"I was really happy at LSU, and I had pretty much decided I was going to stay as a college football coach. But that changed when we won the national championship in 2003. I thought trying to do it again would be a challenge, and though it was extremely difficult, it wasn't the same. The challenge of going to the NFL seemed to be something I was looking for."
As for the expectations for
Dolphins' fans, Saban downplays the George Allen motto of "the future is now."
The 53-year-old rookie NFL coach sounds as though he anticipates some rough
"Our fans should expect a dominant organization and team, long-term, that will be a consistent winner," Saban says. "What I'd rather see our fans expect this year is that we have an overachieving team. A team that plays hard, gives effort, competes like mad dogs out there. If we can do that, we'll win every game we're supposed to win, we'll win a few that we're not, and maybe if we're fortunate with injuries, we can get into the playoffs."
Don James, Saban's college mentor
The piece concludes by mentioning
Saban's humble roots in
He takes over a franchise that has
not won a Super Bowl in 31 years, but Miami does have the best NFL record since
1970 (338-196). Last year, the Dolphins went 4-12, the worst mark for the
franchise since 1969 when
Saints owner Tom Benson has enjoyed
far less success on the field as owners of the Miami Dolphins have savored, but
Benson remains one of the shrewdest horse traders in the business. He has
rejected an offer from Gov. Kathleen Blanco to renegotiate a deal with the state
Benson and Blanco both appealed to higher powers during the negotiations. When the Saints made their announcement to nix Blanco's last offer, the club made sure the owner was tucked away at a religious retreat. Presumably, Benson was communing with spiritual advisers rather than appealing to his minions to drive a hard bargain in his absence.
Blanco responded by saying she was
disappointed that Benson had not responded to her "humanitarian" requests.
Benson now has the option of paying the state $81 million and departing
The smart money says Benson will
swallow his pride and accept some renegotiation overtures from Gov. Blanco. But
right now, the Saints hold the superior hand. Benson has the team and is making
money. And he will continue to count his profits whether the club plays in
Benson is nearing octogenarian status, so his negotiations are largely directed on behalf of his heirs. He wants a new stadium and is resistant to paying more than $17.5 million to refurbish the Louisiana Superdome, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this summer. Gov. Blanco wants Benson to fork over $40 million for dome renovations.
Supporters of the governor have
noted correctly that there is little sentiment to pay $15 million a year to the
Saints outside of the delegation based in
Think about it.
With nearly 200,000 residents
living in Lafayette Parish, the city and area are already bigger than
Benson should feel quite at home in
the most conservative city in the state.
It's clearly a no brainer. The
Louisiana Saints should be based in
In Benson's case,