It was, as Mike Vaccaro writes in the New York Post, "one of the most devastating public benchings we'll ever see." He's referring to Alabama coach Nick Saban's decision to lift starting QB Jalen Hurts at halftime in the college championship and put in freshman Tua Tagovailoa, who then led his team to a thrilling overtime win. Vaccaro's question to readers: "How would you have reacted if you were Jalen Hurts?" The columnist thinks he himself would have reacted "poorly," perhaps secretly hoping that Tagovailoa would be a bust and force Saban to revert. "Hell, that was sure how ESPN’s cameras were betting, for all the reaction shots we saw of Hurts. Surely he would crack. Surely he would react." Nope.
Hurts led the way in encouraging his replacement and in celebrating after scores. And after the win, "there was no camouflaging it: The sophomore who got benched was just as ecstatic as the freshman who’d replaced him." Hurts would say afterward he felt obligated to be a team leader and "stay true to myself and be the person I am," and Vaccaro marvels at his poise in doing so. Critics may take issue with how Saban runs his team, but if he can cultivate that kind of genuine team-first culture, he's doing something right. "And [it's] even more obvious that Jalen Hurts is doing something right, too." Click for the full column. (Read more Alabama Crimson Tide stories.)