Sunday, January 22, 2012

Joe Paterno - A College Football Fan's Perspective

"Joe Paterno - A College Football Fan's Perspective"
By Sean Mysel - "CrossGolfDude"

One of my great sport passions in life has and always will be college football.  As flawed a system we have and as aggravating as it can be not to have a playoff, it has held a charm that no other sport can have.  Much like a great movie or a book you can't put down, college football has it's share of villains and heros.  My first memory of a hero in college football was Joe Paterno.  In fact, it was this game:

This was the 1987 Fiesta Bowl where Penn St. played Miami for the national championship game.  Miami came to Arizona dressed in army fatigues and had the swagger and cockiness a WWE wrestler carries into a show.  It was nauseating.  Paterno's players were typically quiet, reserved and respectful much like he was his entire coaching career.  In my mind, Paterno's greatest moment as a coach was the one where he got snubbed for a national championship in 1994.  That year Penn St had one of its 7 undefeated seasons under Paterno and joined the Big 10 (+1).  Penn St. rolled through its schedule and blasted Oregon in the Rose Bowl.  Yet, the AP awarded Nebraska with the title after it beat Miami in the Orange Bowl.

Paterno the football coach will go down as the greatest coach in college football history.  In a day and age where college coaches have five years to turn a program around, he stayed around for over 40 years.  To put this in perspective, he was around for 10 presidential terms, through Vietnam, both Gulf Wars and before anyone knew who Steve Jobs and Apple was.

History will decide Paterno's legacy in light of the sex abuse scandal that happened under his watch and I am not qualified to make a judgment on what happened at Penn St.  What I do know is that coaching careers like Paterno's will probably never be seen again.