Joe Paterno, 1926-2012

…and so, just ten weeks or so after being fired, just nine weeks after the announcement that he had lung cancer, Joe Paterno passes away at the age of 85.

You kind of knew he would go like Bear Bryant did…that not long after coaching his last game, that he himself would be gone.

You hope the scales of justice do him good. That Paterno’s legacy, sullied by the scandal that brought him down, also accurately reflects the over six decades of good he brought to the university.

How many other football coaches (forget the record 409 wins, the two national championships, the 24 bowl victories) get a university library named after them? A stadium, rec center, basketball court, yes, but a library?

Paterno was different. He was from the old school. Maybe that, as I wrote about before, was his undoing. I do believe he stayed on too long. I had problems with some of his coaching, especially when he got a bit too conservative with his playcalling for my tastes. But no one could take away from the man all the good he did for the university and its students.

Unfortunately, the Sandusky scandal tarnishes that legacy. One man, one sick, evil man, can do and has done, so much to unravel so much good. It’s like that line in Elton John’s song Empty Garden. “It’s funny how one insect can damage so much grain…”, for that’s exactly what Sandusky did.

Perhaps, as I wrote before, Paterno’s old-school ways were what hurt him most when the Sandusky thing unraveled. Perhaps, being oldschool, JoePa could not, as a good, decent man, understand or grasp the actions of perversity. Perhaps what was unspeakable, unthinkable and unmentionable to one of Paterno’s generation was still to him, and as he stated, he didn’t know how to handle it and didn’t want to screw up. He was afraid of violating university procedures. In the end, he went to his supervisors, who are more guilty than Paterno of negligence. They didn’t follow up. Should Paterno have pressed the issue? Probably. He probably should have asked, “what did you do about Sandusky?” He didn’t. Maybe he trusted Curley and Schultz to do their jobs, which they didn’t. Maybe he was scared about bringing something against Sandusky, that Sandusky, if found innocent, would then turn around to sue the university and Paterno for scandal and libel (and thus win millions). Maybe, as has been written, McQueary didn’t tell JoePa enough, for as Joe stated, “I never heard of rape and men…” As I stated, Joe was from a different era.

Should he have done more? Even he admitted, that in hindsight, he should have.

But he isn’t the criminal here. It’s Sandusky on trial and jailbound. He is the monster, not JoePa.

Negligence issues rest with Curley, Schultz, and perhaps Spanier.

So he is now gone. There will never be another like him.

Let’s hope that on the scale of justice, the scale of good and evil, that all the good JoePa did outweighs the one unfortunate thing on the other side of the scale.

For he deserves to be remembered for the good, although that one stain will unfortunately always be there.

God now judges him. Rest in Peace, Joe.

You won’t be forgotten. You will be missed, and as new head coach O’Brien has made reference to, you may be succeeded, but never replaced.

Joe Paterno, 1926-2012

Update: Almost seven months later, we know more, or think we do. See updated posts written after this one.

3 responses to “Joe Paterno, 1926-2012

  1. RobertGKramer@AOL.Com

    Sad he leaves with that black cloud over his head.

  2. I couldn’t agree more, Mike. The court of public opinion is what Athletic Director Tim Curley–this happened allegedly in 2002; PSU was a woeful 3-9 and Curley as Paterno’s boss–not the other way around–could have fired JoePA after 2004 for a losing record by a coach paid to win, etc., and as a result, the new coach, whether it be, e.g. Bill Cowher could have won the Big Ten Title by going 10-1 in 2005 with JoePa’s players. By asking Paterno to resign, JoePa, of course, knowing he did nothing legally wrong, knowing Sandusky, Spanier, Curley, Mike McCreary and even the Campus Police are under investigation for doing something legally against the law, obstructing justice, pedophile charges vs. Sandusky long after his defense outsmarted that asshole of them all, Jimmy Johnson of the Miami Fatiques and was such a pain that even Jerry Jones wound up doing what Curley should have, ie.e. had Barry Switzer win with Jimmy’s players, thus that Aikman, Emmitt, Irvin last hurrah over that great interception machine, Neil O’Donnell, brings back memories Steeler fans, doesn’t it of how the Cowboys and Switzer and Jerry escaped with that 1996 Super Bowl title, the last one the Cowboys will ever win under Jerry Jones–it’s been 16 years now and counting–until he hires a real coach and not a butt munch such as the “Pillsbury Dough Boy”, i.e. Wade Phillips or “Jason –We attempt enough FG’s until we lose at Arizona and at home vs. Giants in consecutive weeks, with special kudos to that great defensive genius, Rob Ryan.

    Anyway, these people under investigation, especially Spanier, made sure that Paterno’s great 8-1 start this past season was marred into a 9-4 under Tom Bradley and the kids, who did great, even in the Nebraska game and beyond, when PSU’s inexperience at QB (Both QB’s have a way to go and are not seniors, wwhether it’s McGloin or Bolden.

    Amen to everything else you wrote. I like how those gutless bleepholes and cowards fired JoePA over the phone instead of facing the soon to become ill fatally just

  3. Again, just great how Spanier and the other cowards did it over the phone and instead of facing Joe, his scared wife Suzanne, his great and loyal son, Jay, Tom Bradley and everyone synoymous with the program.

    When it’s time to go to court, we’ll see who was telling the truth, JoePA and we’ll see who else has any legal problems, because JoePa and his immediate family I predict will have none.

    Nothing like taking his name off of that 2005 Big Ten Title, that rainy night on Halloween Saturday of 10/31/05–PSU and Paterno 17, OSU and the since disgraced Jim Tressel, 10; and of course an honorable mention goes to since fired Michigan Coach Lloyd Carr, who somehow got two seconds put back on the clock, without those two seconds, PSU goes 11-0 and you would think at least have to play USC-Houston for National Championship–or would that be now six unbeaten seasons with just two National Championships, only in Big Time Division I, Style Points, Blow Them Out Football would this happen; only in 1994 would PSU’s Paterno lead at Indiana by three touchdowns with the first team, and give some kids some experience and let Indiana’s first team and fans enjoy their two late meaningless TD’s; Style Points decide National Championships, i.e. winning by three TD’s would have given PSU 12-0 the 1995 New Year’s Day victory at Pasadena vs. Oregon State(?) National Championship over 12-0 Tom Osborne Nebraska, instead Nebraska’s tougher(?) Bowl Victory over Miami was enough to have one 12-0 over another, instead of CoChampions or a National Championship determined on the field and not be some stugats stunarde voters who are also prejudiced against someone who does what his right by the kids. Coach Paterno.

    By the way, if you check the week of Nov. 13, you will find a column by Phil Mushnick in the NY Post addressing Style Points.

    Mike, I suggest, you look up around Nov. 14-15-16-17 NY Post.com and make sure you post a link on your Yankee Website, the best around. See you at the next meeting, March?

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