughness, and intelligence—all items that translate to the pros.

Impact on Draft Prospects

Perhaps the most direct result of Saban hitting the NFL portion of his coaching philosophy equation is its influence on the draft stock of prospects coming out of the University of Alabama.

This has been evidenced in the draft stock of players, with plenty of former Crimson Tide influences being drafted in the first round of the NFL draft.

This is due to what many call the "Saban Effect."

Saban's meticulous nature, it would seem, has infiltrated the offensive side of the ball, too, which could explain why his linemen and skill position players are viewed as polished NFL prospects because they're trained to know all aspects of a pro-style offense.

Analysis of Former Players

Saban's reach with former players lasts beyond draft day.

Dozens of Alabama players drafted since 2009 have made the move to pro football, and most have started at least nine games in the NFL, reaffirming just how easily former Crimson Tide players who grow under Saban take to the NFL.

Legacy in Pro Football

The ripple effect of Nick Saban's short dalliance with the NFL trickles through players and the league itself.

The impact he has made in terms of player development, draft prospects, and expert analysis echoes through the NFL landscape, and it is experienced in many different forms.

That includes 26 of his former assistants now serving as current or former head coaches in college football or the NFL, a sign of just how extensive his coaching philosophy has penetrated across the profession.

 

Although Saban's time in the NFL may have been short-lived, he still left a large imprint on the sport of football at the professional level that extends beyond college football.

The core tenets of his coaching philosophy, his techniques for player development, and his status as an analyst in the NFL still demonstrate a league shaped by his occupation.

Ultimately, the effect of Nick Saban's brief NFL tenure is a vast topic that this has only skimmed the castle walls of, but by scratching the surface a little bit deeper on his experience and influence.

It's made clear further and further that what Saban means to professional football transcends the college game.


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