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Nick Saban Calls out Self-Absorbed Fans, Encourages Gratitude on this Thanksgiving Week

A caller asking about rat poison and fan expectations to win led to a Saban rant about gratitude and appreciation.

It all started with a question from a caller from Selma about rat poison and ended in an exasperated rant from Nick Saban. 

On this Thanksgiving week, Saban had a reminder for fans to be grateful and appreciative of what the players do instead of being self centered. 

"This is not professional football," Saban said on his weekly radio show Wednesday night. "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. And you know what else? Nobody wants to win worse than they do. Not me, not you. I don't care what kind of fan you are. Nobody wants to win more than the players that play. Nobody.”

The caller on the Hey Coach! radio show initially started talking about rat poison from the media, but then said that fans come to games knowing that the teams is going to win, but just not knowing by how much. Saban first started answering in a joking manner, but then his momentum started to build and build.

"I don’t ever go to the game that way," Saban said. "I have too much respect for the other team. Been in too many games of whether we won when we weren't expected to win or, you know, the other team beat us."

Saban warned against thinking an opponent will be easy to beat just because they have multiple losses. According to Saban, it's just the opposite.

Just because an opponent, especially an SEC team, has lost multiple times does not mean they're just going to throw in the towel. No matter what a team's record is, they're going to give Alabama their best shot. 

"Everybody wants to beat us," Saban said. "So we're going to get everybody's best game. And I don't know why people can't understand that. You could say it’s not fair to our players that they get everyone’s best game, but they do. And they have to be able to compete through that and play over that.”

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This idea is especially relevant this week as the Crimson Tide will travel to Auburn to take on the 6-5 Tigers who would love nothing more than to spoil Alabama's season. 

Saban said the attitude of the fans has changed a lot since he first got here, and that the expectations placed on the players by the fans aren't fair either.

"When I came here, everybody was happy to win a game," he said. "Now we're not happy to win a game anymore. We're not happy to win a game at all. 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 butts off to be the best that they can be.”

At the end of the day, these are college students who have lives outside of football that are playing each week to entertain millions of viewers. Those players care about the game much more than any fans ever could according to Saban.

"And nobody feels worse than they do when they lose. Nobody," Saban said. "So for all you self-absorbed folks out there that can't look past your own self to appreciate what other people are doing.”

This ended Saban's tirade on the topic, but it displayed his passion for his players. While this season may not have lived up to some fans' standards so far, the team is 10-1 with an SEC West title already under their belt. 

With tomorrow being the Thanksgiving holiday, the team will practice earlier in the day which allows some players to go home and enjoy a meal with their families. For those who don't live within two hours or so of Tuscaloosa, the Sabans and others on the coaching staff will open up their homes to make sure every player has a place to eat the holiday meal. 

Even though he displayed some frustration throughout the night, ultimately Saban wants everyone to enjoy the holiday and remember what it's all about.

"This is a time when we all should have a lot of gratitude for the things that we have— relationships, family, friends, all kinds of things," Saban said. "We shouldn't take life for granted. We shouldn't take anything for granted. But this is a time when we should have a lot of gratitude for all the things that we have, and I hope everybody really has a joyous day.”