The End of the Golden Age of College Football

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

With the firing of Joe Paterno at Penn State yesterday, the Golden Age of College Football is now officially over!  Coach Paterno was the last remaining giant of College Football. He strode the entire era with all of the other giants:

Bo Schembechler, Woodie Hayes, Bud Wilkerson, Darrell Royal, Paul “Bear” Bryant, Ara Parseghian, and Bobbie Bowden.

Joe Paterno won more football games than any of those. This jester is a Michigan WOLVERINE booster and has been so since I was a little boy. My fandom of College Football spanned Joe Paterno’s whole career (as head coach of PSU) and a bit more. So I had respect for Joe Paterno as well as all of these other GIANTS of College Football. I still have respect for the good works of Joe Paterno. I understand Penn State University’s dilemma in dealing with this crisis. I feel for the victims and I feel for the PSU administration, students, and the football players — but the Nitany Lion share of my sympathy does go for the victims. This tragedy has a long way to go, to play out.  My prayers go out to the victims and their families. I hope they get the Legal Resolution they need and deserve. I am appalled at how this Sandsuky fellow’s alleged actions could fell such a legend (who is not guilty of any wrong doing — just not legendary in dealing with the tragedy that has happened during his tenure). There will be no justice in this story, just a long delayed legal resolution.

I am blogging because this is a catharsis for my feelings on this matter. It is a stunning revelation! I am hopeful that Joe Paterno does not let this ignoble end to his career, define him. It was not his actions that caused the crisis (perhaps his inactions allowed this crisis to lengthen). Joe Paterno is defined by his integrity, his body of work, and his family, friends and his faith.

This jester would prefer NOT to think ill of such a man. Joe, please, say it ain’t so. I will lament his demise. I will lament at how his focus on his work let this very human tragedy to continue. I will lament for the children who were the victims. Perhaps that is how every Age ends — in the lamentations and sufferings caused by petty, little people whose actions demeaned these boys and somehow also felled a GIANT and ended an era.


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