Joe Paterno through the years

Joe Paterno joined the Penn State coaching staff in 1950 and took over as head coach in 1966. His coaching career ended in November after a record 409 victories.

By centering on the ambiguity of Joe Paterno’s role, HBO’s drama avoids confronting the real horrors of the Jerry Sandusky child abuse case
“Paterno” Fails to Get to the Heart of the Penn State Scandal
By centering on the ambiguity of Joe Paterno’s role, HBO’s drama avoids confronting the real horrors of the Jerry Sandusky child abuse case
The current Houston Texans coach credits the foundation Joe Paterno set with the Nittany Lions for the program's rapid return from NCAA sanctions.
Former PSU coach O'Brien: "I knew this place would be back"
The current Houston Texans coach credits the foundation Joe Paterno set with the Nittany Lions for the program's rapid return from NCAA sanctions.
The current Houston Texans coach credits the foundation Joe Paterno set with the Nittany Lions for the program's rapid return from NCAA sanctions.
Former PSU coach O'Brien: "I knew this place would be back"
The current Houston Texans coach credits the foundation Joe Paterno set with the Nittany Lions for the program's rapid return from NCAA sanctions.
The current Houston Texans coach credits the foundation Joe Paterno set with the Nittany Lions for the program's rapid return from NCAA sanctions.
Former PSU coach O'Brien: "I knew this place would be back"
The current Houston Texans coach credits the foundation Joe Paterno set with the Nittany Lions for the program's rapid return from NCAA sanctions.
The current Houston Texans coach credits the foundation Joe Paterno set with the Nittany Lions for the program's rapid return from NCAA sanctions.
Former PSU coach O'Brien: "I knew this place would be back"
The current Houston Texans coach credits the foundation Joe Paterno set with the Nittany Lions for the program's rapid return from NCAA sanctions.
FILE - In this Nov. 5, 2005, file photo, Penn State football coach Joe Paterno acknowledges the crowd during warm-ups before an NCAA college football game against Wisconsin in State College, Pa. Paterno aims to tell the polarizing story of a legends fall, when the most essential question can never be answered. The HBO movie directed by Barry Levinson debuts April 7 and stars Oscar winner Al Pacino as Joe Paterno, the Penn State coach whose career ended in scandal. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)
"Paterno" movie a polarizing story with unanswered questions
FILE - In this Nov. 5, 2005, file photo, Penn State football coach Joe Paterno acknowledges the crowd during warm-ups before an NCAA college football game against Wisconsin in State College, Pa. Paterno aims to tell the polarizing story of a legends fall, when the most essential question can never be answered. The HBO movie directed by Barry Levinson debuts April 7 and stars Oscar winner Al Pacino as Joe Paterno, the Penn State coach whose career ended in scandal. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)
Academy Award winning director Barry Levinson discusses the HBO movie "Paterno," which focuses on Joe Paterno's final days as Penn State's head coach.
SN Exclusive: Barry Levinson says 'Paterno' retells Penn State scandal 'as it's presented'
Academy Award winning director Barry Levinson discusses the HBO movie "Paterno," which focuses on Joe Paterno's final days as Penn State's head coach.
<p>On March 31, it’ll be seven years since the <em>Patriot-News</em> of Harrisburg, Pa., ran a little-noticed story with this headline: “Jerry Sandusky, former Penn State football staffer, subject of grand jury investigation.” The investigation in question soon mushroomed, revealing sexual abuse dating back decades and a wide-ranging cover-up: Sandusky, the former Nittany Lions defensive coordinator, would be found guilty of molesting 10 boys; three university administrators would be sentenced to prison terms for child endangerment; and legendary head coach Joe Paterno would be fired, two months before dying from lung cancer, his honor comprehensively tarnished.</p><p>The heady two weeks that followed Sandusky’s Nov. 4, 2011 indictment are the subject of a new HBO movie, <em>Paterno</em>, which airs April 7. Al Pacino plays Paterno, and Oscar winner Barry Levinson (<em>The Natural</em>; <em>Rain Man</em>) directs. SI spoke with Levinson on Friday. <em>The following interview has been condensed and edited.</em></p><p>?</p><p><strong>SI</strong>: <em>The Penn State story is pretty fresh in a lot of people’s minds—why give it a fictional treatment now?</em></p><p><strong>Barry Levinson</strong>: I’m interested in what went wrong: What is the failure of the system and the people we look to as those in charge and those responsible? In this case, there wasn’t anyone more revered than Joe Paterno—the winningest coach in the history of football, the educator, the humanitarian. This all happened in his backyard. What went on? To me, that’s a perfect story, to ask, <em>Gee, what happened?</em> It’s not just some coach. This is a man who was honored and revered. <em>What happened? </em>You try to explore that and convey that to an audience. </p><p><strong>SI:</strong> <em>For a work of fiction, the movie hews surprisingly closely to the facts of the case.</em></p><p><strong>BL</strong>: We’re doing a film in a sense, which is taking place in the 35 minutes that he’s inside of an MRI machine, looking layer by layer at this man. But the story is really confined to the events of that two-week period, and so we had to do that, double-checking the dates and getting some factual information straight, with HBO and all these lawyers involved.</p><p>?</p><p><strong>SI:</strong> <em>A lot of the movie has to do with how Paterno’s family reacts to the scandal, and how harshly his children come to judge him after Paterno’s past inaction is revealed. I remember them at the time, though, serving as his strong defenders. How did you settle on that portrayal?</em></p><p>One of the many sources we used as research for this film is a book—<em><a href="https://www.amazon.com/Paterno-Joe-Posnanski/dp/1451657501" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Paterno" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Paterno</a>,</em> by Joe Posnanski—which is written by someone who was actually there and met with him. Because we’re dealing with the beginnings and with the shock of it all, they were surprised, obviously, and they’re trying to figure out what’s going on as the media is running all of these various stories. The book has some elements dealing with that section of time, and we based it off those.</p><p><strong>SI: </strong><em>One of the topics that is not explored in the movie (since it covers such a short period) is the contentious years-long battle over Paterno’s culpability and legacy. Your film comes down pretty firmly on the side that he should have done more to stop Sandusky—do you anticipate a backlash from the Paterno loyalists?</em></p><p><strong>BL</strong>: You would assume that that would be the case, because there are some that don’t want to hear anything. But I think we’re being very journalistic: This is the information that in fact exists. We’re not making up these stories. This is what exists. You would hope that people can look at it, and realize that we’ve put quite a bit of time and research into it. This isn’t some kind of movie where we have an agenda—we’re trying to tell the story of the information as it laid out. That’s all you can do. You try to show the man in all lights, you know? In some ways, that’s the tragedy of it.</p><p><strong>SI</strong>: <em>This is your second based-on-a-true-story film for HBO in as many years; in 2017 you directed </em>The Wizard of Lies<em>, </em><em>about Bernie Madoff. Do you see any overlap between Paterno and Madoff?</em></p><p><strong>BL</strong>: They’re different characters. Bernie was less of a people person, quite removed. Paterno was warmer, more emotional. And with Paterno it’s more complicated. Some of the things he did, his beliefs in education, and all of these things in terms of character, and all of that stuff, that’s part of his legacy. And yet, how does he ignore these warnings—how does he ignore this information? How? Why? What happened? That’s what makes it interesting, the why.</p><p><strong>SI</strong>: <em>After watching the movie, it seems your answer as to the why is that he was preoccupied.</em></p><p><strong>BL</strong>: It’s more complicated than that. The film is saying, yeah, he was preoccupied, but you can’t write it off as just being preoccupied. It’s way more complicated than that. I don’t know that we’re ever going to get the real answer to it.</p><p><strong>SI</strong>: <em>You’re a sports fan. Did making the movie lead you to any new thoughts about whether big-time sports and universities can coexist?</em></p><p><strong>BL</strong>: There’s a lot at stake for these universities because college football generates so much money, and obviously that element has gotta impact on this situation. The administration, whether consciously or unconsciously, they knew a lot of this information and they looked to cover it up, because it represented a danger to the university on a bunch of levels. That’s what happens. A university is about students, when it’s all said and done. Period. It’s about education. That’s why they were built—they were built to educate. But with this amount of money involved, you can start to see how this happens. <em>How do we cover this up? Maybe it will go away. </em>You see these mechanics play out, as we show it.</p><p><strong>SI</strong>: <em>One of the most unpleasant (and dead-on) scenes is the movie is one in which a mob of Penn State students shows up at Paterno’s house and chants his name. Scott Paterno goes out and tries to get them to say a prayer for the victims, and all they do is start chanting his name. </em></p><p><strong>BL</strong>: He was there forever; he was like the father to those students. Without them having all the information, they do this thing to protect the father. It’s obviously a misjudgment, but we do react emotionally before we react in a more thoughtful manner.</p><p><strong>SI</strong>: Paterno <em>is being released at a moment of great cultural reckoning surrounding silence and abuse—though it was shot before that moment was really underway. Does the #MeToo movement make you reevaluate anything about it?</em></p><p><strong>BL</strong>: One of the points of the movie is, <em>Look what happens when a voice is not heard</em>. When the first victim stepped forward, if the authorities would have paid attention and done the necessary investigation, then nothing else would have happened beyond it. But it was ignored, and it becomes this scandal. The reason things are happening now is that so many people have been ignored for so long that it explodes.</p>
Inside the Making of the New HBO Movie, 'Paterno'

