Nick Saban’s Cookie Jar Runneth Over
The unavoidable meme of Alabama head coach Nick Saban starting each and every day with two Little Debbie oatmeal cream pie snack cakes is equal parts relatable on a human level and terrifying to those of us who lack the discipline to even eat breakfast regularly.
If his robotic discipline holds true, Saban has eaten more than 9,500 oatmeal cream pies since taking over in Tuscaloosa (ya know, if you ever need that sort of information for a weird trivia night.)
Still, even after 13 seasons of pure dominance in college football and an unholy amount of snack cakes, the correlation between Saban's tenure and his cookies fit neatly inside a small, clear, plastic package.
Tuesday morning, Saban joined The Dan Patrick Show, as he often does. In novel Patrick fashion, seemingly as if it were a challenge by his producers to make the seven-time national champion laugh, the host broke the ice by asking about Saban's morning ritual.
"Oh yeah," Saban chuckled. "Some things never change."
Of course, Saban doesn't skip even the most menial of tasks. Haven't you ever heard of "The Process," Dan?
Playfully though, Patrick poked Saban, asking what would Saban manor look like if the oatmeal cream pies simply ran out.
"Well, I've got probably the two largest cookie jars you've ever seen in your life full of them," Saban said. " And when they get half full, I kind of go into panic mode. Some kinda way they get filled back up."
Saban then jokingly amused Patrick by all but admitting it's someone's job to keep the jars filled. What'd you expect, Saban to skip down to the local Winn-Dixie and buy the store out? There's film to be watched and recruits to call.
"That's one of the reasons I'm scared to retire, ya know," Saban said. "There'd be no sense in anyone being there to fill up my cookie jar."
Yeah, Saban is hilarious, and it takes a great radio host to pull the jovial side out of him. But there's something deeper here.
No, Saban isn't still kicking the SEC's ass over snack cakes, as awesome a thought as it is. And, no, Saban won't up and retire tomorrow if Little Debbie decided an influx of purchases in Tuscaloosa was no longer worth the means of production.
But that joke could all but be the confirmation, if ever there would be any, that Saban is too much a creature of habit to ever stop coaching. Plainly, there is no retirement plan for Nick Saban.
Sure, in the past he's said if his presence became a detriment to the team he'd tip his hat and hang up the whistle. But a hip replacement, grandchildren, shattered records, none of that has deterred him from coaching the Crimson Tide. Despite there being nothing left to accomplish, except winning the next championship, he keeps chugging along at 69 years old with no end in sight.
Saban can no more decide to stop coaching than to skip a random Tuesday's helping of oatmeal cream pies and coffee. It's not gonna happen, so quit asking.
While this one minute of sports radio is all very amusing, and I am by no means insinuating I know what goes on in the well-lubricated machine Saban calls a brain, but the coach makes a valid point in a subtle passing joke.
There's no need for the routine if he's not coaching. The same salad for lunch every day, six months with tomatoes and six without. The same route to and from his office. The weekly PayDay candy bar he gets after church every Sunday from the same gas station.
The two oatmeal cream pies with his coffee every morning.
In a way, those things lose their purpose, other than the comfort, without the sole purpose of being the best coach he can be.
There's more to life than football. Honestly, Saban's intricate routines prove that. Find some joy in the little things.
But for Saban, the little things add up to the big thing: greatness. We'll see it April 17 on display for A-Day. Undoubtedly we'll see it in the 4th quarter of the Mercer game in September when a fourth-string linebacker misses an assignment. The little things matter.
As long as it matters to Saban that his two over-sized cookie jars are never less than half full, it'll matter how his team performs on the football field.
Will Saban's cookie jars ever empty?
It's not gonna happen, so quit asking.