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Niles North High School | Skokie, IL

North Star News

Niles North High School | Skokie, IL

North Star News

How 24 hours in January changed the football world forever

From left, Nick Saban, Bill Belichick, Kevin C. Cox, Danielle Parhizkaran, Andy Lyons

The 17-hour timespan between the afternoon of Jan. 10 and the morning of Jan. 11 marked a shift in the world of football as we know it.

First, in a chain of three events at roughly 1 p.m., Pete Carroll reported as “out” as coach for the Seattle Seahawks. The 72-year-old had been with the Seahawks for 13 seasons, leading them to 11 winning seasons and a Super Bowl championship. That’s not the sum of his career achievements, however, Carroll had been in the coaching world for nearly 50 years, both on the professional and collegiate level most famously for USC. He was one of the most accomplished in history, one of only three coaches ever to win both a national championship and Super Bowl. He was the heart and soul of the Seattle Seahawks team until he wasn’t.

This past regular season, the Seahawks underperformed greatly, missing the playoffs despite a talented roster on both offense and defense. Many woes stemmed from coaching. Seattle’s offensive weapons weren’t utilized to their maximum potential, and even on defense, his side of the ball, they had struggled. Carroll was demoted to an advisor of the Seahawks, without even an attempt to leave the franchise and take his head coaching job somewhere else. While his age is a factor, the fact he didn’t even make an effort to coach somewhere else is a testament to Carroll’s decreasing status in a changing game of football. He may never coach again.

At roughly 4 p.m., Alabama head coach Nick Saban, widely considered the greatest college football coach of all time by a large margin, retired at 72. From his hire in 2007 onwards, Saban had spearheaded an Alabama Football program to an unmatched six national championships, and alongside a national championship at LSU in 2003, amounted to a trophy case of seven total, the most of any collegiate coach in the 21st century. This past college football playoffs, Alabama lost in overtime to Michigan in the Rose Bowl. It marked the first time in the program’s history since Saban joined that a player that played at Alabama for four years, would not see a national championship victory.

With the introduction of the transfer portal and NIL to college football transforming how coaches and programs recruited players, Saban was faced with a game he was not familiar with, and accusations from former players such as Reggie Bush who claimed Saban could not handle level playing field ensued. Whether there’s truth to it or not, Saban has nothing to prove. But what is certainly true, is that Alabama could no longer be the sole juggernaut of college football. Growing age mixed with increasingly unfamiliar territory, Saban knew his time had come.

Alongside Nick Saban, there is arguably no name in football more synonymous with winning than Bill Belichick. On the morning of Jan. 11 at roughly 6 a.m., it was announced that 72-year-old Bill Belichick would be “parting ways” with the New England Patriots after 24 seasons and an unmatched 6 Super Bowl championships. The last time someone not named Bill Belichick coached the Patriots, it was Pete Carroll in 1999. It was announced as a mutual decision, but if you’d been following the Patriots all season, you’d know it was more of a “you can’t fire me, I quit.” After departing with Tom Brady in 2020, a quarterback-coach breakup stemmed from intensifying disagreements between the two, Belichick hasn’t found success since.

The Patriots had been on a downward slide in the few years prior, but this past season was the culmination of all their building issues. The Patriots went 4-13, putting up single-digit points in six of their losses. The problems stemmed from Belichick. While he kept the Patriots competitive on the defensive side of the field, the Patriots offense, led by a profusely struggling Mac Jones benched later in the season for a below-average Bailey Zappe, was a completely dysfunctional disaster. With his age, Belichick has fallen out of tune with the offensive side of the field, and it’s even harder when you no longer have the greatest quarterback in the football industry to help. The Patriots have no weapons, but Belichick, whose ego has grown over the years, has insisted on drafting for the team and has cornered himself with bad and tone-deaf picks. Colin Cowherd said it best on his show The Herd, “If you’re the greatest film director of all time and your last five movies tank, that’s what you are now.” 

Within hours of each other, football’s sturdiest and long withstanding pillars fell. As the world of football moves forward, the three coaches look ahead at their future. Pete Carroll sits back as an advisor for the Seattle Seahawks. Nick Saban purchases a $17.5 million dollar oceanfront mansion in Florida. Bill Belichick, with his legacy in scrutiny and 26 wins away from passing Don Shula to become the winningest coach in NFL history, looks to become the next head coach of the Atlanta Falcons. It is the end of an era.

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About the Contributor
Sam Dababneh
Sam Dababneh, Review Editor & Asst. Sports Editor
Sam Dababneh is a Sophmore at Niles North High school. This is his second year on North Star News.

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