Saturday afternoon, the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Auburn Tigers faced off once again in the latest iteration of the Iron Bowl. This fierce rivalry is known for big plays and head-turning moments, and the 2019 game did not disappoint. Alabama head coach Nick Saban threw what many described as a temper tantrum on the sidelines.
On the moment in question, Saban showed his fury on the sidelines, which drew considerable attention. As the video showed, the head coach was screaming at the referees while violently shaking his headset in anger. The reason was unknown at the time, but Saban did later explain what drew his ire.
"Well, they said there was one second on the clock," Saban told the sideline reporter at halftime. "But it's a live clock, so if they stop the clock, there's no way they can snap it and kick it in one second. If you clock the ball, you gotta have three seconds to do it. I don't get it, but it is what it is."
At the time, it appeared that Auburn’s JaTarvious Whitlow was tackled with a second left, which would have ended the first half given that the Tigers were out of timeouts. However, referees stopped the game to check the clock, which was originally ruled to have expired. One second was put back on the clock. This allowed Auburn to rush the field goal team out and convert a 52-yard field goal to bring Auburn within 31-27.
Ultimately, the Tigers took home the Iron Bowl victory with a 48-45 final score, which was only confirmed when Alabama's kicker hit the game-tying field goal off the uprights.
(Photo Credit: Wesley Hitt/Getty)
Imagine how mad he will be if Auburn wins by 3.— Sue Fritz (@sufr64) November 30, 2019
When the incident took place on the sidelines, many fans wanted to focus on Nick Saban's anger at the officiating. This reaction was understandable to them considering that watching this one second be placed back on the clock was not an ideal scenario for the Crimson Tide.
Interestingly enough, there was one user on social media that actually predicted the outcome of this game. They believed that it was entirely possible that a three-point swing could come into play.
It's like someone took away his favorite toy....... pic.twitter.com/BiVmbrLEMF— Buckeye Shane (@getyorocksoff) December 1, 2019
Was this reaction by Saban justified? Many that thought so. Others, however, actually said that the Alabama head coach was acting like a child with his outburst on the sidelines.
To further prove this point, the fans on Twitter drew comparisons between Saban and other children from movies. Most notably, they believed that the head coach was acting like one of the most famous children in animated film history.
Nick Saban having a temper tantrum is starting to seem like a tradition 😳😳😳 pic.twitter.com/6ClpuCtvcw— Maegan W. (@iipuglife) November 30, 2019
This outburst certainly drew considerable attention due to the outrage visible on the sidelines. There were certainly many football fans that were shocked by the entire incident. "How could Nick Saban act like this?"
For others, however, something was comforting about this entire incident. In their opinion, the sideline explosion is just an annual tradition during Alabama games.
That’s mathematically impossible. Worst job of officiating I’ve ever seen. Pitiful— Eric St.Clair (@EricStClair009) November 30, 2019
The reactions to Nick Saban's outburst were certainly varied, but many completely understood this moment that was captured on camera. Although they didn't exactly understand the severity of the outburst.
Regardless, there were some users on social media that actually felt that the officials had caused considerable issues with their decision. In their eyes, it was completely impossible for Auburn to kick a field goal with only one second remaining on the clock.
They didn’t spike anything they were given a de facto fourth TO because auburn— Daniel Spaulding (@DPSpaulding) November 30, 2019
Is there an innate bias prevalent among officials in the NCAA? There are certainly many football fans that believe this to be true. Whether it's the officials not calling a holding penalty or mixing up the clock, there were a considerable number of fans on social media that said the referees were favoring the Auburn Tigers.
Considering that Auburn reigned victorious in the Iron Bowl this season, this conversation about alleged officiating bias may continue for an entire year. The mixup at the end of the first half will continue to be a conversation on social media.
I will never understand why it's considered acceptable, even expected, behavior for football coaches to act like spoiled children. What if I spent my day screaming at my subordinates or peers? Would that be okay?— Donna Howard (@Donnachka206) November 30, 2019
There were certainly many that were surprised by Saban's anger, as well as many others that found it funny. However, some users were simply surprised by this outburst on the sideline. Specifically, why can Saban get away with acting like this when he is unhappy?
As some users pointed out during the game, they couldn't believe that the Alabama head coach was able to throw a "tantrum" simply because he didn't like the officiating. This wouldn't be possible in other jobs.
When you get to the dessert table, and all the pumpkin pie is gone.— Scott Storbeck, CEC (@chefsws) November 30, 2019
While the majority of responses were focused on whether or not Nick Saban is a good coach and deserved to be angry, there were some went in an entirely different direction. In fact, some users actually believed that this video of the angry Crimson Tide coach provided them with the opportunity to make some jokes about the holidays.
It's long been a tradition on Twitter to pair a video of something topical with some random text to describe the situation. This was a similar trend on Saturday as Saban's anger inspired even more jokes.