Taking a clear-eyed look at the Penn State legend's retirement.
After 45 years as head coach and more than 60 years on the staff, Joe Paterno has been fired as football coach of Penn State, following a child sex abuse scandal involving one of his former assistant coaches. Here are a few scattered thoughts on the end of an era:
- Paterno was ousted in probably the most embarrassing and scandalous way possible, although most observers agree that he had probably overstayed his welcome. You know who's another football coach who's overstayed his welcome? Andy Reid.
- Paterno had been Penn State's coach since 1966, or six years after the Eagles' last NFL championship in 1960.
- Paterno and the president of the university, Graham Spanier, were both fired after a meeting of Penn State's board of trustees. You know what else should have a board of trustees with the power to fire both the president and head football coach? The Philadelphia Eagles.
- During the hastily arranged press conference by the Penn State board announcing the firings of Paterno and Spanier, reporters and others present frequently interrupted, heckled, insulted and even booed the board chairman as he spoke. The reporters covering the Eagles for local media outlets could stand to learn a thing or two from that.
- Accused abuser Jerry Sandusky's charity, The Second Mile, retained an "honorary" Board of Directors. Members included Franco Harris, Mark Wahlberg and Andy Reid.
- Paterno's departure makes one thing clear: Unless he's found to have failed to turn in a known child rapist, Andy Reid will probably never be fired as coach.
- However, if Andy Reid did get fired from the Eagles, regardless of the circumstances, there almost certainly would be no riots- unless they were joyful ones- and I can't imagine anyone would march to his house in solidarity either.
- Of course, Penn State must now face the question of who will take over as the new football coach. It should be a man with years of experience as a head football coach, with absolutely no history of scandal or sexual impropriety. A man like Andy Reid.
Some additional takes on the week in Philly sports:
- That was, of course, a debacle of a loss for the Eagles on Sunday, as they lost to a bad team and looked bad doing it. But you have to admire Michael Vick for playing the bulk of the game with multiple broken ribs. In fact, if the entire team played a whole game with broken ribs, I'd have a whole lot more respect for them, even if they lost.
- Still, I want to give the Eagles' crowd credit for being classy and not rioting in the stands during the game on Sunday. If that complement can be applied to the Penn State fans Saturday, why not everyone else?
- There's no excuse for DeSean Jackson to have overslept and missed a team meeting. That said, there's no excuse for the Eagles to have benched him for the game.
- I'm convinced that the Eagles just re-signed Todd Pinkston and told everyone it was Steve Smith.
- Is everyone ready for a weeks-long Vince Young-led winning streak that saves Andy's job? I think we all know that's coming.
- I just don't get the Phillies' Jonathan Papelbon signing. Not only was Ryan Madson just fine, but Papelbon isn't even that good a dancer.
- Wake me up when the NBA lookout is over. On second thought, don't.