On March 31, it’ll be seven years since the Patriot-News of Harrisburg, Pa., ran a little-noticed story with this headline: “Jerry Sandusky, former Penn State football staffer, subject of grand jury investigation.” The investigation in question soon mushroomed, revealing sexual abuse dating back decades and a wide-ranging cover-up: Sandusky, the former Nittany Lions defensive coordinator, would be found guilty of molesting 10 boys; three university administrators would be sentenced to prison terms for child endangerment; and legendary head coach Joe Paterno would be fired, two months before dying from lung cancer, his honor comprehensively tarnished.

The heady two weeks that followed Sandusky’s Nov. 4, 2011 indictment are the subject of a new HBO movie, Paterno, which airs April 7. Al Pacino plays Paterno, and Oscar winner Barry Levinson (The Natural; Rain Man) directs. SI spoke with Levinson on Friday. The following interview has been condensed and edited.

?

SI: The Penn State story is pretty fresh in a lot of people’s minds—why give it a fictional treatment now?

Barry Levinson: I’m interested in what went wrong: What is the failure of the system and the people we look to as those in charge and those responsible? In this case, there wasn’t anyone more revered than Joe Paterno—the winningest coach in the history of football, the educator, the humanitarian. This all happened in his backyard. What went on? To me, that’s a perfect story, to ask, Gee, what happened? It’s not just some coach. This is a man who was honored and revered. What happened? You try to explore that and convey that to an audience.

SI: For a work of fiction, the movie hews surprisingly closely to the facts of the case.

BL: We’re doing a film in a sense, which is taking place in the 35 minutes that he’s inside of an MRI machine, looking layer by layer at this man. But the story is really confined to the events of that two-week period, and so we had to do that, double-checking the dates and getting some factual information straight, with HBO and all these lawyers involved.

?

SI: A lot of the movie has to do with how Paterno’s family reacts to the scandal, and how harshly his children come to judge him after Paterno’s past inaction is revealed. I remember them at the time, though, serving as his strong defenders. How did you settle on that portrayal?

