If you were to subtract the news regarding Jerry Sundusky and the events of the past two and a half months, the memory of Joe Paterno would be easier to put into words for many who view his legacy as tarnished by the scandal.
Let's pretend the Sandusky incidents never happened. Joe Paterno has passed away after finishing his 46th season as head coach at Penn State University. He dies after learning just weeks ago that he has had lung cancer, and that his health was deteriorating. That's hard for some to believe especially since some believe football kept Paterno alive, much like it did Paul "Bear" Bryant. Matt Millen, a former player of Paterno's made the statement that he "died of a broken heart," following his firing and to add Lou Holtz's comment that "he lost the will to live."
Getting back on topic, the scandal never happened and Paterno has passed. The football world mourns the loss of a legend who set the standard of college football in a central Pennsylvania town for over half a century.
Joe Paterno, a Brooklyn native, attended Brown, and gave up a chance at being a lawyer to take a low paying coaching job at Pennsylvania State University. A school not many knew about when he arrived. Going into the 1980's, Paterno had shaped the football program into what it is known as today. His biggest accomplishments coming in the 80's, with a Sugar Bowl victory in 1982 that won Penn State a national championship, and a strong defensive performance in the Fiesta Bowl in 1987 to beat Jimmy Johnson's Miami Hurricanes, in a game that many pinned as the good guy Nittany Lions, beating the bad boys of "The U."
Paterno coached 46 seasons and never once thought about leaving for a better coaching position in the National Football League. With the Nick Saban's and Urban Meyer's of college football who take several different head coaching jobs at different schools and professional clubs, Paterno was unique. Saying in 2011 that he had offers to coach in the NFL, but said he felt he could do a lot of good by staying in Happy Valley, and he did.
His humanitarianism is also a highlight of his over 60 years at Penn State. He not only was the face of a football program, but the face of the university. Every year, giving donations to the school, even in this new calendar year he made his annual donation after being fired. His donations have bettered the college and adds to his legacy at Penn State. When Joe Paterno spoke, people listened. Regardless of whether they liked him or not.
Over the years, he was a father figure, and in his later years became more of a "grandfather" figure to his players, and as a role model for old and new alumni and that kid in Pennsylvania who plays high school football, who always hoped to get a knock on the door or a phone call from Paterno, wanting them to come and play at Penn State. Just goes to show you that a coach can be the main point of an athlete wanting to come to that college to play.
The older he became, the more people became skeptical and cynical about his ability to coach. After two straight seasons of losing, he was asked to step down, but refused. While some outside of Happy Valley and the Penn State fanbase found this to be ignorant, many who admired him kept their faith. From that point in 2004 when he was asked to retire until his abrupt firing, Paterno's Nittany Lions had an 11-1 2005 season and beat Bobby Bowden's Florida State Seminoles in the Orange Bowl. Penn Sate was 67-23 in his final seven seasons, sending a statement that he still could coach, despite those who questioned him, and his players still believed in him.
Whether you love or hate what Penn State stands for, you can't deny that Joe Paterno has a long lasting legacy that can never be touched by any other coach in today's game. Even the most diehard Auburn fan could give "Bear" Bryant credit where it's due. Paterno,near the end of his career, had many questioning his ability to coach due to his age. While some might question what his contribution was due to him being the only coach who as of 2011 was still not wearing a headset and the constant pacing of the sideline, it can't take away from his legacy in the game.
Yes, the scandal and his lack of judgement when dealing with it has given those who hate Penn State a reason to criticize him. The firing many felt would take away any reason for him to live. Life works in a crazy way, but the worst fear Paterno had and everyone else had occurred, and in the worse way possible with the Sandusky scandal.
Happy Valley has been more sad than happy for almost three months. Paterno's death adds to the pain and hits the school has taken. The outpouring support for Paterno by those who remember him show the good side of a man who many demonized back in November. Remember Joe Pa for the good and not the bad, and what he did for that school and the game that is football.
Coming into their game against the Florida Panthers, the Pittsburgh Penguins were riding a six game losing streak and it didn't help when some started questioning what was happening inside the Penguins locker room. One being how much they still supported Sidney Crosby as their captain. An article from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review sparked a reaction from the players.
It stated that Crosby deserved better based on the treatment he was supposedly getting, rattled the players and lead to each of them showing their support for their captain by wearing a "C" made out of hockey tape, in Malkin's Russian tongue, a "K."
