Mark Figley: Biden could learn from coach Saban

Nick Saban shocked the college football world when he announced his retirement at the age of 72 after 28 years as a head coach (17 in Tuscaloosa). He compiled 292 career wins, 16-straight seasons with at least 10 wins, six national titles with Alabama and a seventh at LSU. Saban also coached four Heisman Trophy winners and contributed to 49 players being selected in the first round of the NFL Draft.

Given the fact that he looks 20 years younger than his actual age, this helps to explain why Saban has long been known for his elevated football IQ and high energy level. And though he went out on a losing note versus Michigan in a national title semifinal, his Crimson Tide battled until the very end in overtime.

In announcing his decision to retire, Saban cited his age and the “mental grind” of a fast-changing game as reasons why. The coach has high individual standards too. He was disappointed that Alabama, in finishing the season 12-2, could have achieved more had he been younger. New coach Kalen DeBoer will be under intense pressure to emulate a legend at the pinnacle of the football world.

Compare all this to the man at the pinnacle of the so-called political world, President Joe Biden, who after more than 50 years in politics refuses to even consider stepping aside.

As for Biden’s accomplishments, short of capturing the White House legitimately or otherwise, his resume is severely lacking. A habitual plagiarist, Biden has long been known for spouting serial lies, which he casually embeds into stories on the campaign trail and other public settings.

Unlike Saban, it’s highly doubtful that Biden has inspired many to achieve much of anything either. For instance, Biden finished 76th out of 85 in his Syracuse University law class despite frequently contending that he was in the top half. Saban didn’t have to make anything up. He let his record speak for itself when it came to inspiring his players.

Saban, at 72, retired as an energetic man in charge of his program, still actively recruiting elite players and attracting the best coaches to help guide them. Biden, at 81, is listless and refuses to acknowledge his age, cognitive decline or the mental toll of leading the most powerful nation on earth. He looks like a man much older than he appeared even in 2020, often unable to utter a complete sentence with the benefit of a teleprompter.

While Saban confidently led his team out of the tunnel in a healthy run prior to a multitude of Saturday contests, Biden is the polar opposite when it comes to fitness. This has been borne out on numerous occasions where he has exhibited a robotic gait, lost his balance, tripped, fallen or appeared visibly confused. You can always just feel the excitement!

By his own admission, Saban sets high standards for himself. His immense degree of self-awareness undoubtedly played an enormous part in his decision to step aside. From all available evidence, Biden fails to possess any similar trait. Arguably, if he did, Biden would have realized that he was incapable of performing the duties of president prior to the 2020 election. Four years later, he is even less able to handle the most demanding job in the world.

Saban left coaching on his own terms at a time of his choosing. Unlike athletic greats such as Willie Mays, who hung on long past their prime, Saban left coaching at the top of his game.

Biden clearly passed his prime long ago but is content to ignore the fact in the name of power. Therefore, it’s left to American voters to recognize that his worsening cognitive and physical deficits leave them no choice but to send him packing.

The strong tradition of Alabama football will continue on under new leadership. Unfortunately, in an increasingly dangerous world, the same cannot be said for the United States so long as the likes of Biden are at the wheel.

Mark Figley is a political activist and guest columnist from Elida. His column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Lima News editorial board or AIM Media, owner of The Lima News.