One of the many sources we used as research for this film is a book—Paterno, by Joe Posnanski—which is written by someone who was actually there and met with him. Because we’re dealing with the beginnings and with the shock of it all, they were surprised, obviously, and they’re trying to figure out what’s going on as the media is running all of these various stories. The book has some elements dealing with that section of time, and we based it off those.

SI: One of the topics that is not explored in the movie (since it covers such a short period) is the contentious years-long battle over Paterno’s culpability and legacy. Your film comes down pretty firmly on the side that he should have done more to stop Sandusky—do you anticipate a backlash from the Paterno loyalists?

BL: You would assume that that would be the case, because there are some that don’t want to hear anything. But I think we’re being very journalistic: This is the information that in fact exists. We’re not making up these stories. This is what exists. You would hope that people can look at it, and realize that we’ve put quite a bit of time and research into it. This isn’t some kind of movie where we have an agenda—we’re trying to tell the story of the information as it laid out. That’s all you can do. You try to show the man in all lights, you know? In some ways, that’s the tragedy of it.

SI: This is your second based-on-a-true-story film for HBO in as many years; in 2017 you directed The Wizard of Lies, about Bernie Madoff. Do you see any overlap between Paterno and Madoff?

BL: They’re different characters. Bernie was less of a people person, quite removed. Paterno was warmer, more emotional. And with Paterno it’s more complicated. Some of the things he did, his beliefs in education, and all of these things in terms of character, and all of that stuff, that’s part of his legacy. And yet, how does he ignore these warnings—how does he ignore this information? How? Why? What happened? That’s what makes it interesting, the why.

SI: After watching the movie, it seems your answer as to the why is that he was preoccupied.

BL: It’s more complicated than that. The film is saying, yeah, he was preoccupied, but you can’t write it off as just being preoccupied. It’s way more complicated than that. I don’t know that we’re ever going to get the real answer to it.

SI: You’re a sports fan. Did making the movie lead you to any new thoughts about whether big-time sports and universities can coexist?

BL: There’s a lot at stake for these universities because college football generates so much money, and obviously that element has gotta impact on this situation. The administration, whether consciously or unconsciously, they knew a lot of this information and they looked to cover it up, because it represented a danger to the university on a bunch of levels. That’s what happens. A university is about students, when it’s all said and done. Period. It’s about education. That’s why they were built—they were built to educate. But with this amount of money involved, you can start to see how this happens. How do we cover this up? Maybe it will go away. You see these mechanics play out, as we show it.

SI: One of the most unpleasant (and dead-on) scenes is the movie is one in which a mob of Penn State students shows up at Paterno’s house and chants his name. Scott Paterno goes out and tries to get them to say a prayer for the victims, and all they do is start chanting his name.

BL: He was there forever; he was like the father to those students. Without them having all the information, they do this thing to protect the father. It’s obviously a misjudgment, but we do react emotionally before we react in a more thoughtful manner.

SI: Paterno is being released at a moment of great cultural reckoning surrounding silence and abuse—though it was shot before that moment was really underway. Does the #MeToo movement make you reevaluate anything about it?

BL: One of the points of the movie is, Look what happens when a voice is not heard. When the first victim stepped forward, if the authorities would have paid attention and done the necessary investigation, then nothing else would have happened beyond it. But it was ignored, and it becomes this scandal. The reason things are happening now is that so many people have been ignored for so long that it explodes.