While many on the team say that the gesture was about supporting him, they also said it was also about just having fun and trying to loosen up a tense team that had lost six straight coming into tonight's game against the Southeast Division leading Panthers.
Like many who follow the different Penguin Twitter accounts, @pghpenguins and @PensInsideScoop saw the news through these accounts. For anyone who is on Twitter, there is bound to be someone who will look to create a new trending topic on what was happening in Sunrise. Pittsburgh Penguin fan and sports writer @Amb_Alex started the #C trend and in a little over 12 hours, it has caught on with fans. Not only did the hashtag "C" become big, fans could add their own "C" to their profile photos to show support for Crosby. Get the C on Your Profile Pic Here
While many might see this as just some stunt, it is at least something that the players can use as motivation during the rough beginning to the new year. The media as well as fans in general add on to the pressure when a team is in a rut.
For the current Penguins, this six game winning streak snapped tonight was one of the worst streaks the team has seen in six years. It doesn't help that you add in the Steelers losing to Tim Tebow and the Broncos last Sunday, and Pittsburgh Panthers basketball putting the icing on an already bad beginning of the year for Pittsburgh sports by losing 62-39 to Rutgers on Wednesday.
So the pressure was mounting. Sidney Crosby in my opinion, was dragged into the spotlight because of the losing streak. Assuming that players questioned his symptoms and ability to be a captain arose from the meeting that was held to discuss naming a temporary captain definitely lead to the idea of divide in the locker room.
Does Crosby deserve better? Yes. But to assume that there is not support coming from the players is too easy to do. However you look at what has happened over the past two weeks and today, the Penguins snapped the streak and showed that they support their captain. A divided locker can ruin a team. Today the Penguins showed that there is no divide and it's up to them as a team to decide which direction this team goes.
Hopefully, this #C Revolution and this new mentality can start a string of victories and the Penguins can make good on Ray Shero's guarantee that they will make the playoffs.
With the abrupt end to their run at the Super Bowl by Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos, the Pittsburgh Steelers are beginning an offseason filled with questions about the future.
With a 12-4 season, one that could be debated due to the low strength of schedule, many of the team's problems came front and center, especially with the offensive line. The Steelers could not catch a break, especially with center Maurkice Pouncey, who suffered an ankle injury back in the 2010 AFC Championship that kept him out of the postseason and Super Bowl, and re-injured it in week 14 against Cleveland and kept him out of the lineup. There was constant change in the depth chart for Pittsburgh's offensive line due to injury. It even lead to bringing back Max Starks in Week 5 against the Titans. Pittsburgh has been able to get by with a lack of an efficient line, but it will be something they really need to tackle for 2012. A healthy Pouncey is a good start. Marcus Gilbert played well in his rookie year. He could be a consistent offensive tackle for the future.
For the wide receivers, Hines Ward is a name of interest. It's obvious that his numbers are down from last year and his contribution in the offense was small. Ward is promised a bonus in March. The Steelers may cut ties with the veteran revceiver, because all indications show that Ward is not retiring anytime soon. They should consider their other receivers like team MVP Antonio Brown and Mike Wallace who have taken a hold of the top of the depth chart, who could see an extension in their contracts and more money.
The front three of the Steelers defensive line may need to see some changes. The Denver game saw all three starters go down with injuries. While age has been a topic of interest with this Steeler defense, it's time for Pittsburgh to start investing more in Ziggy Hood and Cameron Heyward on the front line. Perhaps the Steelers look at moving Hood to nosetackle if Keisel is still a person of interest for the defense. James Farrior is the older of the linebackers on the defense. Maybe its time Steven Sylvester, who is right behind Farrior on the depth chart, to see more action next season? The defensive backfield has improved over the years, but Ike Taylor's performance against Denver would make anyone want to throw him overboard. Taylor had a great year, but played the worse game of his life at the wrong time.
For the coaching staff, the worse Steeler Nation has seen in Mike Tomlin's short time in Pittsburgh. Tomlin gambled with Ben Roethlisberger, who played with a high ankle sprain against San Fransisco and then in the final week against Cleveland. Many would argue that Roethlisberger should've been sidelined in the season finale, but Baltimore's inability to wrap up the division kept Pittsburgh with a small chance to steal it. In the end, Tomlin's gamble failed.
A large overhaul isn't needed, but past issues need to be addressed if the Steelers want to stay up as a competitive team. Another year of not addressing big issues like the offensive line will lead to more problems in 2013.