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The weird Bama-Patriots championship trend continues

The NFL’s biggest modern dynasty and college’s biggest modern dynasty have still never won a title in the same year.

Alabama got bullied by Clemson in college football’s national championship game. Meanwhile, the Patriots lumbered to a win over the Rams in the Super Bowl.

This is significant, because of a trend that has developed over the years between the Pats, the NFL’s modern dynasty, and the Alabama Crimson Tide, the rough college equivalent of New England. The two organizations have still never won a title in the same year despite combining for 11 titles this millennium.

Making it even weirder, going back to the start of the College Football Playoff, Bama and New England are alternating titles every other year.

  • 2014: CFP - Ohio State; Super Bowl - Patriots
  • 2015: CFP - Alabama; Super Bowl - Broncos
  • 2016: CFP - Clemson; Super Bowl - Patriots
  • 2017: CFP - Alabama; Super Bowl - Eagles
  • 2018: CFP - Clemson; Super Bowl - Patriots

Bama and New England bear a lot of similarities.

The two teams’ coaches, Nick Saban and Bill Belichick, actually know each other quite well — the two met in the 1980s, and coached together with the Cleveland Browns in the 1990s. In a recent piece about the relationship, Belichick talked about their first-ever meeting:

“It wasn’t just the secondary, which was his forte,” Belichick says. “He knew what the nose guard was doing, and he knew what the quarterback was reading. He knew how receivers adjusted routes based on coverage. He understood all the components of the game, and that was very interesting for me. Because I saw the game that way myself; that everything kind of affects something else.”

Both teams are famously intense, and it’s easy to see this Tom Brady quote, which nobody really believed ...

... and think about the time Saban’s Bama put up fake quotes attributed to the “National Media” before a 2016 Playoff game, saying heavy underdog Washington would beat the Tide. (The Huskies did not, though Clemson went on to beat the Tide in the title game.)

Thanks to Bama’s failure against Clemson, the Pats’ door remained open.

Next year, it’s Bama’s turn?