<p>On March 31, it’ll be seven years since the <em>Patriot-News</em> of Harrisburg, Pa., ran a little-noticed story with this headline: “Jerry Sandusky, former Penn State football staffer, subject of grand jury investigation.” The investigation in question soon mushroomed, revealing sexual abuse dating back decades and a wide-ranging cover-up: Sandusky, the former Nittany Lions defensive coordinator, would be found guilty of molesting 10 boys; three university administrators would be sentenced to prison terms for child endangerment; and legendary head coach Joe Paterno would be fired, two months before dying from lung cancer, his honor comprehensively tarnished.</p><p>The heady two weeks that followed Sandusky’s Nov. 4, 2011 indictment are the subject of a new HBO movie, <em>Paterno</em>, which airs April 7. Al Pacino plays Paterno, and Oscar winner Barry Levinson (<em>The Natural</em>; <em>Rain Man</em>) directs. SI spoke with Levinson on Friday. <em>The following interview has been condensed and edited.</em></p><p>?</p><p><strong>SI</strong>: <em>The Penn State story is pretty fresh in a lot of people’s minds—why give it a fictional treatment now?</em></p><p><strong>Barry Levinson</strong>: I’m interested in what went wrong: What is the failure of the system and the people we look to as those in charge and those responsible? In this case, there wasn’t anyone more revered than Joe Paterno—the winningest coach in the history of football, the educator, the humanitarian. This all happened in his backyard. What went on? To me, that’s a perfect story, to ask, <em>Gee, what happened?</em> It’s not just some coach. This is a man who was honored and revered. <em>What happened? </em>You try to explore that and convey that to an audience. </p><p><strong>SI:</strong> <em>For a work of fiction, the movie hews surprisingly closely to the facts of the case.</em></p><p><strong>BL</strong>: We’re doing a film in a sense, which is taking place in the 35 minutes that he’s inside of an MRI machine, looking layer by layer at this man. But the story is really confined to the events of that two-week period, and so we had to do that, double-checking the dates and getting some factual information straight, with HBO and all these lawyers involved.</p><p>?</p><p><strong>SI:</strong> <em>A lot of the movie has to do with how Paterno’s family reacts to the scandal, and how harshly his children come to judge him after Paterno’s past inaction is revealed. I remember them at the time, though, serving as his strong defenders. How did you settle on that portrayal?</em></p><p>One of the many sources we used as research for this film is a book—<em><a href="https://www.amazon.com/Paterno-Joe-Posnanski/dp/1451657501" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Paterno" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Paterno</a>,</em> by Joe Posnanski—which is written by someone who was actually there and met with him. Because we’re dealing with the beginnings and with the shock of it all, they were surprised, obviously, and they’re trying to figure out what’s going on as the media is running all of these various stories. The book has some elements dealing with that section of time, and we based it off those.</p><p><strong>SI: </strong><em>One of the topics that is not explored in the movie (since it covers such a short period) is the contentious years-long battle over Paterno’s culpability and legacy. Your film comes down pretty firmly on the side that he should have done more to stop Sandusky—do you anticipate a backlash from the Paterno loyalists?</em></p><p><strong>BL</strong>: You would assume that that would be the case, because there are some that don’t want to hear anything. But I think we’re being very journalistic: This is the information that in fact exists. We’re not making up these stories. This is what exists. You would hope that people can look at it, and realize that we’ve put quite a bit of time and research into it. This isn’t some kind of movie where we have an agenda—we’re trying to tell the story of the information as it laid out. That’s all you can do. You try to show the man in all lights, you know? In some ways, that’s the tragedy of it.</p><p><strong>SI</strong>: <em>This is your second based-on-a-true-story film for HBO in as many years; in 2017 you directed </em>The Wizard of Lies<em>, </em><em>about Bernie Madoff. Do you see any overlap between Paterno and Madoff?</em></p><p><strong>BL</strong>: They’re different characters. Bernie was less of a people person, quite removed. Paterno was warmer, more emotional. And with Paterno it’s more complicated. Some of the things he did, his beliefs in education, and all of these things in terms of character, and all of that stuff, that’s part of his legacy. And yet, how does he ignore these warnings—how does he ignore this information? How? Why? What happened? That’s what makes it interesting, the why.</p><p><strong>SI</strong>: <em>After watching the movie, it seems your answer as to the why is that he was preoccupied.</em></p><p><strong>BL</strong>: It’s more complicated than that. The film is saying, yeah, he was preoccupied, but you can’t write it off as just being preoccupied. It’s way more complicated than that. I don’t know that we’re ever going to get the real answer to it.</p><p><strong>SI</strong>: <em>You’re a sports fan. Did making the movie lead you to any new thoughts about whether big-time sports and universities can coexist?</em></p><p><strong>BL</strong>: There’s a lot at stake for these universities because college football generates so much money, and obviously that element has gotta impact on this situation. The administration, whether consciously or unconsciously, they knew a lot of this information and they looked to cover it up, because it represented a danger to the university on a bunch of levels. That’s what happens. A university is about students, when it’s all said and done. Period. It’s about education. That’s why they were built—they were built to educate. But with this amount of money involved, you can start to see how this happens. <em>How do we cover this up? Maybe it will go away. </em>You see these mechanics play out, as we show it.</p><p><strong>SI</strong>: <em>One of the most unpleasant (and dead-on) scenes is the movie is one in which a mob of Penn State students shows up at Paterno’s house and chants his name. Scott Paterno goes out and tries to get them to say a prayer for the victims, and all they do is start chanting his name. </em></p><p><strong>BL</strong>: He was there forever; he was like the father to those students. Without them having all the information, they do this thing to protect the father. It’s obviously a misjudgment, but we do react emotionally before we react in a more thoughtful manner.</p><p><strong>SI</strong>: Paterno <em>is being released at a moment of great cultural reckoning surrounding silence and abuse—though it was shot before that moment was really underway. Does the #MeToo movement make you reevaluate anything about it?</em></p><p><strong>BL</strong>: One of the points of the movie is, <em>Look what happens when a voice is not heard</em>. When the first victim stepped forward, if the authorities would have paid attention and done the necessary investigation, then nothing else would have happened beyond it. But it was ignored, and it becomes this scandal. The reason things are happening now is that so many people have been ignored for so long that it explodes.</p>
Inside the Making of the New HBO Movie, 'Paterno'

On March 31, it’ll be seven years since the Patriot-News of Harrisburg, Pa., ran a little-noticed story with this headline: “Jerry Sandusky, former Penn State football staffer, subject of grand jury investigation.” The investigation in question soon mushroomed, revealing sexual abuse dating back decades and a wide-ranging cover-up: Sandusky, the former Nittany Lions defensive coordinator, would be found guilty of molesting 10 boys; three university administrators would be sentenced to prison terms for child endangerment; and legendary head coach Joe Paterno would be fired, two months before dying from lung cancer, his honor comprehensively tarnished.

The heady two weeks that followed Sandusky’s Nov. 4, 2011 indictment are the subject of a new HBO movie, Paterno, which airs April 7. Al Pacino plays Paterno, and Oscar winner Barry Levinson (The Natural; Rain Man) directs. SI spoke with Levinson on Friday. The following interview has been condensed and edited.

?

SI: The Penn State story is pretty fresh in a lot of people’s minds—why give it a fictional treatment now?

Barry Levinson: I’m interested in what went wrong: What is the failure of the system and the people we look to as those in charge and those responsible? In this case, there wasn’t anyone more revered than Joe Paterno—the winningest coach in the history of football, the educator, the humanitarian. This all happened in his backyard. What went on? To me, that’s a perfect story, to ask, Gee, what happened? It’s not just some coach. This is a man who was honored and revered. What happened? You try to explore that and convey that to an audience.

SI: For a work of fiction, the movie hews surprisingly closely to the facts of the case.

BL: We’re doing a film in a sense, which is taking place in the 35 minutes that he’s inside of an MRI machine, looking layer by layer at this man. But the story is really confined to the events of that two-week period, and so we had to do that, double-checking the dates and getting some factual information straight, with HBO and all these lawyers involved.

?

SI: A lot of the movie has to do with how Paterno’s family reacts to the scandal, and how harshly his children come to judge him after Paterno’s past inaction is revealed. I remember them at the time, though, serving as his strong defenders. How did you settle on that portrayal?

One of the many sources we used as research for this film is a book—Paterno, by Joe Posnanski—which is written by someone who was actually there and met with him. Because we’re dealing with the beginnings and with the shock of it all, they were surprised, obviously, and they’re trying to figure out what’s going on as the media is running all of these various stories. The book has some elements dealing with that section of time, and we based it off those.

SI: One of the topics that is not explored in the movie (since it covers such a short period) is the contentious years-long battle over Paterno’s culpability and legacy. Your film comes down pretty firmly on the side that he should have done more to stop Sandusky—do you anticipate a backlash from the Paterno loyalists?

BL: You would assume that that would be the case, because there are some that don’t want to hear anything. But I think we’re being very journalistic: This is the information that in fact exists. We’re not making up these stories. This is what exists. You would hope that people can look at it, and realize that we’ve put quite a bit of time and research into it. This isn’t some kind of movie where we have an agenda—we’re trying to tell the story of the information as it laid out. That’s all you can do. You try to show the man in all lights, you know? In some ways, that’s the tragedy of it.

SI: This is your second based-on-a-true-story film for HBO in as many years; in 2017 you directed The Wizard of Lies, about Bernie Madoff. Do you see any overlap between Paterno and Madoff?

BL: They’re different characters. Bernie was less of a people person, quite removed. Paterno was warmer, more emotional. And with Paterno it’s more complicated. Some of the things he did, his beliefs in education, and all of these things in terms of character, and all of that stuff, that’s part of his legacy. And yet, how does he ignore these warnings—how does he ignore this information? How? Why? What happened? That’s what makes it interesting, the why.

SI: After watching the movie, it seems your answer as to the why is that he was preoccupied.

BL: It’s more complicated than that. The film is saying, yeah, he was preoccupied, but you can’t write it off as just being preoccupied. It’s way more complicated than that. I don’t know that we’re ever going to get the real answer to it.

SI: You’re a sports fan. Did making the movie lead you to any new thoughts about whether big-time sports and universities can coexist?

BL: There’s a lot at stake for these universities because college football generates so much money, and obviously that element has gotta impact on this situation. The administration, whether consciously or unconsciously, they knew a lot of this information and they looked to cover it up, because it represented a danger to the university on a bunch of levels. That’s what happens. A university is about students, when it’s all said and done. Period. It’s about education. That’s why they were built—they were built to educate. But with this amount of money involved, you can start to see how this happens. How do we cover this up? Maybe it will go away. You see these mechanics play out, as we show it.

SI: One of the most unpleasant (and dead-on) scenes is the movie is one in which a mob of Penn State students shows up at Paterno’s house and chants his name. Scott Paterno goes out and tries to get them to say a prayer for the victims, and all they do is start chanting his name.

BL: He was there forever; he was like the father to those students. Without them having all the information, they do this thing to protect the father. It’s obviously a misjudgment, but we do react emotionally before we react in a more thoughtful manner.

SI: Paterno is being released at a moment of great cultural reckoning surrounding silence and abuse—though it was shot before that moment was really underway. Does the #MeToo movement make you reevaluate anything about it?

BL: One of the points of the movie is, Look what happens when a voice is not heard. When the first victim stepped forward, if the authorities would have paid attention and done the necessary investigation, then nothing else would have happened beyond it. But it was ignored, and it becomes this scandal. The reason things are happening now is that so many people have been ignored for so long that it explodes.

