As an in-demand assistant, Smart spurned several opportunities — often on Saban’s advice — to wait for the right job. When former Georgia coach Mark Richt went shopping for a new defensive coordinator in January 2014, he naturally targeted Smart, a former Bulldogs defensive back.
When Smart informed Saban that he was considering an offer to return to his alma mater, Saban’s message was pretty clear: Why would you go back there for anything other than the head-coaching position?
“I think sometimes guys get a little too enamored with titles,” Saban said. “I think the most important thing is: Can you win? Are you going to win? Do you have stability and the opportunity to do that in whatever job you’re in?”
Smart decided to remain at Alabama, where he would become the highest-paid coordinator in the FBS with an annual salary of $1.5 million. When Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity fired Richt after the 2015 season, he quickly zeroed in on Smart to replace him.
“Sometimes the best deals you make are the ones you don’t,” Saban said. “Sometimes things just work out for the best. Guys that stay in places where they have a chance to be successful, I think that’s what helps them get opportunities, more than what [their] title is. I give Kirby a lot of credit for that. He was loyal; he stayed here and did a great job right until the end.”
And amid reported turmoil involving Brady, owner Robert Kraft and coach Bill Belichick, the quarterback isn’t likely to lose focus.
“We do what we always do. We show up to work and try to do the best we can do,” the All-Pro quarterback says. “We know there’s a lot at stake and I think everyone’s put a lot into it. It doesn’t really matter what happened outside of this facility.”
Tennessee has lost six in a row to New England, but comes off a stirring second-half rally at Kansas City from 18 points down, the largest postseason comeback on the road in Wholesale NFL Jerseys Nike the Super Bowl era.
Pittsburgh lost only once after that, at home to the Patriots in a game that Cheap MLB Jerseys decided the AFC’s top seed.