Everyone: Bill Belichick’s understudies are always doomed to fail once they leave. System guys. Can’t succeed on their own.
Alabama Crimson Tide offensive coordinator/ex-Patriots tight ends coach Brian Daboll: Hold that thought, I’ve got to get fitted for my second championship ring in 11 months.
Monday night’s college football championship game was equal parts sloppy and spectacular, brute strength and finesse, and as much of an old-school power throwback game as we’re likely to see in the CFP era for quite a while. And for the whole first half, college football’s Evil Empire was left holding a big old goose egg on the scoreboard. The Crimson Tide offense, the powerhouse that averaged 35.6 points per game in 2017, couldn’t even get a field goal on the board before halftime.
Meanwhile, Alabama’s first-year offensive coordinator, Brian Daboll, who coached with the New England Patriots from 2000-2006 and then came back as tight ends coach from 2014-2016, took a page out of the quarterback that won him all five (5) of his Super Bowl rings’s book:
“We’ve been in worse situations than this!”
Down 13-0, Brian Daboll didn’t freak out, even though the Tide were about to switch quarterbacks and attempt to pull off the ballsiest move since, um, I guess when Alabama onside-kicked it a couple years ago?
From the Boston Globe:
“You never know when your number is going to be called, that’s kind of the philosophy that I grew up with underneath [Bill] Belichick,” said Daboll, who won five championships with the Patriots. “Next man up. Ready to go. No excuses.”
“You don’t flinch, I’ve been in games like this before, you can’t let your emotions get the best of you,” Daboll said.
Alabama’s freshman backup quarterback (not a typo) pulled himself together well enough for Daboll’s offense to tie the Georgia Bulldogs and almost pull the win off in the fourth quarter, if not for the Tide’s kicking that’d make Blair Walsh throw up in his mouth a little bit. And once Alabama got the ball back in overtime - in a situation where a field goal would only earn them another overtime, mind you - the freshman executed a play he’d only practiced with second-teamers for the game-icing score.
“4 Verticals Seattle”
Daboll said, “We probably practiced that play a few days before here a bunch here in two-minute drive with Tua with the second group and he hit three or four of them in a row . . . never to that guy.”
So after being part of New England’s all-time greatest Super Bowl comeback that’s best summarized with Dont’a Hightower’s “No more mistakes, no more ‘my bad’! Everything’s gotta be perfect!” sideline speech AND another miracle comeback against one of the best defenses in college ball, how’s Daboll feeling?
“It’s probably taken some years off my life,” he said of the last 11 months and being a part of two mega-comebacks.
“It’s not an easy thing to do winning championships,” Daboll said. “I’ve been around Bill, had an opportunity to win five at New England and first year here. What a blessing.”
And aside from probably never having to buy a beer in Alabama ever again, with those kind of rings on your resume, it may not be long before New England sees him again - on someone else’s sideline. NFL insider Ian Rapoport’s already reporting that more than one team’s got Daboll on their radar for an offensive coordinator gig.
That, my friends - choosing between staying at Alabama or coming back to the NFL - is a great dilemma to have.