At Alabama, We Believe in The Process. This Is The Way
Star Wars is a cultural icon in the film industry because it relates to human life in a relatively unique way. Whether it be the Skywalker Saga, the expanded universe, or spinoffs, Star Wars is nearly a genre of its own.
Alabama football is very similar, especially during Nick Saban's tenure. Saban brings a mentality to the sport that many fans aim to replicate in their own lives. We know it as "The Process." Saban has taken the opportunity to explain The Process many times, and each time it seems to explain more about why Saban is so successful in such a unique way to the other 129 head coaches in college football at any given time.
Here's one example of Saban explaining how the development of players is vital to the entire idea of football.
This is just one idea that feeds into the ideology of The Process.
But where does Star Wars fit in?
As often as Nick Saban and his program is compared to the Empire, it's not a belief from the Sith. And if it's not from the most relatable group in the lore, where then do we draw inspiration to compare The Process to Star Wars?
The answer comes from the Disney+ hit series The Mandalorian, which launched its second season October 30. Now explaining the entire lore of Mandalorians is a bit too nerdy for a football space, so if you are truly curious, here's a quick video explaining that.
Mandalorians in short are, to pull from Wookieepedia, " a clan-based ethnic group that was comprised of members from multiple species all bound by a common culture, creed and code." That culture, creed and code is primarily based on the pursuit of honor earned through victory in battle. Sounds a lot like football, eh?
The greatest pride for Mandalorians is often its greatest flaw though, as these warriors earned honor by defeating the highest challenges and best warriors. Sometimes they bit off more than they could chew, while other times they were the most feared in the galaxy.
Alabama operates in a similar vein in that effort. Saban has always been the first to say he'll play whoever, whenever and win.
But we get a greater glimpse at the similarities in The Mandalorian series following Din Djarin, a bounty hunter of the Mandalorian creed making his way in the galaxy. Djarin is wise, though young and holds deeply to his religion while simultaneously learning its impact on his life.
"When one chooses to walk the Way of the Mandalore, you are both hunter and prey. How can one be a coward if one chooses this way of life?"
-The Mandalorian Armorer
When one stresses the importance of a decision, Djarin's clan sticks to the phrase "This is The Way."
The phrase is simple yet so complex in its background. Saban's Process is no different.
Every football decision from Saban is based on The Process. Both clans make every decision in the pursuit of victory and honor.
The next battle, the next game, the next chance at victory, whether it's in training or practice: that is all that matters in both cultures.
“Don’t think about winning the SEC Championship. Don’t think about the national championship. Think about what you needed to do in this drill, on this play, in this moment. That’s the process: Let’s think about what we can do today, the task at hand.”
Mandalorians aren't guaranteed another day. We see Djarin concede defeat and his life many times during the show when he's been beaten due to his creed and the way honor is handled in his culture. When he's inevitably saved by his friends, he learns about sacrifice and a new take on honor.
Alabama isn't guaranteed a championship every year. Some of Saban's best teams failed. But it's one more lesson for future players that Saban can call back to.
When things don't go the way we'd hope for the Crimson Tide, whether in victory or defeat, in a game or in practice, just remember:
Trust the Process.
This is The Way.