The foundation of the football world — both pro and college — has been rocked over the last 24 hours with the retirement of Nick Saban and the parting of the ways between Bill Belichick and the Patriots. ESPN’s Laura Rutledge joined Mike Golic Jr. and Mike Golic Sr. to break it all down.
Laura says we expected the news that Belichick would be leaving New England and it felt like it was trending in that direction, but there were still occasional doubts or feelings that it might not happen right now around the Patriots organization. But now here we are, on the precipice of a new era in New England and one of the things that is so hard is how do you even put into words what Belichick has meant for the organization. So much of his legacy will always be attached to Tom Brady, but Laura says that we can all agree that it’s been an incredible job of coaching. Laura is also interested to see where Belichick lands next because she doesn’t think he’s done coaching if he has his way about it.
Senior wonders where Belichick falls in the list of available coaching candidates in the NFL of today and whether or not he’s ahead of hot coordinators or retread coaches from other teams. Laura gets where Senior is coming from and asks the question: Would you rather have Belichick or Mike Vrabel? Belichick’s had so much success, but Laura does say it’s a world where coaching philosophy matters and we’re seeing teams make changes because of differences in philosophy. Laura thinks we’re seeing a major shift in coaching and she thinks this crop of available coaching candidates is the best we’ve seen in a long time. She says she would put Belichick third or fourth on some teams’ list, but that’s OK because some of these teams are going to miss out on their first and second choices and it may make sense to bring in Bill. The Commanders, for one, make sense to Laura as a potential destination for Belichick.
Meanwhile, it broke on Wednesday night that Belichick’s counterpart in college, Nick Saban, is retiring. Laura got to talk to him on air following the Rose Bowl, so did she have any inkling this was coming? Laura says it’s hard to say that she thought he was done after this season. If anything, she figured he’d give it one more year to see if he could go out with a championship. She does, however, say in retrospect that it was telling that she could see Saban stopping to smell the roses a bit more (excuse the pun) when he had never really done that before. Laura says he appeared to be enjoying the coaching, enjoying the maturation of the team in a way in the past he didn’t have to do much of, so you saw why he might feel ready to step away. Laura also thinks that he might not have even knew what he was going to do. Laura thinks he was waiting to see how he felt. It’s wild to think about college football without Nick Saban, but Laura thinks he will keep some connection to the game, whether it be on TV or in some other way. Laura doesn’t feel like he’s thinking as though he’s done his time and he’s aging. It’s not that — just look at the way he runs onto the field. Laura just thinks he felt it was the right time to step away.
Everyone raise your oatmeal creme pies — or, as Laura points out, Saban calls his “Debbies” — in honor of the college football coaching GOAT and his NFL coaching GOAT buddy.
Meanwhile, speaking of Belichick, what is going to be the first thing that comes to mind with Senior thinks of the hoodie?
Hour 1: Laura Rutledge on the end of the Bill Belichick, Nick Saban & Pete Carroll era
Hour 2: Romanticizing Pete Carroll & Clay Matthews III on Packers vs. Cowboys
Watch GoJo and Golic every weekday on Samsung TV Plus, Roku, Xumo Play, Google TV and DraftKingsNetwork.com from 8 to 10 a.m. ET. The show will also be available via audio on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts. You can also follow Mike Golic Sr. on X at @golic and Mike Golic Jr. on X at @mikegolicjr.
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