He's an icon. He's the reason why yours truly writes this blog. He's the reason why we've been known to fly across the Atlantic for games. He's the reason why we pay for ESPN subscriptions and swear at TVs.
And after the heart-wrenching game against Illinois, Joe Paterno said this about becoming the winningest coach in Division-I history. And it wasn't to do with himself, the Nittany Lions' offense, or even the 8-1 record or the possibility of winning the Big Ten (the trophy's named after himself). He talked about Grambling coach Eddie Robinson:
Q: "Win No.409 Joe. If I'm your grandchild asking you, what does win No.409 mean to you?"
A: "What 409 means to me is that a good friend, a great guy - one of the greatest people who ever had anything to do with college football - did a great thing for the African American when he and Jake Gaither started to give scholarships when those kids didn't have scholarships. To have my name next to his means a lot".
And here's how 409 was won - from the field level: