Did Florida State Create a Monster in Bobby Bowden?

Chris WhitmoreCorrespondent INovember 20, 2009

1 Jan 1996:  Head coach Bobby Bowden of the Florida State Seminoles is carried triumphantly off the field by nose guard Andre Wadsworth #8 and tackle Orpheus Roy after defeating the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the Orange Bowl in Miami, Florida 31-26.  Ma
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

With one comment earlier this season, Bobby Bowden made it clear.

When asked about him stepping down, he responded: "What would I have to gain by stepping down?"

Not, "What would the team have to gain by stepping down."  And with that one comment, the mindset and attitude of FSU head coach Bobby Bowden became apparent.  FSU created a monster.

When one goes into the Moore Athletic Center at Doak Campbell Stadium he has to pass by a looming Bobby Bowden Statue and walk under the infamous stained glass window that also features Bobby Bowden.  Perhaps FSU should have waited to honor the legacy of Bowden before giving him deity status in Tallahassee.

No one is going to argue what Coach Bowden did for Florida State.  What he did was unprecedented.  But that "nation's elite" status ended 10 years ago when FSU won their last national championship.  And it is that status that Bobby Bowden supporters are hanging on to for the defense on why he should remain as head coach.

Use this scenerio: You dated a very attractive girl.  She was probably the most attractive girl you have ever dated.  And for whatever reason, you two broke up.  Ten years later, she comes back into your life and has gained 90lbs, has mysterious bald patches on her head, and constantly wears Crocs. 

Would you date her? Most likely not.  Just because someone was the best at what they did over a decade ago is not a legitimate justification to keep him or her.

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This is Florida State University.  Not Bobby Bowden University. 

Even Bowden's wife, Ann, recently made comments in USA Today that question Bowden's mindset towards Florida State Univeristy.

"They need US more than WE need them," she exclaimed.

College football has become a business.  The casual observer has seen that Florida State has not been up to par for the standards Bowden set during the dynasty run of the 1990's.

One prominent Florida State booster has said they are willing to completely fund the majority of an indoor practice facility once Bowden steps down.  These comments seem to negate the claim Ann Bowden has that FSU needs the Bowdens.

News this week has leaked that the search for the new defensive coordinator has taken a new turn.  Both Jimbo Fisher and Bobby Bowden are conducting their own searches, and each have completely seperate candidates in mind.

With Jimbo Fisher slated to take over as head coach in January 2011 at the latest (or FSU faces paying him $5 million), it would seem the best decision for the team that Fisher would have the majority of the input and decision on who the hire would be since this would be a long term decision. 

No one can be certain on why Bowden is adamant on getting his own choice in for the new defensive coordinator spot, but many can speculate.

How involved Bowden is with the football program is really only certain for those directly involved with the program.  But a fan at last week's FSU/Wake Forest game noted that Bowden seemed distant.  He never stood near the players. 

The 2009 season will always be a black mark on the history of Florida State football.  Whether you defend Bowden or not, everyone can admit this has gotten ugly.  And the more Bobby Bowden speaks to the press, the more he shows that it is past time for him to step down.  The press conference following FSU's 40-24 loss at Clemson is a prime example.

The following is a word for word transcript provided by Corey Clark's blog at the Tallahassee Democrat:

Reporter: “In the second half, when it seemed like momentum started to switch, how hard was it to try to reverse that?”

Bowden: “You mean when they got it (momentum)? Well, actually … you know, they had to kick off to us. We had a what? A three-point ….? Did we have the lead at the half?”

(Reporter nods).

Bowden: “We had a three-point lead at the half, I think. Then they had to kick off to us. We needed to take it down and win the darn game right there. We didn’t do it. They stopped us. Then we kicked it to them and then they probably scored.”

Reporter: “They went ahead and then you guys came back.”

Bowden: “Huh?”

Reporter: “They went ahead and then you guys came back again.”

Bowden: “Did we get ahead of them again after that?”

Reporter: “Yeah.”

Bowden: “Then we got back ahead, huh? Umm, it was going that way, you know it? I felt very comfortable that if they could score, we could score. That’s the way I felt, you know it? We’ve done it all year. But then we started turning the ball over.”

Those comments irked a lot of Florida State fans and it makes it hard to defend continually paying someone $2.5 million a year. Especially when he could not recall if his own team was ahead at the half, a mere hour and a half or so prior to the interview.

So, to you Coach Bowden, I say, continue with your comments and questions about what YOU would have to gain by stepping down because the fans and those who invest their time and money into the Florida State football program are more interested in hearing about what the team would gain by you stepping down.


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