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Nick Saban doesn’t become college football’s king without NFL missteps

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Nick Saban was speaking last month to a group almost as serious about football as he is — Texas high school coaches — when he brought up his time with the Miami Dolphins and that fateful day his medical staff decided that Drew Brees was too big of a risk to sign.

The surgeon who had repaired Brees’ torn labrum, Dr. James Andrews, had assured Saban that the free agent’s throwing shoulder would be fine. So the Miami doctor who made the final call, Saban said, “didn’t know his ass from a handful of sand.” Brees would enjoy a Hall of Fame career in New Orleans, and Saban would flee the NFL with a 15-17 record after two playoff-free seasons.

Truth is, that Dolphins doctor did Saban one hell of a favor by sticking him with Daunte Culpepper, Joey Harrington and Cleo Lemon, who went a combined 6-10 in 2006 before Saban looked around and realized that an NFL coach without a top quarterback is an NFL coach destined to be fired.

Had the Dolphins gambled correctly, Saban-Brees surely would have been competitive enough with Bill Belichick and Tom Brady in the AFC East to keep the Miami coach in pro football for a long time. In fact, given that Brees played through last season, it’s plausible that Saban would still be in the NFL, trying to replace Brees the way his buddy, Belichick, is trying to replace Brady in New England.

Nick Saban coaching the Miami Dolphins in 2006.
Nick Saban coaching the Miami Dolphins in 2006.
Leon Halip/WireImage.com

And that would have been a shame for everyone in Tuscaloosa, including Saban, who opens his 15th season at Alabama on Saturday, against the Miami Hurricanes, in pursuit of his eighth national championship and his seventh with the Crimson Tide. (He won it all with LSU in 2003.) Saban is arguably the greatest college football coach of all time. He has managed the impossible at Alabama, living up to the legend of Bear Bryant … and then some.

The evidence suggests Saban was not going to have that kind of career in the NFL. At 5-foot-6, he is best described as an autocrat whose Napoleonic complex plays better in the college game, or at least the college game he ruled before the NCAA was finally forced to grant players the name, image and likeness liberties they long deserved, giving them newfound power in a system designed to keep them powerless.

Not that anyone should question Saban’s ability to use NIL realities to his advantage. When the Alabama coach publicly revealed that his quarterback, Bryce Young, has already landed nearly a million bucks in marketing deals before he’s even made his first start, Saban was announcing to blue-chip prospects everywhere that the money would indeed follow them to Bama.

The man was tailor-made for the college game. Saban controls the players’ scholarships, and he controls the message to NFL executives and scouts about their character, work ethic, and coachability in the months leading up to the draft. Saban also controls the talent flow into his program.

Nick Saban
Nick Saban
AP

In college football, teams are rewarded for winning, as they become more attractive to elite high school recruits.

In the NFL, teams are punished for winning, as they are forced to pick college players from the bottom of the draft pool.

Saban wouldn’t have liked that too much. He’s grown accustomed to recruiting and signing almost anyone he really wants, giving him a competitive advantage on every given Saturday.

“We’ve got lots of lose-able games that we play,” Saban maintained last week.

Just not nearly as many as he would have in the NFL, where parity is considered a virtue.

That’s why Belichick’s six rings are more impressive than Saban’s seven. In the NFL, the draft, the salary cap, free agency, and the schedule are weapons used to prevent franchises from building the very dynasty that Belichick built. Saban doesn’t have to confront those obstacles in the SEC.

In the end, most right-minded observers would agree that Saban would have won a Super Bowl or two with Brees, who won one in New Orleans. But Brees was not Brady, and Saban was probably not going to be Belichick as a pro coach. Why?

Nick Saban shakes hands with Bill Belichick in 2006.
Nick Saban shakes hands with Bill Belichick in 2006.
Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Their time together in Cleveland in the 1990s, when Saban was Belichick’s defensive coordinator, offers some clues. Though Belichick cut down players with sarcasm, Saban was a far more volcanic presence on the practice field and in the film room. One of his former defensive backs in Cleveland, ESPN’s Louis Riddick, said the coordinator had “the voice of a 6-5, 280-pound guy.”

