Back to the Future was based on the concept that one single event or decision can change the course of history. Much like the McFly’s kiss at the Enchantment Under the Sea Dance, no single decision has changed the course of recent college football and NFL history than the Dolphins’ decision to pass on Drew Brees in free agency in 2006.
With one week until the kickoff of the 2016 College Football Playoff, Nick Saban sits on the precipice of his 5th national title with Alabama, and cementing his tenure with the Tide as one of the greatest dynasties in the history of college football.
10 years ago, Saban left the Miami Dolphins for Alabama after two mediocre seasons as an NFL head coach. The Dolphins have continued to exist as an NFL bottom feeder in the decade since he departed, and have seen a revolving door of coaches and quarterbacks since Saban skipped town.
Today in The Herd, Colin explained how the course of history in both the NFL and college football would be different if the Dolphins’ team doctor had medically cleared Brees so the team could sign him.
In 2006, Drew Brees was a free agent quarterback who was shown the door by the San Diego Chargers in favor of rookie first round pick Philip Rivers. Brees was coming off shoulder surgery and looking for a new NFL team to lead.
One of the people most interested in his services was Nick Saban. Brees was brought in by the team for an examination of his surgically repaired shoulder. The Miami team doctor refused to clear him because of the shoulder. Saban left for Alabama. Brees signed with the Saints.
As Colin explained, the domino effect of the Dolphins’ decision not to sign Brees has been far reaching throughout college and pro football for the last decade. So how did it impact the history of the game? Here are 5 ways:
- There is no Alabama dynasty – Don’t forget, the Tide wasn’t rollin when Saban took over. They had a losing record, and were on NCAA probation because of violations under previous head coach Mike Shula. Alabama, as we currently know it, wouldn’t exist.
2. No Urban Meyer at Ohio State – With no Saban at Alabama, it’s possible that Urban Meyer may have stayed at Florida longer to continue to dominate the SEC. If he had, he would not have been available to take the Ohio State job.
3. The Saints wouldn’t have a post-Katrina rebirth and Super Bowl – After the devastation from Hurricane Katrina, the Saints became a source of hope and inspiration for the city. The central figure at the heart of the Saints rise to prominence, and eventually their Super Bowl win over the Colts in 2010, was Drew Brees. If Brees signed with the Dolphins, who knows what would have happened? It’s a distinct possibility the NFL would have moved the franchise out of the Crescent City.
4. Belichick and Brady would have a legit AFC East rival – If Belichick and Brady had been squaring off against Saban and Brees in the AFC East for the past decade, they wouldn’t be dominating the division like they are now. Brees and Saban would surely have their share of wins in the matchup, and maybe a division title or two.
5. Peyton Manning has another Super Bowl ring – Peyton Manning and the Colts lost to Brees and the Saints in Super Bowl 44. If Brees never signed with the Saints, Manning would have faced a lesser opponent and might have another Super Bowl ring. It’s not a sure thing, but definitely possible.
— Herd w/Colin Cowherd (@TheHerd) December 21, 2016