In Sneaky-Smart Promotional Move, Nick Saban Sends Alabama-Branded Gift Boxes to Former Players Now in the NFL
The University of Alabama is basically an NFL farm team at this point, to the extent that some people think that they’d stand up against some NFL teams on their own. (For the record, I don’t agree, unless it’s the Dolphins. But they’re barely an NFL team at this point.)
Regardless, it’s pretty much the biggest powerhouse in college sports, and head coach Nick Saban is aware of that. As a means to show some gratitude for his former student-athletes (emphasis on “athletes”), Saban sent former players now in the NFL a pretty sweet gift box full of Crimson Tide swag.
According to Al.com, the branded boxes include the following:
- A white, long-sleeve drift shirt
- A three-quarter sleeve hoodie or long-sleeve hoodie
- A full-zip hoodie
- A pullover hoodie jacket
- A polo shirt
- A trucker hat
- A Crimson Tide-branded beanie
Dear #BuiltbyBama NFL players,
Christmas is coming early.
— Alabama Football (@AlabamaFTBL) September 19, 2019
“It’s just a token of our appreciation for what they’re doing, how they’re doing it, how they’re representing the University of Alabama even after they’re gone, and how it makes us proud that they’re all doing that” Saban said, according to Al.com. “Just a little gesture of appreciation.”
In the box, there’s a personalized note for each player. It reads “you are one of 64 former players representing Alabama in the NFL this season.” That number is written in bold.
Al.com’s Joseph Goodman pointed something out here that’s worth noting. Yes, on the surface, this is just a way for Saban to keep in touch with his former players and show them that their Alabama family appreciates the effort they put in during their time in Tuscaloosa. That’s all well and good. But do you know what else it does? It shows that Alabama is pretty much a fast track to the NFL, given how many boxes Saban is sending out. For a high school kid fighting off college recruiters, it's a gentle reminder that not only does your coach care about you, but there’s a good opportunity to live the dream of playing pro ball.
— Bradley Bozeman (@BSBoze) September 20, 2019
It’s no coincidence that Alabama pushed this story out through social media. Yes, it’s an awesome gesture by Saban and the school’s athletic program. But it’s also a highly visible recruiting tactic for potential players.
If you come to Alabama, you might receive one of these boxes when you’re in the NFL, too.
"One day soon, it will be [Alabama quarterback] Tua [Tagovailoa] receiving his box of gear from Santa Saban," Goodman writes. "And there will be other five-star quarterbacks in high school seeing that video."
Saban is smart. This is just as much a self-promo as it is a thank-you gift. We wouldn't be surprised if that was by design.