TUSCALOOSA, Alabama – Alabama coach Nick Saban said he never gave a copy of the New York Jets’ playbook to good friend Bill Belichick and never would.
Saban, whose comments were provided to AL.com through an Alabama spokesman, issued his response after Cleveland Browns coach Mike Pettine, in an interview with MMQB.com, insinuated that it may have happened.
Pettine told the website New England quarterback Tom Brady bragged to Jets linebackers coach Mike Smith at Wes Welker’s wedding that the Patriots “may or may not have had possession of a couple Jets defensive playbooks.”
“It didn’t shock me because (New York Jets coach Rex Ryan) would give them out like candy anyway,” Pettine, who was a former defensive coordinator under Ryan, told MMQB.com. “He gave one out to Saban and I was like, ‘Don’t you know Saban and Bill are pretty good friends? I have a feeling it’s going to end up in New England.’”
The playbook, according to the Alabama spokesman, is currently sitting in Saban’s office. Saban and Ryan are also good friends.
Both Ryan and Belichick brushed off the accusation in their respective post-practice interviews Thursday.
“Go talk to Mike Pettine. I don’t know,” Belichick said, according to the Boston Herald.
Ryan confirmed to reporters that he provided Saban with a playbook after the Alabama coach visited the Jets’ facility, but called the accusation “ridiculous.”
“One thing I know for a fact, it’s disrespectful to New England to say, ‘oh, they did this…’” Ryan said, according to CBS New York. “Every single game, your playbook changes. Your game plan changes every single week … This thing has probably been blown out of proportion a little bit. To me, this is a lot to do about nothing.”
“It sounds like everybody’s got to talk to Pettine because it seems like he’s got all the information. I don’t understand what he’s trying to gain with it.”
The topic came up when Pettine discussed why his initial defensive playbook in Cleveland was relatively light.
“I don’t put a lot of graduate-level information in it,” Pettine told MMQB.com. “We know in places like New England, it’s only a matter of time that they somehow mysteriously end up with our playbook.”
Saban was Belichick’s defensive coordinator with the Cleveland Browns from 1991-94. The two have remained close through the years.
“What you do when he comes to town you go in the meeting room and you order the stuff in and you eat while the film’s going,” Saban said after Belichick came to Tuscaloosa in 2012 for a Pro Day.
Ryan spoke at an Alabama coaches clinic in 2011 and said he hoped his youngest son would one day play under Saban.