As painful as a blown lead and a last-second loss can be for fans, imagine how much worse it has to be for the architects of the loss. Nick Saban and Dan Quinn have something in common besides a line on a résumé: both men blew double-digit leads in the biggest game of the year within a month of each other, Saban’s Alabama to Clemson in the national championship game, Quinn’s Atlanta Falcons to New England in the Super Bowl.
Quinn worked under Saban during that brief stint when Saban coached the Miami Dolphins. Speaking before a pro-am golf tournament in Hoover, Alabama, Saban noted that he and Quinn had discussed their various collapses.
“We have talked about it,” Saban said. “He spoke at our clinic. We have a good relationship; he worked with us for a couple of years with us in Miami. So, we know how we want to move forward from it. I think there’s a lot of lessons to be learned when bad things happen. There’s always lessons to be learned, regardless of whatever happens.”
Alabama led Clemson by 10 points heading into the fourth quarter of the national championship game, while the Falcons led the Patriots by 25 points in the third quarter. But both teams collapsed for much the same reason: the defense, overwhelmed by being on the field for 90-plus plays, was gassed and no match for the quick-strike offenses of Deshaun Watson and Tom Brady. Not that “misery loves company” is ever much of a comfort, but at least both teams can look to this year … we know the Falcons return most of their key personnel, and the Crimson Tide will be competing for championships until the Earth falls into the sun.
Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports and the author of EARNHARDT NATION, on sale now at Amazon or wherever books are sold. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or find him on Twitter or on Facebook.