A new contract extension for Nick Saban

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A new contract extension for Nick Saban

From Comcast SportsNet
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) -- Alabama coach Nick Saban said he received overtures for other jobs after claiming the second national title in three years. Instead of bolting, he has received a raise and contract extension worth 5.62 million a year that he said represents his intention to finish his career in Tuscaloosa. "From my standpoint, the acceptance of this extension represents our commitment ... to the University of Alabama for the rest of our career," Saban said. "We made that decision after the season when other people were interested." The university's board of trustees approved a two-year extension for Saban on Monday that will run through Jan. 31, 2020. He'll receive 5.32 million in 2012 with a 50,000 raise next year and 100,000 annually after that. Under the deal, he'll make 5.97 million in 2019. Saban will make nearly 45 million over eight years in base salary (245,000) and what Alabama calls "talent fees." The contract represents a 500,000 raise in talent fees plus longevity pay and the built-in raises. The former Miami Dolphins coach declined to say who made the overtures. "It doesn't really matter," Saban said. "We wanted to stay at Alabama. We're staying at Alabama and we're not interested in going anyplace else. We weren't interested in going anyplace else at the end of the season, so it really doesn't matter." Saban remains among college football's highest paid coaches, along with Mack Brown of Texas (5.2 million) and Oklahoma's Bob Stoops (4.875 million), dwarfing the eye-catching eight-year, 32 million deal he received after leaving the Miami Dolphins. He made at least 5.170 million last year in salary, talent fee and bonuses, including 400,000 for winning the national title. The new deal represents a 500,000 raise to his talent fee, plus longevity pay, which totals 5 million over the duration, and a 5 million life insurance policy. The Tide is 48-6 over the past four seasons. Saban has restored the program to the point that a 10-3 title follow-up in 2010 was viewed as a big disappointment. He has had Alabama at its best in the biggest games, particularly the powerhouse defense. The Tide claimed the 2009 title with a 37-21 win over Texas and blanked LSU 21-0 in New Orleans for the national championship two years later. Before his arrival, Alabama hadn't won a national title since the 1992 season. The deal states that if he's fired without cause he gets the lesser amount between four years of pay or the balance of his contract. Saban said he "really wasn't involved in the negotiations." "To me, this all happened a long time ago right after the (LSU) game," said Saban, whose agent is Jimmy Sexton. "I really think they sort of decide what they want to do and you decide if it's good enough and it's certainly good enough for me." His coaching staff was rewarded, too. The trustees' compensation committee also approved a 100,000 raise for defensive coordinator Kirby Smart, up to 950,000. New offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier will make 590,000. Both have three-year deals. Smart is the only assistant coach who doesn't owe a 20 percent buyout if he leaves early, but will owe 72,000 if he leaves for any position other than head coach. He also got a 100,000 raise in January 2011. New outside linebackers coach Lance Thompson will make 355,000 in a two-year deal. The assistant coaches will receive 4 percent bonuses for an appearance in the SEC championship game, 8 percent for a bowl game, 12 percent for one of the SEC's top 5 bowl tie-ins and 16 percent for a BCS game. "I think there's a very competitive market out there when it comes to assistant coaches," Saban said. "I think it's imperative that we keep continuity and that we had the opportunity to be competitive salary-wise with other schools who are trying to hire our coaches. "It doesn't really matter what my opinion is or anyone else's opinion. The market is what it is, and if we're not willing to pay that to the best people that we have, they're not going to be here." Most of the other assistant coaches got raises and one-year extensions through Feb. 28, 2014: -- Bobby Williams, who coaches tight ends and special teams, received a 35,000 raise, to 350,000. -- Strength and conditioning coach Scott Cochran got a raise from 310,000-325,000. -- Defensive line coach Chris Rumph goes from 288,750 to 310,000 -- Running backs coach Burton Burns got a 10,000 hike, up to 290,000. -- Receivers coach Mike Groh's pay went up from 250,000 to 280,000. -- Secondary coach Jeremy Pruitt is now making 260,000, up from 225,000. Offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland was the only on-the-field assistant to not get a raise. Saban said that was related to his alleged involvement in rules violations while with the University of Miami. Saban has said the university uncovered no compliance "red flags" on either Stoutland or director of football operations Joe Pannunzio from their tenures at Miami. Both former Hurricanes coaches were named in a report alleging that they steered recruits to a jailed booster who says he supplied Miami players with prostitutes, cars and other gifts over the past decade. "As a university, we make decisions to do things because we think it's the right thing to do," Saban said. "In the future, I think Jeff Stoutland deserves to get a raise based on the merit of the work that he's done here, but I also think that it wouldn't be smart on our part of ignore other things that have happened."

Brady-Ryan marks rare case of NFL's top two quarterbacks meeting in Super Bowl

Brady-Ryan marks rare case of NFL's top two quarterbacks meeting in Super Bowl

For all the flack that Matt Ryan got heading into this season, he’s been a damn good quarterback. Is his career on the same level as Tom Brady’s? Of course not, but this regular season saw him stand as Brady’s peer, making him an MVP favorite.

One of Ryan’s biggest challengers for that hardware is the same man who stands in the way of him winning his first Super Bowl. Though he missed the first four games of the season due to suspension, Brady finished second in the league in passing yards per game and threw just two picks in 12 games while tossing 28 touchdowns.  

