Alabama had a 28-10 lead in the final minute of the first half of the Orange Bowl Playoff semifinal on Saturday. The Tide were already covering a 14.5-point spread and, generally, had looked even more dominant against a top-five team than the score said.
Meanwhile, Nick Saban did this:
Saban had fair reason to be a little annoyed, sure.
His team had taken three penalties on one drive. One was a run-of-the-mill holding penalty early on. Another was an illegal-formation penalty for the right tackle, the same guy who’d taken the first penalty, not being on the line. (That one wiped out a touchdown pass to Irv Smith Jr.) Another was a false start on a fourth-and-1 that forced the Tide to kick a field goal at the end, and that’s the one that really set off Saban.
Bama at least made the field goal — never a given in a big Alabama game! — but Saban was furious enough to HULK SMASH his headset in rage.
The coaches analyzing the game in ESPN’s Coaches Film Room lapped it up:
You’ll note there that Arizona State coach Herm Edwards, formerly a TV analyst himself, senses ahead of time that the Saban headset smash is imminent. And he’s right.
“Our last offensive possession, we had three penalties and killed ourselves,” Saban told ESPN’s Maria Taylor on his way to the locker room at halftime.
Alabama was winning by 21! But Saban’s famously not satisfied when his teams are thriving in big games. He once complained that a national title game Bama won cut into his plans for the Tide’s future, saying: “Damn game cost me a week of recruiting.”