Though Saban was a surprisingly calm sideline presence on game days, during the week he “yelled and screamed and spit and [expletive] you; he was just very rude and condescending,” said his Pro Bowl defensive end, Rob Burnett. Saban once accidentally spat a wad of chewed tobacco on a player’s leg and didn’t apologize. One Browns staffer described Belichick as a part-time jerk and Saban as a full-time jerk.

As a head coach in Miami years later, Saban’s player-relations skills hadn’t improved much, if at all. Heath Evans, a fullback who played for the Dolphins and Patriots, said that Belichick was “much more of a people person” than Saban. Dolphins players complained that Saban often treated them like college kids, not grown-up pros, and there was probably a good reason for that:

Saban was born to coach college kids.

Maybe that truth wouldn’t seem so obvious had he drafted Cal quarterback Aaron Rodgers with the second-overall pick in 2005, rather than Auburn running back Ronnie Brown, or if he had just gotten the green light to sign Drew Brees the following offseason.

But that Miami doctor erroneously deemed Brees a health risk and inspired the Dolphins’ coach to flee the NFL. And everyone who cares about the Alabama dynasty, especially Nick Saban, should be most thankful about that.

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What Time Will ‘Riverdale’ Season 6 Be on Netflix?

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The season finale of Riverdale aired in late July on The CW. Notice we said season finale? Thankfully, the beloved series will return for a seventh season, but, unfortunately, Season 7 will be the final installment of Riverdale.

If you already streamed the current season, make sure to read Alex Zalben’s interview with Riverdale showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa on Decider. If you’re waiting to binge Season 6 on Netflix, well, you better clear your calendar because all 22 episodes are about to drop on the streamer. What time will the sixth season of Riverdale debut on Netflix? What time does Netflix release shows? Here’s everything you need to know.

WHEN IS THE RIVERDALE SEASON 6 NETFLIX RELEASE DATE?

Riverdale Season 6 premieres Sunday, August 7 on Netflix.

HOW MANY EPISODES ARE IN RIVERDALE SEASON 6?

The sixth season of Riverdale consists of 22 episodes.

WHAT TIME DOES NETFLIX RELEASE NEW SHOWS?

Netflix releases new episodes at 3:00 a.m. ET/12:00 a.m. PT.

WHAT TIME WILL RIVERDALE SEASON 6 BE ON NETFLIX?

Netflix is based out of California, so Riverdale Season 6 will be available to stream at 12:00 a.m. Pacific Standard Time (3:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time) beginning Sunday, August 7. If the clock strikes 12:00 (or 3:00 a.m. for folks on the East Coast) and you don’t see the new episodes, give it a moment, hit refresh, and then enjoy the show!

WILL THERE BE A SEASON 7 OF RIVERDALE?

Yes! Decider recently covered that very topic.

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Actress Anne Heche Suffers Severe Burns After Crashing Car Into Los Angeles Home

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Actress Anne Heche, known for her roles in such films as Donnie Brasco, Volcano and I Know What You Did Last Summer, was involved in a fiery car crash in the Mar Vista area of Los Angeles on Friday.

According to TMZ, Heche was driving a blue Mini Cooper and had first crashed into the garage of an apartment complex. Residents of the apartment complex tried to get her out of the vehicle but she backed up and sped off.

Footage of Heche speeding down the streets of her neighborhood had been obtained by TMZ as well as her initial encounter at the apartment complex.

In the first clip, you can hear her car crash towards the end. It has been reported that the actress crashed into someone’s home, causing her vehicle and the house to erupt into flames. Heche suffered severe burns and was resisting being taken away in a stretcher. You can also view footage of this via the TMZ article.

It has not been confirmed whether alcohol has been involved in the incident since her condition prevents doctors from performing any tests to determine if she was driving under the influence. She is currently intubated in the hospital but expected to live.

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These are the vulgar license-plate requests the DMV has rejected

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Stay CL4SSY, New York!

