It's been a while since I've dished on Ron Cook, actually where's the guy been I haven't read one of his patently horrible articles in a while. Oh, ok that's better. So typical Bobby Bowden – Joe Paterno comparison piece where the author tries to transpose the ending of Bowden's story on Paterno. That's all fine, albeit a bit obvious since it almost happened, but Cook couldn't stop there; no in the middle of it he had to get his shot in.
This season, the Nittany Lions are 10-2 and could be headed to a BCS game. They don't deserve to play in a big bowl after losing badly at home to Iowa and Ohio State, but bowl matchups aren't about fairness. They're about which teams can put the most fannies in a stadium and eyeballs on a television set.What does that have anything to do with Bowden and Paterno? It's a low blow in the middle of an article and it has absolutely nothing to do with the subject: Paterno's longevity and Bowden's retirement. I'm not saying I disagree with the statement, I don't believe Penn State deserves to play in a BCS bowl either but if that's the point I'm going to try to make, then I'll do it in an article aimed at that subject. It's the poor journalism we've come to expect out of PA reporters especially the Post Gazette a paper that is required to beat on Penn State because of their loyalty to Pitt.
The stupidity doesn't stop there though, this statement shows the mentality that a lot of PA reporters share and it shows the significant ignorance I've come to expect.
For a long time, I've being struggling with thoughts about what Paterno's chief legacy will be at Penn State. Is it those 393 wins? The countless millions he has raised for the university? The fact his teams routinely attract game-day crowds of 105,000 or more to Beaver Stadium? I guess it has to be the wins because the successful fundraising efforts and the big crowds wouldn't have happened without them.But I'm starting to think Paterno's unfathomable longevity is his greatest achievement.
This is the problem I had with reporters back in the "dark years." They just didn't get it. Paterno's legacy isn't about wins and losses, it's not about a big stadium either, and it's certainly not about the length of his tenure as coach. Paterno's legacy is this, and I can't stress this enough: he's made a difference in the lives of thousands of young men. Paterno will be remembered for the money he's donated, for the bowl victories, and the national titles but his unyielding commitment to his players on and off the field will be his legacy. Just ask Michael Robinson whom Paterno stuck with at quarterback despite every talking head wanting him to move to wide receiver or running back the position the NFL moved him to. Just ask Adam Taliaferro who Paterno got through school despite his career ending back injury. And while you're at it, ask Brian Milne who was diagnosed with cancer in high school and the only coach to still offer him a scholarship was Paterno. In fact Paterno was going to make good on Milne's scholarship even if he never played another down of football. How many coaches would use a scholarship on a player that may never play again in this day and age? One: Joe Paterno. No his legacy won't be about the hundreds of wins he's amassed, Joe Paterno's legacy will be about the thousands of lives he's touched. It's too bad some reporters don't understand that.