Watch Nick Saban Smile: Alabama Coach Drops Mask as National Championship Victory Over Georgia Sinks In

It turns out a walkoff overtime touchdown to win a National Championship game that looked lost at halftime, via the arm of a prodigal freshman quarterback, is the way to get Nick Saban to smile.

The Alabama head coach dropped his usual stony-faced expression on the sidelines at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Monday night, trading it for one of joy as the implication of Tua Tagovailoa’s 41-yard pass to DeVonta Smith became clear.

“Nick Saban is… happy?” Sports Illustrated tweeted, accompanied by a video of the 66-year-old running onto the field, beaming, while tearing off his headset. “Right now, I’m happy for all these folks here, I’m happy for players. I don’t care anything about that,” Saban told ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi after the game when asked what it meant to win a sixth National Title and equal Bear Bryant, his most legendary predecessor as Tide head coach. “This was a great win for our players and I’ve never been happier in my life.”

 

 

“Never?” Rinaldi replied in apparent disbelief. “Never,” came the emphatic answer from Saban.

CBS pointed out that you could see “tears of joy” in Saban’s eyes after the game. We’re not accustomed to witnessing Saban show emotion but then these were unusual circumstances—an 18th National Championship for the Tide pulled out of the fires of almost certain defeat after Saban replaced Jalen Hurts, his starting quarterback, with Tagovailoa at halftime.

“If you tuned into the College Football Playoff National Championship Game on Monday night, you saw something amazing happen. Something you may never see again”, Tom Fornelli wrote with hyperbole for CBS. “You saw Nick Saban show human emotion.”

Fornelli’s hyberbole, and Saban’s tears, were both fully justified by the events that unfolded in Atlanta on Monday night.

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