<p>On March 31, it’ll be seven years since the <em>Patriot-News</em> of Harrisburg, Pa., ran a little-noticed story with this headline: “Jerry Sandusky, former Penn State football staffer, subject of grand jury investigation.” The investigation in question soon mushroomed, revealing sexual abuse dating back decades and a wide-ranging cover-up: Sandusky, the former Nittany Lions defensive coordinator, would be found guilty of molesting 10 boys; three university administrators would be sentenced to prison terms for child endangerment; and legendary head coach Joe Paterno would be fired, two months before dying from lung cancer, his honor comprehensively tarnished.</p><p>The heady two weeks that followed Sandusky’s Nov. 4, 2011 indictment are the subject of a new HBO movie, <em>Paterno</em>, which airs April 7. Al Pacino plays Paterno, and Oscar winner Barry Levinson (<em>The Natural</em>; <em>Rain Man</em>) directs. SI spoke with Levinson on Friday. <em>The following interview has been condensed and edited.</em></p><p>?</p><p><strong>SI</strong>: <em>The Penn State story is pretty fresh in a lot of people’s minds—why give it a fictional treatment now?</em></p><p><strong>Barry Levinson</strong>: I’m interested in what went wrong: What is the failure of the system and the people we look to as those in charge and those responsible? In this case, there wasn’t anyone more revered than Joe Paterno—the winningest coach in the history of football, the educator, the humanitarian. This all happened in his backyard. What went on? To me, that’s a perfect story, to ask, <em>Gee, what happened?</em> It’s not just some coach. This is a man who was honored and revered. <em>What happened? </em>You try to explore that and convey that to an audience. </p><p><strong>SI:</strong> <em>For a work of fiction, the movie hews surprisingly closely to the facts of the case.</em></p><p><strong>BL</strong>: We’re doing a film in a sense, which is taking place in the 35 minutes that he’s inside of an MRI machine, looking layer by layer at this man. But the story is really confined to the events of that two-week period, and so we had to do that, double-checking the dates and getting some factual information straight, with HBO and all these lawyers involved.</p><p>?</p><p><strong>SI:</strong> <em>A lot of the movie has to do with how Paterno’s family reacts to the scandal, and how harshly his children come to judge him after Paterno’s past inaction is revealed. I remember them at the time, though, serving as his strong defenders. How did you settle on that portrayal?</em></p><p>One of the many sources we used as research for this film is a book—<em><a href="https://www.amazon.com/Paterno-Joe-Posnanski/dp/1451657501" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Paterno" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Paterno</a>,</em> by Joe Posnanski—which is written by someone who was actually there and met with him. Because we’re dealing with the beginnings and with the shock of it all, they were surprised, obviously, and they’re trying to figure out what’s going on as the media is running all of these various stories. The book has some elements dealing with that section of time, and we based it off those.</p><p><strong>SI: </strong><em>One of the topics that is not explored in the movie (since it covers such a short period) is the contentious years-long battle over Paterno’s culpability and legacy. Your film comes down pretty firmly on the side that he should have done more to stop Sandusky—do you anticipate a backlash from the Paterno loyalists?</em></p><p><strong>BL</strong>: You would assume that that would be the case, because there are some that don’t want to hear anything. But I think we’re being very journalistic: This is the information that in fact exists. We’re not making up these stories. This is what exists. You would hope that people can look at it, and realize that we’ve put quite a bit of time and research into it. This isn’t some kind of movie where we have an agenda—we’re trying to tell the story of the information as it laid out. That’s all you can do. You try to show the man in all lights, you know? In some ways, that’s the tragedy of it.</p><p><strong>SI</strong>: <em>This is your second based-on-a-true-story film for HBO in as many years; in 2017 you directed </em>The Wizard of Lies<em>, </em><em>about Bernie Madoff. Do you see any overlap between Paterno and Madoff?</em></p><p><strong>BL</strong>: They’re different characters. Bernie was less of a people person, quite removed. Paterno was warmer, more emotional. And with Paterno it’s more complicated. Some of the things he did, his beliefs in education, and all of these things in terms of character, and all of that stuff, that’s part of his legacy. And yet, how does he ignore these warnings—how does he ignore this information? How? Why? What happened? That’s what makes it interesting, the why.</p><p><strong>SI</strong>: <em>After watching the movie, it seems your answer as to the why is that he was preoccupied.</em></p><p><strong>BL</strong>: It’s more complicated than that. The film is saying, yeah, he was preoccupied, but you can’t write it off as just being preoccupied. It’s way more complicated than that. I don’t know that we’re ever going to get the real answer to it.</p><p><strong>SI</strong>: <em>You’re a sports fan. Did making the movie lead you to any new thoughts about whether big-time sports and universities can coexist?</em></p><p><strong>BL</strong>: There’s a lot at stake for these universities because college football generates so much money, and obviously that element has gotta impact on this situation. The administration, whether consciously or unconsciously, they knew a lot of this information and they looked to cover it up, because it represented a danger to the university on a bunch of levels. That’s what happens. A university is about students, when it’s all said and done. Period. It’s about education. That’s why they were built—they were built to educate. But with this amount of money involved, you can start to see how this happens. <em>How do we cover this up? Maybe it will go away. </em>You see these mechanics play out, as we show it.</p><p><strong>SI</strong>: <em>One of the most unpleasant (and dead-on) scenes is the movie is one in which a mob of Penn State students shows up at Paterno’s house and chants his name. Scott Paterno goes out and tries to get them to say a prayer for the victims, and all they do is start chanting his name. </em></p><p><strong>BL</strong>: He was there forever; he was like the father to those students. Without them having all the information, they do this thing to protect the father. It’s obviously a misjudgment, but we do react emotionally before we react in a more thoughtful manner.</p><p><strong>SI</strong>: Paterno <em>is being released at a moment of great cultural reckoning surrounding silence and abuse—though it was shot before that moment was really underway. Does the #MeToo movement make you reevaluate anything about it?</em></p><p><strong>BL</strong>: One of the points of the movie is, <em>Look what happens when a voice is not heard</em>. When the first victim stepped forward, if the authorities would have paid attention and done the necessary investigation, then nothing else would have happened beyond it. But it was ignored, and it becomes this scandal. The reason things are happening now is that so many people have been ignored for so long that it explodes.</p>
Inside the Making of the New HBO Movie, 'Paterno'

On March 31, it’ll be seven years since the Patriot-News of Harrisburg, Pa., ran a little-noticed story with this headline: “Jerry Sandusky, former Penn State football staffer, subject of grand jury investigation.” The investigation in question soon mushroomed, revealing sexual abuse dating back decades and a wide-ranging cover-up: Sandusky, the former Nittany Lions defensive coordinator, would be found guilty of molesting 10 boys; three university administrators would be sentenced to prison terms for child endangerment; and legendary head coach Joe Paterno would be fired, two months before dying from lung cancer, his honor comprehensively tarnished.

The heady two weeks that followed Sandusky’s Nov. 4, 2011 indictment are the subject of a new HBO movie, Paterno, which airs April 7. Al Pacino plays Paterno, and Oscar winner Barry Levinson (The Natural; Rain Man) directs. SI spoke with Levinson on Friday. The following interview has been condensed and edited.

?

SI: The Penn State story is pretty fresh in a lot of people’s minds—why give it a fictional treatment now?

Barry Levinson: I’m interested in what went wrong: What is the failure of the system and the people we look to as those in charge and those responsible? In this case, there wasn’t anyone more revered than Joe Paterno—the winningest coach in the history of football, the educator, the humanitarian. This all happened in his backyard. What went on? To me, that’s a perfect story, to ask, Gee, what happened? It’s not just some coach. This is a man who was honored and revered. What happened? You try to explore that and convey that to an audience.

SI: For a work of fiction, the movie hews surprisingly closely to the facts of the case.

