Nick Saban sits in a darkened meeting room in a suburban Birmingham, Alabama hotel. A single light casts down on him from above. He looks disheveled, his collar unbuttoned. Face unshaven. Wears a sneer of disdain as he stares at the condensation pooling beneath the glass of bourbon on the table in front of him.
Just beyond the table, and the rim of the light, an expanse of media sits in shadow, staring at him.
"You know...I had plans. Better than this shit. Nothing fancy though. Was going to be a...dentist...maybe an orthodontist. Some fuckin' thing. Get married. Kids. Mortgage. All the picket fence bullshit we all grow up thinking the world is about.
But life gives you the misdirection, you know. Sucks you in with the ball, waits for you to make a decision, and just yanks it in the other direction. I mean, you guys saw it when Zeke Elliot broke that big run last season. And you just have to live with the consequences.
Thirty years later, here I am. Standing in front of 100 slapdicks who couldn't spot the mike on a 3-4 over front with a goddamn .357 up their ass...no offense...but I'm the one who gets judged for other people's choices. I chose right, quarterback chose left. That's life for you. One big, worthless string of shit you didn't choose, happening for you."
Gus Malzahn, Nick Saban, Kevin Sumlin, Les Miles and Hugh Freeze walk through the parking lot of the Wynfrey Hotel, which sits on the horizon behind them. They all wear body armor with "COACH" strewn across the chest. They look sullen. Shocked even. Some keep their eyes low as if to avert the gaze of invisible onlookers. Freeze stares blindly, unblinkingly, straight ahead, his face adorned with random splatters of blood. A plume of smoke rises from the hotel behind them.
SABAN: "What the hell happened..."
FREEZE: "Oh God..."
MALZAHN: "Pretty obvious. We were set up."
SABAN: "There were so many of them...How in the hell did they know we were coming?"
MALZAHN: "Somebody in the league office ratted us out. Probably thought we needed to ‘greet the public'."
FREEZE: "Oh God Oh God Oh God..."
MALZAHN: "YOU SHUT THE FUCK UP HUGH. YOU'RE THE ONE THAT STARTED SHOOTING"
MILES: "Hey! That kid damn near ate his hand off!"
MALZAHN: "Yeah, well now we have a lobby full of dead bodies to explain. You want to do it? We sure as shit ain't lettin' Mark do it."
FREEZE: "OH MY GOD...."
Bret Bielema and Steve Spurrier drive a Ford sedan across a bleak, rural landscape in central Alabama. Bielema, the driver, lights up a cigarette as he converses with Spurrier, the passenger.
SPURRIER: "You're fuckin' with me man. Just settled for the field goal? From 45?"
BIELEMA: "They say I'm not fun in late-game situations."
SPURRIER: "I got news for you. You're not fun to have in regular game situations either."
BIELEMA: "What are you trying to say?"
SPURRIER: "You're a bad coach."
BIELEMA: "World needs bad coaches. We help keep the other coaches at work."
SPURRIER: "Yeah...well...there are all kinds of ways to lose games."
BIELEMA: "It's all losses man. We're all just one giant fuckin' L floatin' in outer space."