The sirens sounded and five motorcades cleared Collins Street on what’s called ‘Millionaire Row’ during rush hour to lead four Alabama buses to the front of the Fontainebleau Hotel on Miami Beach Wednesday afternoon.
Head coach Nick Saban was first off the bus, followed by his staff and players. Barrett Jones walked as normal as possible with a boot on his sprained left foot. He carried his own luggage without the help of Manti Te’o this time (the Notre Dame linebacker offered his services at the airport last month while he and Jones traveled together to post-season award ceremonies).
Chance Warmack took pictures of the iconic hotel with his cell phone, A.J. McCarron looked focused with his headphones on, and Damion Square was all smiles, waving to fans, carrying his son.
Defensive coordinator Kirby Smart and strength and conditioning coach Scott Cochran each walked off the bus carrying car seats, accompanied by their wives and children, and darted for their families who waited with a couple reporters outside the hotel.
The Fontainebleau lobby is luxurious. Three sparkling gold chandeliers suspend above posh couches for guests willing to pay thousands of dollars for a room to relax and chitchat. Contemporary art hangs on the walls. Striking women dressed in designer bathing suits and cover-ups during the day and chic dresses and high heels at night walk around the 20-acre oceanfront hotel. Other amenities include a state-of-the-art poolscape and a 40,000-square-foot spa.
“I’ve stayed in some nice hotels, but this one is easily the best,” Miami native and Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper tweeted after the team arrived. “It has a Mac [computer] in the room and a TV in the bathroom lol.”
But despite Alabama's extravagant living arrangements for the next week, the team knows they aren't here to experience all Miami Beach has to offer.
"I don’t think it’ll be hard [to focus]," Jones said in a short press conference at the airport after the team's plane landed in Miami. "I think a lot of our guys know that we’re here for the national championship. And while this is going to be a fun trip, it’s a business trip. We’re not really here to have fun, we’re here to win the game.”
Added Saban: "We’re focused on what we’ve got to do in this particular game. Michael Jordan always said it doesn’t matter how many game-winning shots I’ve made in the past, all that matters is the next one. And that’s really what matters to our guys. I hope we can stay focused on that and play a good game, and as a coach that’s what you’d like to get your team to do, play your best game."
Below is a video of the team arriving at the hotel.
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