BL: We’re doing a film in a sense, which is taking place in the 35 minutes that he’s inside of an MRI machine, looking layer by layer at this man. But the story is really confined to the events of that two-week period, and so we had to do that, double-checking the dates and getting some factual information straight, with HBO and all these lawyers involved.

?

SI: A lot of the movie has to do with how Paterno’s family reacts to the scandal, and how harshly his children come to judge him after Paterno’s past inaction is revealed. I remember them at the time, though, serving as his strong defenders. How did you settle on that portrayal?

One of the many sources we used as research for this film is a book—Paterno, by Joe Posnanski—which is written by someone who was actually there and met with him. Because we’re dealing with the beginnings and with the shock of it all, they were surprised, obviously, and they’re trying to figure out what’s going on as the media is running all of these various stories. The book has some elements dealing with that section of time, and we based it off those.

SI: One of the topics that is not explored in the movie (since it covers such a short period) is the contentious years-long battle over Paterno’s culpability and legacy. Your film comes down pretty firmly on the side that he should have done more to stop Sandusky—do you anticipate a backlash from the Paterno loyalists?

BL: You would assume that that would be the case, because there are some that don’t want to hear anything. But I think we’re being very journalistic: This is the information that in fact exists. We’re not making up these stories. This is what exists. You would hope that people can look at it, and realize that we’ve put quite a bit of time and research into it. This isn’t some kind of movie where we have an agenda—we’re trying to tell the story of the information as it laid out. That’s all you can do. You try to show the man in all lights, you know? In some ways, that’s the tragedy of it.

SI: This is your second based-on-a-true-story film for HBO in as many years; in 2017 you directed The Wizard of Lies, about Bernie Madoff. Do you see any overlap between Paterno and Madoff?

BL: They’re different characters. Bernie was less of a people person, quite removed. Paterno was warmer, more emotional. And with Paterno it’s more complicated. Some of the things he did, his beliefs in education, and all of these things in terms of character, and all of that stuff, that’s part of his legacy. And yet, how does he ignore these warnings—how does he ignore this information? How? Why? What happened? That’s what makes it interesting, the why.

SI: After watching the movie, it seems your answer as to the why is that he was preoccupied.

BL: It’s more complicated than that. The film is saying, yeah, he was preoccupied, but you can’t write it off as just being preoccupied. It’s way more complicated than that. I don’t know that we’re ever going to get the real answer to it.

SI: You’re a sports fan. Did making the movie lead you to any new thoughts about whether big-time sports and universities can coexist?

BL: There’s a lot at stake for these universities because college football generates so much money, and obviously that element has gotta impact on this situation. The administration, whether consciously or unconsciously, they knew a lot of this information and they looked to cover it up, because it represented a danger to the university on a bunch of levels. That’s what happens. A university is about students, when it’s all said and done. Period. It’s about education. That’s why they were built—they were built to educate. But with this amount of money involved, you can start to see how this happens. How do we cover this up? Maybe it will go away. You see these mechanics play out, as we show it.

SI: One of the most unpleasant (and dead-on) scenes is the movie is one in which a mob of Penn State students shows up at Paterno’s house and chants his name. Scott Paterno goes out and tries to get them to say a prayer for the victims, and all they do is start chanting his name.

BL: He was there forever; he was like the father to those students. Without them having all the information, they do this thing to protect the father. It’s obviously a misjudgment, but we do react emotionally before we react in a more thoughtful manner.

SI: Paterno is being released at a moment of great cultural reckoning surrounding silence and abuse—though it was shot before that moment was really underway. Does the #MeToo movement make you reevaluate anything about it?

BL: One of the points of the movie is, Look what happens when a voice is not heard. When the first victim stepped forward, if the authorities would have paid attention and done the necessary investigation, then nothing else would have happened beyond it. But it was ignored, and it becomes this scandal. The reason things are happening now is that so many people have been ignored for so long that it explodes.

