One of the reports coming out of the SEC spring meetings is the agreement amongst coaches not to take jabs at colleagues or rival programs in the offseason. This news comes in the wake of the Nick Saban-Devil comparisons made by a former assistant now working at Florida, amongst similar comments made previously.
Admittedly, I was critical of the comments made toward Saban, but mainly due to the context in which they were used and the disrespect by lower ranking coaches to take out the “top dog”. In this case, I completely disagree with whomever was responsible for this idea.
Some of the most infamous sound bites in SEC history have come from comical jabs made by rival coaches. Do these attacks really do so much harm to the targeted pun? I don’t think so.
In most cases, a jab at a rival program will, at worst, create bulletin board material for the next matchup between the two teams. This will also create a much more intriguing matchup for fans when the game does take place.
A recent example would include the 2009 Tennessee vs. Florida game. The heavily favored Gators faced off against the rebuilding mode Vols and then-head coach Lane Kiffin, made comments about then-Florida coach Urban Meyer during a banquet.
The rivalry between the two teams creates a built-in excitement amongst their fanbases, even though Tennessee has struggled in recent years. However, this game gained extra attention amongst impartial fans due to the Kiffin vs. Meyer matchup created by the controversial remarks.
In most cases, comments made by coaches directed at a rival coach or program are in good spirits and to excite fans within the program. Without such sound bites, the SEC offseason may become a long, boring news period for fans counting down until the August kickoff date.