As No. 3 Alabama gears up for the Iron Bowl against rival Auburn, head coach Nick Saban had a message to what he perceived to be spoiled Crimson Tide fans: Be happy with winning.
Speaking on his weekly "Nick Saban Show" on Wednesday, Saban was asked a question about this year's Alabama team not blowing opponents out quite as much as teams from years past. The 70-year-old winner of seven national championships (six with the Crimson Tide) did not hold back in his reply.
“We played LSU, everybody says, ‘Oh, they’ve lost two games in a row, they’re not any good anymore, we’re just gonna blow them out.’ It’s just the opposite of that...," Saban said. "They don’t just throw in the towel, they work harder to try to get better. And everybody wants to beat us, so we’re gonna get everybody’s best game. And I don’t know why people can’t understand that.”
Saban has led the Tide to 14 straight seasons with at least 10 wins and six College Football Playoff appearances in seven years. He pointed to how wayward the program was prior to his arrival in 2007—Saban's predecessor, Mike Shula, failed to post a winning record in four seasons and left Alabama with a litany of NCAA violations.
"When I came here, everybody was happy to win a game. Now, we’re not happy to win a game anymore. We’re not happy to win a game at all," Saban said. "We think we should win games by whatever, and I don’t think that’s fair to the players either. Because our players work their butt off to be the best that they can be, and to get criticized for what they work hard for to do, so that you can be entertained.”
During last year's undefeated national championship campaign, only one team (Florida) came within 14 points of the Tide. This season, Alabama has three wins of seven points or fewer to go along with its upset loss to Texas A&M.
Saban continued to rant against fans who criticize players for not performing up to their expectations.
“Give me a break, this is not professional football," Saban said. "These guys aren’t getting paid to play here. They’re representing you all, you should be proud and happy to support them, and appreciate what they do and have some gratitude.”
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For more coverage on the Crimson Tide, check out Bama Central.