‘When you get to the top of the mountain, you become the mountain’: Saban stars in new HBO film
Nick Saban and Bill Belichick are unquestioned sporting legends. However, who they are as individuals goes way beyond the game of football.
HBO and NFL Films on Tuesday announced the upcoming premier of a new feature-length documentary on the respective head football coaches of the New England Patriots and the University of Alabama Crimson Tide, “Belichick & Saban: The Art of Coaching.”
While offering a unique window into the life of each coach, the documentary will focus on Saban and Belichick’s longstanding friendship.
Along with a press release, HBO and NFL Films released an official teaser video.
— NFL Films (@NFLFilms) September 3, 2019
“Belichick & Saban: The Art of Coaching” will premiere Tuesday, December 10 at 8:00 p.m. CST exclusively on HBO. The documentary runs 90-minutes long and will also be subsequently available on HBO On Demand, HBO NOW, HBO GO and HBO partners’ streaming platforms.
In a statement, Peter Nelson, executive vice president of HBO Sports, commented, “Bill Belichick and Nick Saban have earned their rightful place in the pantheon of greatest coaches ever, across all sports, and this film intimately spotlights their woven history from Navy to Cleveland to now.”
“It will capture for the first-time ever some of the most engaging and personal conversations held every year by the two most towering figures in the game today,” he continued. “We are excited to partner with NFL Films to tell this unique story of friendship and mentorship.”
The documentary seeks to bring into focus a four-decade-long friendship between the two football giants. Belichick and Saban reportedly granted “unprecedented” camera access to their annual coaching retreat, where they shared a multi-layered conversation about their interwoven history, admiration, coaching philosophies and much more. The intimate portrait will invite viewers to examine first-hand their blueprints for organizational success, in what can only be described as a literal “meeting of the minds.”
Combined with one-on-one interviews and extensive inside access captured over the past three decades, “Belichick & Saban: The Art of Coaching” includes topics never publicly broached before, including their fathers’ respective influences on their careers, their tenure with the Cleveland Browns organization in the 1990s and how they connect with the current generation of players.
The documentary also features interviews with peers, assistant coaches and family members, including both coaches’ children, Hall of Fame tight end and former Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome, Georgia head coach Kirby Smart and Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, among many others.
“Bill Belichick and Nick Saban have become the modern versions of Vince Lombardi and John Wooden – symbols of success not just in sports, but in life,” Ross Ketover, chief executive of NFL Films, added. “Their lessons on leadership are an inspiration; not just for those of us who love football, but for anyone who wants to thrive at whatever passion they pursue.”
Belichick and Saban met in 1982 in Annapolis, Maryland, home of the United States Naval Academy, where Saban served as an assistant coach alongside Bill’s father, Steve Belichick. Their first encounter sparked one of football’s most influential friendships.
In 1991, Belichick was named head coach of the Cleveland Browns, and shortly thereafter he hired Saban to command his defense. Under their tutelage, the Browns produced one of the NFL’s most formidable units. Their early success foreshadowed more than two decades of dominance.
Since then, Belichick has led the New England Patriots to six Super Bowl victories, and his 292 career wins rank third all-time in NFL history. The powerhouse organization built by Belichick in Foxborough has resulted in 16 AFC East titles and nine AFC Conference championships.
Saban, meanwhile, has amassed six national championships and 232 career victories between stints at Toledo, Michigan State, LSU and Alabama. Five of his national titles have occurred since Saban’s 2007 arrival in Tuscaloosa. His “success with the Crimson Tide has turned him into an iconic figure, fueled by a winning percentage of .874 since taking over at Alabama,” HBO and NFL Films said.
BREAKING: NFL Films partnering with HBO to produce a documentary about goats. https://t.co/e3cN4qQoWx
— Alabama Football (@AlabamaFTBL) September 3, 2019
Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn