Stepping down is the right decision, but Fisher still needs to prove himself

In many ways the entire Bobby Bowden saga has played out like a classic tragedy.

 There’s the image of the conqueror laid low by age and betrayals trying in vain to hold on to his pride and to accomplish one last victory before he exits the stage forever. The conqueror has been betrayed by those younger than he, by those unable to appreciate the conquests and the glory that he has brought to everyone. Yet at the same time he mistakes loyalty for wisdom and his mind is clouded with hubris and he stumbles in the end.

There are those, of course, who say that Bowden deserves better, like say Dick Vitale, who insist that the 80-year-old Bowden deserves one last victory lap.

Here’s the truth: FSU’s success has been entirely due to Bowden. Nothing that happens now can take away the 2 national titles, the extraordinary run of Top 5 finishes, or the amazing string of bowl appearances.

But here’s the rest of the story: Bowden has been given fame and fortune in exchange for his extraordinary work. And his decisions in the last few years have damaged greatly the winning tradition that Bowden himself established. Bowden acted as if nothing he did, whether it was give his son a crucial important job, or hiring other coaches out of loyalty, could diminish his life’s work.

There’s part of me that continues to wonder if Bowden’s rage, rage against the dying light is due to his fear that he will go out the same way his idol Bear Bryant did. Bryant died just weeks after coaching his last game at Alabama.

Stepping down, however, is the right decision, no matter how clumsy the university may have handled it. If Bowden truly loves FSU as he said he does then he must realize that another year of this mess won’t help anyone. There’s no more of a guarantee that a national title is in the offing than there was this year. And what’s the point anyway? If FSU were a contender, then everyone would say it’s because Jimbo Fisher was given more say, given more leeway over the team. It’s a no-win situation for Bowden.

Bowden has already proven he’s a winner time and time again. In a few years no one will remember this last year. Instead what they will remember are the titles, the Heisman Trophy winners and the bowl wins.

And of course that’s what Coach Fisher needs to realize. He has been handed the keys to the kingdom over the objections of Bowden. Fisher will have no more excuses. Despite never having been a head coach, Fisher has been given the job of a lifetime. And while everyone has raved about his offensive success, let’s not forget that Bowen was once considered a genius on that side of the ball as well.

In my mind Fisher was given something before he truly proved it belonged to him. And while much of the problems this year were not of his doing, he made enough mistakes along the way – such as poor clock management against Miami – to raise doubts about his abilities.

Bowden’s departure will finally give FSU fans a chance to see whether or not Fisher is up to task, or whether his hiring is another decision that they will soon regret.

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One Response to Stepping down is the right decision, but Fisher still needs to prove himself

  1. Old Crusty Stan says:

    They should have fired him 15 years ago. The first title was tainted with the loss to Notre Dame and the second came from having a 30 year old QB playing against teenage boys. Let’s not forget the number of missed opportunities that Ol’ Bobby pissed away out of sheer stupidity or neglect. He had the most talent in the nation for thirteen + years and managed only two tainted titles. He refused to address the placekicker issue again and again despite stinging losses to Miami year after year. He could never manage the clock at crunch time. He preferred gadgetry to a solid running game and spoke publicly like an inbred dirt farmer with brain damage and a second grade education.
    You point out the amount of top five finishes as some sort of merit badge when they should be looked at as continual (and preventable) failures given the opportunities and talent pool he could draw from.
    The man was a perfect example of the “Peter Principle”. A division II coach hoisted up to play against real strategists. And he got his ass beat by them most of the time. Particularly when anything meaningful was on the line.
    He should have been canned right after that first ACC loss to Virginia. Worst coaching I have ever seen at that level next to USC’s Pete Carroll in the title game against Texas.
    Although I can’t say I’m surprised he’s being canonized. The South has a grim history of propping up losers and historical failures as heroes.
    Good luck with Gumbo, Jim Bob, Bumbles or whatever the hell the successors name is.

    Old Crusty

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