Fresh off the heels of the Chris Morelli article bashing Derrick Williams, Anthony Scirrotto, Aaron Maybin, Maurice Evans, Santa Claus, Kittens, and the Easter Bunny for no good reason other than he's a bitterly failed journalist desperate for attention, we get another gem from another Bleacher Report idiot.
Usually, the formula for a good Joe Paterno hit piece starts off with the words, "I have all the respect in the world for Joe Paterno and everything he's done for Penn State and college football," before adding the predictable "but..." This gem starts right off going for the jugular with the title "A Wrinkle and Time: How Joe Paterno Is Becoming Bad for Penn State". Oh boy. Here we go. Let's work through this one line by line.
In case you are unaware, Paterno is 82 years old. He was born in 1926, less than three years before the really big stock market crash of 1929. In other words, when people say that we could be entering another Great Depression, it resonates with Joe Paterno. He lived it.
He has been the head coach at Penn State for 43 years and has been on the football staff for 58 years. He joined the staff during the Truman administration.
I like how he starts this blurb with the words, "In case you are unaware." Hey, did you know Joe Paterno is old? He's been at Penn State for almost 60 years! As if this is news we didn't already know. My response is, "So?"
It's true, the Nittany Lions enjoyed a bit of a renaissance this year, rolling up an 11-1 record and earning a trip to the Rose Bowl to face USC.
So Mr. Roberts is willing to admit we're kind of good. Ok, although I would hardly call four straight bowl games and two conference championships, and two plays away from two national championship games in four years "a bit of a renaissance."
But speaking as one who is not close to the situation and has no inside information, there is no way that I can believe that having Joe Paterno on the sideline, or in the press box, for the next three years can be good for the Penn State football program.
Ok, so he admits he doesn't know what he's talking about, but he knows Joe Paterno is dragging Penn State down. At this point he has completely discredited himself and we should not take anything he says seriously, but we'll read on for the sheer entertainment value.
Does Paterno do all of the things that other top-notch head coaches, such as Nick Saban, Bog (sic) Stoops, Urban Meyer, or Pete Carroll do? Can he maintain a workaholic schedule, sleeping only in snippets and breaking down film for 15 hours a day?
Of course not.
Does Paterno call plays, or even wear a headset? Nope.
I can already here the arguments that Paterno can accomplish the same things those guys can in limited duty because he is a legend, but I don't buy it.
Can JoePa endure a hot two-hour practice in early August? I doubt it.
Again, so what? So Joe Paterno is old. He doesn't work 80 hours per week. He doesn't live out of a suitcase during the offseason. He doesn't sleep in his office. Does that make him an ineffective head coach? What does that matter when his team is 40-11 over the past four years with two BCS bowl appearances? I don't call that hard work. That's effective management.
It sounds to me like the only thing Joe Paterno is guilty of is not fitting the typical mold of a college football head coach in the eyes of Mr. Roberts. He lists Nick Saban, Urban Meyer, Pete Carroll and some guy named Bog Stoops as the standard by which all other coaches should be judged. How many national championships has Pete Carroll won in the past four years? Zero. How did Nick Saban and Alabama do in their Bowl game this year? Oh yeah, they tanked against Utah. Shame on us for losing to USC. What is "Bog" Stoops' record in his last four BCS games? 0-4. And sure, Urban Meyer has won two out of the last three national championships, but if not for one bad quarter in Iowa this year, Joe Paterno would have been watching this year's national championship game from the press box. Which brings us to.
In fact, problems with his leg and hip forced him into the press box for several games this year. Before the season, JoePa admitted he thought about being up there full time, saying, "I enjoyed being upstairs, I really did. I sat down, had a nice time, had a cup of coffee...I was even able to watch television."
Joe Paterno's extension is not about Penn State winning more games. The amount of coaching that Joe Paterno actually does nowadays must be very little.
No, he wasn't being serious, Mr. Roberts. It's called being lighthearted about a not-so-fun situation. But what Mr. Roberts does here is nothing short of dishonest. Roberts says this quote took place "before the season" suggesting Paterno really wishes he could coach all of his games from the press box. The quote was actually made nearly two years ago in the summer of 2007 when Joe Paterno was still recovering from the broken leg he suffered in Wisconsin. The fracture required surgery and forced Joe to take a few weeks off from coaching to rehabilitate himself. He couldn't get out of bed let alone run a practice or game. It doesn't mean Joe Pateno is too old to coach. It just means he had to go on disability, something hundreds of thousands of regular people do every year when they need medical treatment regardless of their age.
Besides, it's not like Joe was just randomly reflecting on how great the press box is. That quote was a direct response to a question from a reporter about what it was like to sit in the press box.
To begin with, Paterno was asked about his time coaching from the press box last season after breaking his leg against Wisconsin.
"There's a lot of benefits," Paterno said. "You're not down on the field where you can yell and holler and push and shove. You see so much more. I try not to intefere with the guys upstairs, but every once in a while I drop a note to them. But you're really a cheer leader down on the sidelines.
