November 10, 2011
As the fallout from the Penn State sexual abuse case continues, Shutdown Corner looks at two forgotten tales of how the NFL intersected with the biggest modern-day scandal in sports.
1. Joe Paterno was offered the head coaching job of the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1969, three years after he took over at Penn State. The Rooney family reportedly offered Paterno $70,000 per season to make the jump to the NFL, far more than the $20,000 he was making in State College.
Paterno said he was close to taking the job but reconsidered after sleeping on it for a night. He told "Pittsburgh Steelers: The Complete Illustrated History":
"It was an awful lot of money, a fantastic offer. I'd never dreamed of making that much money. Then I started thinking about what I wanted to do. I had put some things out of whack. I haven't done the job I set out to do at Penn State."
Pittsburgh eventually hired one of Don Shula's assistants from Baltimore. His name was Chuck Noll.
2. Jerry Sandusky was a leading candidate to become the head coach at the University of Virginia in 2000. He interviewed numerous times and later said he was offered the job. Sandusky would have hired former Wake Forest and current Indianapolis Colts head coach Jim Caldwell to be his offensive coordinator.
The job eventually went to Al Groh, who abruptly left his position as head coach of the New York Jets to take over UVA. Groh left after New York lost to the Baltimore Ravens in Week 17 of the 1999 season and missed out on a playoff spot. Had the Jets won that game, Groh would have been coaching in the playoffs and unavailable to talk to UVA.
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