FORT LAUDERDALE, Florida — It’s something less than a secret that Alabama and Notre Dame share plenty of similarities. Both teams are defensive-minded with superstars at linebacker. Both teams are historical comeback. And both teams had to mount a comeback effort to get where they are now.
After a 17-year wait, Nick Saban brought a national championship back to Alabama in 2009, and Monday night, the Tide will go for its third in four years. Notre Dame hasn’t played for a crown since winning the 1988 national title.
How did they do it? Saban introduced The Process, founded on key elements such as discipline, pride, toughness, winning the fourth quarter and not allowing players to get caught up in results.
Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly has his own process.
“Well, I think it starts with setting a clear goal for the program,” Kelly said. “You know, really what is it; are we here to get to a bowl game, or are we here to win national championships?
“So the charge immediately was to play for championships and win a National Championship. So I think setting the bar.”
Much like Saban, the winning came after establishing a new mindset.
“And then I really think it’s about winning and winning in everything that you do,” Kelly said. “If I asked everybody out here, what do you know about winning, most would understand that you put more points on the board. There’s so much more to it than that; it’s morale, it’s the right people, it’s creating an atmosphere where when your players come to the football building they enjoy being there.
“So I think if I would probably say one thing, it’s about setting the bar and what that expectation is, win a National Championship, and then create a winning atmosphere on a day-to-day basis.”
Contributed by Brett Hudson