"I enjoyed my time upstairs. I sat down, had a cup of coffee - like a newspaper guy. I sat on my rear end and watched television," Paterno said.
Anyone who has ever read or listened to an entire Joe Paterno press conference can see what he's doing here. He's joking with the reporter. Everyone knows he would rather be down on the sidelines. When you've been on the sidelines for 42 years, that's where you want to be. When he injured his hip just before the home opener this season he toughed it out for the first several games. Even though the pain was excruciating at times, the old man did his best to be on the battle field with his team. Listen to this quote just before the Wisconsin game and tell me Joe Paterno prefers sipping coffee and watching television in the press box.
Q. If you could, one more mobility question. You used to put a lot of stock in walking through the team at the beginning of the game. How much do you miss that and how have you been able to replace that somehow, that interaction?
I try to spend a little more time in the locker room with them; walk around in the locker room during the week. I have a motor cart they drive me around in now (at practice). In fact, I can harass them more now than I did when I could walk. I can get there faster. Though, I have a lousy driver. He's going to put me in the wall one of these days (laughter).
But, I miss running out on the field. I would be dishonest if I told you (otherwise). I used to love to get out there and the crowd fired me up and the whole bit. But there are a lot worse things that can happen to you.
Or watch this.
You can't look at that picture of Joe Paterno pressing his hand up against the glass and tell me the man is having a good time there. You can't tell me his soul is down on the field. Joe Paterno knows he belongs on the field, and I honestly think if the hip replacement surgery hadn't gone so well he would have hung it up. If Joe Paterno can't get back to the sideline he wouldn't want to coach. Now back to more of Mr. Roberts' drivel.
No, Joe Paterno's contract is about Joe Paterno, and choke hold he has on Penn State. If Paterno really did care about the university as much as he cares about himself, he would step aside gracefully and admit what all must face: Father Time is an opponent that cannot be defeated.
It is apparent that the Nittany Lions need to promote one of their own assistants or hire someone now, or they will risk falling off when Joe Paterno is no longer around to figurehead the program.
Wait, I thought Joe Paterno was driving the program off a cliff. Now we're going to "fall down" after he's gone? If you check the recruiting rankings on Scout, we currently have the #10 ranked class in the nation. If we land Brown and Jenkins on signing day we may slip into the top five. At this rate the next head coach, whomever he may be, will find the shelves stocked with talent. One thing Paterno has done well with incoming recruits is be honest with them. He doesn't make their recruiting experience about how great it would be to play for a legend. He sells Penn State from the academics to the stadium to the fans to the game day experience. He tells kids to come to Penn State for those things. Don't come to play for Joe Paterno because even he admits Joe Paterno may not be around four years or four weeks from now.
Perhaps, they keep Paterno in a little office on the ground floor of the athletic building and when they are showing around the fat cat donors, they take them into that little office and say, "Look, here's Joe Paterno, coaching legend. We have to ask you to keep your voices down now, Joe is easily startled when he is sleeping."
Eighty-two years old. Time to hang it up, Joe, and let Penn State, an organization bigger than yourself, move on.
I would hate to be Mr. Roberts' parents. This article gives us a keen insight into his opinion of old people. In his eyes they are lazy and confused. They shouldn't be allowed to work and be productive like normal people. Rather they should be given a quiet room in the basement where they won't bother anybody. Let them be paraded out for Thanksgiving and Christmas to make them feel special and so that we can all laugh at them.
This entire article is insulting to not just Joe Paterno and Penn State, it's insulting to old people everywhere. As long as Joe Paterno is bringing in good recruiting classes, winning Big Ten championships, and going to BCS bowl games, who cares how he does it? If it means Penn State having a chance to play for the national championship every three or four years I'm all in favor of him sticking around as long as he wants to. Let him work from home, putt around practice in a golf cart, and coach from the press box. He can take a nap during the third quarter. I don't care.
While the rest of the country looks at Penn State and scratches their head at how we can continue to put up with a head coach that doesn't give the impression he's busting his ass like his peers, there is no denying his success. And maybe, just maybe, there's more to life than top five recruiting classes and BCS championships. In this day and age of "what have you done for me lately" and coaching tenures shorter than the average American owns a single car, it's refreshing to see a coach who enjoys remaining loyal to a school that has been loyal to him. If winning national championships means kicking good people to the curb and running a program lacking in morals, ethics, and loyalty, you can have it as far as I'm concerned.
Penn State is more than a football program. It's a family, and everyone in the family looks up to Joe Paterno like a father. Some of us may be the bratty teenager that can't wait until we're 18 and can go on with our lives without the old man, but deep down we still love him. And in 20 years those people too will look back on all he's done for our Alma Mater and wish we had appreciated him more when he was around. But people like Mr. Roberts, who are admittedly "not close to the situation," will never understand.
Coach Joe Paterno's Hall of Fame speech (via 1313elijahj)