The state Department of Motor Vehicles nixed 3,752 requests for vanity license plates in the last three years because it deemed them too raunchy, radical or simply ridiculous.

New York’s personalized plates go for $60 initially, and then $31.25 annually for renewal. You can get any plate as long as no one else has it and it’s not offensive.

Odds are a request for a plate that marks a wedding anniversary or shows your allegiance to a team — like METS86 — will pass muster with the DMV gatekeepers.

Vulgarity won’t get you to first base.

So plates with the phrase LFGM — the acronym for Pete Alonso’s “Let’s F–king Go Mets” rallying cry — did not make the cut.

And you won’t see anyone driving around with the custom plates MILFDAD, AS5M4N and WLHUNG.

Crude meanings such as “MILFDAD” are unacceptable by the DMV.
Crude meanings such as “MILFDAD” are unacceptable by the DMV.
New York DMV
NYC123
New York state Department of Motor Vehicles denied more than 3.5 thousand requests for license plates deemed inappropriate.
New York DMV
“AS5M4N” was rejected for referring to “Ass man.”
“AS5M4N” was rejected for referring to “Ass man.”
New York DMV

The DMV also put NICEBUNS, FATFANNY, GOTAPOOP and BENDOVER in the rear-view mirror.

One player unsuccessfully tried to score the plate YESDADDY, to no avail.

The DMV also shot down such dark requests as DEADGIRL, GENOC1DE, S8TAN, DETONATE and MURDERM3.

“SUM8ITCH” is not allowed.
“SUM8ITCH” is not allowed.
New York DMV
The DMV thoroughly nixed a request for “CNNLIES.”
The DMV thoroughly nixed a request for “CNNLIES.”
New York DMV
BOOBIE is prohibited.
BOOBIE is prohibited.
New York DMV

Getting political is a dead end too — FJOEBIDN, FDTRUMP and CNNLIES were nixed.

LUDEDUDE, NARCO, GOT METH and BLUNT also went up in smoke.

Staten Island attorney Bill Dertinger said his blue 1995 Jaguar SJS was tagged with ESQLTD after his company and his 2014 Porsche had the plate GHOSTGTS because the sleek sportscar was white.

“The plates can make you stand out — which can be a curse or a blessing,” the 54-year-old Dertinger said. “Make sure you don’t cut anybody off.”

A man attempted to sneak in “YESDADDY” onto his license plate.
A man attempted to sneak in “YESDADDY” onto his license plate.
New York DMV
The DMV stopped a request for “FJOEBIDEN.”
The DMV stopped a request for “FJOEBIDEN.”
New York DMV
The DMV also rejects any license plates referring to politics.
The DMV also rejects any license plates referring to politics.
New York DMV

There must be a New York Jets fan playing referee at the DMV because a request for the seemingly innocent plate GASE was sidelined. Ex-Jets head coach Adam Gase had an offensive 9-23 win-loss record during his forgettable two-year tenure.

The DMV would not reveal who gives the final yea or nay.

“The DMV reviews all custom license plate requests and works hard to ensure that any combinations that may be considered objectionable are rejected,” said agency spokesman Tim O’Brien.

“GLOCKS” referring to guns is not accepted by the DMV.
“GLOCKS” referring to guns is not accepted by the DMV.
New York DMV
“FLYMOFO” is not approved by the DMV.
“FLYMOFO” is not approved by the DMV.
New York DMV

He said guidelines on what plate combinations are restricted can be found on the DMV website: https://dmv.ny.gov/learn-about-personalized-plates. Approximately 50,000 personalized and custom plates are sold per year, O’Brien said.

Bagged Tags

The state DMV has rejected 3,752 requests for custom license plates in the last three years because it deemed them potentially offensive. Here are some:

YESDADDY

FJOEBIDN

FDTRUMP

GLOCKS

FLYMOFO

BOOBIE

AS5M4N

BUDLIGHT

DEADGIRL

SUM8ITCH

GENOC1DE

S8TAN

CNNLIES

DETONATE

MURDERM3

MILFDAD

WLHUNG

Source: NYS DMV

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