The Alabama Crimson Tide shocked the football world today. Head coach Nick Saban announced his retirement after a legendary tenure with the football program. As we wait and see who will take his place, most of us can’t help but look back on all of the unbelievable accomplishments Saban had with Alabama. Besides his six national championships, there is one stat that truly stands out.
Saban Had More NFL First-Round Picks Than Losses
Just how dominant was Nick Saban during his 17 years as the Alabama Crimson Tide head coach? Well, Adam Schefter of ESPN shared a very revealing stat. This stat revealed that Saban had more players drafted in the first round of the NFL Draft than losses at Alabama. For those of you who are curious, there were 44 first-round draft picks compared to 29 losses during Saban’s tenure.
Most Notable First-Round Draft Picks
So, what players were drafted in the first round from Alabama? Last year, there were three from the Crimson Tide alone. One of them was QB Bryce Young, who was the #1 overall pick. DE Will Anderson Jr. and RB Jahmyr Gibbs were also taken in that first round.
However, this goes back extensively. Way back in 2011, Heisman Trophy winning RB Mark Ingram II was taken in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft. In that same draft, the Atlanta Falcons gave up a load of draft picks to the St. Louis Rams for WR Julio Jones from Alabama.
If that was not enough, there are three Alabama quarterbacks currently playing who were drafted in the first round under Saban. Besides Bryce Young, QB Tua Tagovailoa and QB Mac Jones were taken in the first round during the 2020 and 2021 NFL Drafts respectively. These players show us just a glimpse of the dominance that Saban was able to produce with the Alabama Crimson Tide.
Alabama Crimson Tide Notable Losses
Despite nearly two decades of dominance, Alabama did have some heartbreaking losses under Saban. Of the 29 regular season losses the Crimson Tide had, six of them came during Saban’s first year as head coach. So, what were some of the most notable losses?
Believe it or not, two of them came against Auburn. One took place in 2010 when Alabama could have played spoiler for Auburn’s run at the national championship. Alabama led that game 24-0 and let star QB Cam Newton lead Auburn to a 28-27 comeback victory. Auburn went on to win the national championship that year.
Fast forward three years to 2013. Alabama had a chance to spoil Auburn’s hopes of a championship appearance again. However, the stakes were raised in this meeting because Alabama was the #1 team in the country at that time. This became known as the “Kick Six” game when Auburn returned an Alabama missed field goal for a touchdown.
These losses certainly stung but the six national championships more than made up for it. Now, Alabama will have to search for somebody to fill these big shoes.