So Super Bowl LI will pin the quarterback with the best numbers overall (Ryan finished two touchdowns behind Aaron Rodgers for the league lead but threw for 516 more yards and had a higher completion percentage) against the quarterback with the best touchdown/interception ratio ever for a single season. 

In other words, this is a Super Bowl that puts what one could argue are the season’s two best quarterbacks each other. That’s pretty rare. 

Going back the last 25 years, there are four candidates for such meetings: Manning vs. Brees in Super Bowl XLIV, Favre and Elway in Super Bowl XXXII (this one is a stretch), Favre and Bledsoe in Super Bowl XXXI and Kelly and Rypien in Super Bowl XXVI.. 

Why haven’t the two best quarterbacks squared off in the Super Bowl more often? Because Brady and Peyton Manning played their entire careers in the same conference, silly. It’s taken other players entering their echelon to even set up such a scenario, and that’s why Brees’ Saints beating Manning’s Colts serves as the only example during Manning or Brady’s career. 

The strong performances of those who dominated the regular season have often carried over into their Super Bowl meetings, but not always. Drew Bledsoe and Jim Kelly (both throwing two touchdowns and four picks in Super Bowl losses) are examples of the wheels falling off in the final game. 

Here’s a breakdown of past occurrences. Note that all four of them saw the winning team score at least 30 points, something the Pats have done just once in Brady's four Super Bowl wins: 

Super Bowl XLIV: Brees vs. Manning

Brees led NFL with 34 touchdowns in regular season; Manning finished tied for second with 33

Final score: Saints 31, Colts 17

Brees: 32/39, 288 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT
Manning: 31/45, 333 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT

Brees completed a postseason in which he had no turnovers and did so in a nearly exactly average game for him that season, as e averaged 292.5 yards, 2.26 touchdowns and less than one interception per game in the regular season. The two quarterbacks also combined for just one sack. 
 
Super Bowl XXXII: Favre vs. Elway

Favre led NFL with 35 TDs in regular season, Elway finished second in TD/interception ratio

Final score: Broncos 31, Packers 24

Favre: 25/42, 256 yards, 3 TD, 1 INT, fumble lost 
Elway: 12/22, 123 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT

Again, this is the forced one because Jeff George (3,917 passing yards, 29 touchdowns, nine interceptions) had the better regular season than Elway (3,635 passing yards, 27 touchdowns, 11 picks). Elway may have been the winning quarterback, but he didn’t have anything to do with the win. Terrell Davis carried the Broncos, playing through a migraine and rushing for 157 yards with three touchdowns en route to Super Bowl MVP honors. 

Super Bowl XXXI: Favre vs. Bledsoe

Favre led NFL with 39 TDs, Bledsoe third with 27

Final Score: Packers 35, Patriots 21

Favre: 14/27, 246 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT
Bledsoe: 25/48, 253 yards, 2 TD, 4 INT

Both quarterbacks took five sacks in this game. For Bledsoe, it was the most he took all season. The game was the third four-pick performance of his NFL career. 

Super Bowl XXVI: Kelly vs. Rypien

Kelly led NFL with 33 TDs, Rypien second with 28

Final score: Redskins 37, Bills 24

Rypien: 18/33, 292 yards, 2 TD, INT
Kelly: 28/58, 275 yards, 2 TD, 4 INT, fumble lost

Turns out five turnovers (and being sacked four times) is not a recipe for winning the Super Bowl. Kelly’s 58 passes thrown set a Super Bowl record.
 

Dimitroff, Pioli the first Belichick defectors to lead new team to Super Bowl

Dimitroff, Pioli the first Belichick defectors to lead new team to Super Bowl

Working for the Patriots makes you attractive to other teams. Many have left, but Thomas Dimitroff and Scott Pioli are finally showing that major success can be attained in the process. 

Dimitroff and Pioli have built a team in Atlanta that will play for the franchise’s first Super Bowl title on Feb. 5. While many have been hired away from Bill Belichick's Patriots to lead other organizations, Dimitroff is the first of the defectors to get to the Super Bowl on his own. Adding an old friend in Pioli has played a part in that. 

Dimitroff served as New England’s director of college scouting from 2003 through 2007 before becoming Atlanta’s general manager in 2008. He hired Pioli in 2014 as an assistant GM after the longtime Patriots director and vice president of player personnel had a messy stint as the Chiefs’ GM. 

Executives and coaches (even Field Yates; yes, the fair-haired boy from the television) leaving the Patriots for better positions with other organizations has been common, but with the new positions have often come diminished success compared to New England. 

Romeo Crennel, Eric Mangini, Bill O’Brien, Charlie Weis (in his brief return to the NFL in 2010) and Josh McDaniels make up the list of coordinators who have left winning with the Patriots to experience a dropoff without Brady and Belichick. John Robinson (Titans), Jason Licht (Buccaneers) and Bob Quinn (Lions) currently serve as GMs elsewhere, while former Pats secondary coach Joe Collier works with Dimitroff and Pioli as the Falcons’ director of pro personnel. 

It’s only fitting that Dimitroff and Pioli will have to go through Belichick in order to secure a title on their own. Winning without Belichick has proven hard enough for his former colleagues; winning against him will be even harder.