<p>On March 31, it’ll be seven years since the <em>Patriot-News</em> of Harrisburg, Pa., ran a little-noticed story with this headline: “Jerry Sandusky, former Penn State football staffer, subject of grand jury investigation.” The investigation in question soon mushroomed, revealing sexual abuse dating back decades and a wide-ranging cover-up: Sandusky, the former Nittany Lions defensive coordinator, would be found guilty of molesting 10 boys; three university administrators would be sentenced to prison terms for child endangerment; and legendary head coach Joe Paterno would be fired, two months before dying from lung cancer, his honor comprehensively tarnished.</p><p>The heady two weeks that followed Sandusky’s Nov. 4, 2011 indictment are the subject of a new HBO movie, <em>Paterno</em>, which airs April 7. Al Pacino plays Paterno, and Oscar winner Barry Levinson (<em>The Natural</em>; <em>Rain Man</em>) directs. SI spoke with Levinson on Friday. <em>The following interview has been condensed and edited.</em></p><p>?</p><p><strong>SI</strong>: <em>The Penn State story is pretty fresh in a lot of people’s minds—why give it a fictional treatment now?</em></p><p><strong>Barry Levinson</strong>: I’m interested in what went wrong: What is the failure of the system and the people we look to as those in charge and those responsible? In this case, there wasn’t anyone more revered than Joe Paterno—the winningest coach in the history of football, the educator, the humanitarian. This all happened in his backyard. What went on? To me, that’s a perfect story, to ask, <em>Gee, what happened?</em> It’s not just some coach. This is a man who was honored and revered. <em>What happened? </em>You try to explore that and convey that to an audience. </p><p><strong>SI:</strong> <em>For a work of fiction, the movie hews surprisingly closely to the facts of the case.</em></p><p><strong>BL</strong>: We’re doing a film in a sense, which is taking place in the 35 minutes that he’s inside of an MRI machine, looking layer by layer at this man. But the story is really confined to the events of that two-week period, and so we had to do that, double-checking the dates and getting some factual information straight, with HBO and all these lawyers involved.</p><p>?</p><p><strong>SI:</strong> <em>A lot of the movie has to do with how Paterno’s family reacts to the scandal, and how harshly his children come to judge him after Paterno’s past inaction is revealed. I remember them at the time, though, serving as his strong defenders. How did you settle on that portrayal?</em></p><p>One of the many sources we used as research for this film is a book—<em><a href="https://www.amazon.com/Paterno-Joe-Posnanski/dp/1451657501" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Paterno" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Paterno</a>,</em> by Joe Posnanski—which is written by someone who was actually there and met with him. Because we’re dealing with the beginnings and with the shock of it all, they were surprised, obviously, and they’re trying to figure out what’s going on as the media is running all of these various stories. The book has some elements dealing with that section of time, and we based it off those.</p><p><strong>SI: </strong><em>One of the topics that is not explored in the movie (since it covers such a short period) is the contentious years-long battle over Paterno’s culpability and legacy. Your film comes down pretty firmly on the side that he should have done more to stop Sandusky—do you anticipate a backlash from the Paterno loyalists?</em></p><p><strong>BL</strong>: You would assume that that would be the case, because there are some that don’t want to hear anything. But I think we’re being very journalistic: This is the information that in fact exists. We’re not making up these stories. This is what exists. You would hope that people can look at it, and realize that we’ve put quite a bit of time and research into it. This isn’t some kind of movie where we have an agenda—we’re trying to tell the story of the information as it laid out. That’s all you can do. You try to show the man in all lights, you know? In some ways, that’s the tragedy of it.</p><p><strong>SI</strong>: <em>This is your second based-on-a-true-story film for HBO in as many years; in 2017 you directed </em>The Wizard of Lies<em>, </em><em>about Bernie Madoff. Do you see any overlap between Paterno and Madoff?</em></p><p><strong>BL</strong>: They’re different characters. Bernie was less of a people person, quite removed. Paterno was warmer, more emotional. And with Paterno it’s more complicated. Some of the things he did, his beliefs in education, and all of these things in terms of character, and all of that stuff, that’s part of his legacy. And yet, how does he ignore these warnings—how does he ignore this information? How? Why? What happened? That’s what makes it interesting, the why.</p><p><strong>SI</strong>: <em>After watching the movie, it seems your answer as to the why is that he was preoccupied.</em></p><p><strong>BL</strong>: It’s more complicated than that. The film is saying, yeah, he was preoccupied, but you can’t write it off as just being preoccupied. It’s way more complicated than that. I don’t know that we’re ever going to get the real answer to it.</p><p><strong>SI</strong>: <em>You’re a sports fan. Did making the movie lead you to any new thoughts about whether big-time sports and universities can coexist?</em></p><p><strong>BL</strong>: There’s a lot at stake for these universities because college football generates so much money, and obviously that element has gotta impact on this situation. The administration, whether consciously or unconsciously, they knew a lot of this information and they looked to cover it up, because it represented a danger to the university on a bunch of levels. That’s what happens. A university is about students, when it’s all said and done. Period. It’s about education. That’s why they were built—they were built to educate. But with this amount of money involved, you can start to see how this happens. <em>How do we cover this up? Maybe it will go away. </em>You see these mechanics play out, as we show it.</p><p><strong>SI</strong>: <em>One of the most unpleasant (and dead-on) scenes is the movie is one in which a mob of Penn State students shows up at Paterno’s house and chants his name. Scott Paterno goes out and tries to get them to say a prayer for the victims, and all they do is start chanting his name. </em></p><p><strong>BL</strong>: He was there forever; he was like the father to those students. Without them having all the information, they do this thing to protect the father. It’s obviously a misjudgment, but we do react emotionally before we react in a more thoughtful manner.</p><p><strong>SI</strong>: Paterno <em>is being released at a moment of great cultural reckoning surrounding silence and abuse—though it was shot before that moment was really underway. Does the #MeToo movement make you reevaluate anything about it?</em></p><p><strong>BL</strong>: One of the points of the movie is, <em>Look what happens when a voice is not heard</em>. When the first victim stepped forward, if the authorities would have paid attention and done the necessary investigation, then nothing else would have happened beyond it. But it was ignored, and it becomes this scandal. The reason things are happening now is that so many people have been ignored for so long that it explodes.</p>
Inside the Making of the New HBO Movie, 'Paterno'

On March 31, it’ll be seven years since the Patriot-News of Harrisburg, Pa., ran a little-noticed story with this headline: “Jerry Sandusky, former Penn State football staffer, subject of grand jury investigation.” The investigation in question soon mushroomed, revealing sexual abuse dating back decades and a wide-ranging cover-up: Sandusky, the former Nittany Lions defensive coordinator, would be found guilty of molesting 10 boys; three university administrators would be sentenced to prison terms for child endangerment; and legendary head coach Joe Paterno would be fired, two months before dying from lung cancer, his honor comprehensively tarnished.

The heady two weeks that followed Sandusky’s Nov. 4, 2011 indictment are the subject of a new HBO movie, Paterno, which airs April 7. Al Pacino plays Paterno, and Oscar winner Barry Levinson (The Natural; Rain Man) directs. SI spoke with Levinson on Friday. The following interview has been condensed and edited.

?

SI: The Penn State story is pretty fresh in a lot of people’s minds—why give it a fictional treatment now?

Barry Levinson: I’m interested in what went wrong: What is the failure of the system and the people we look to as those in charge and those responsible? In this case, there wasn’t anyone more revered than Joe Paterno—the winningest coach in the history of football, the educator, the humanitarian. This all happened in his backyard. What went on? To me, that’s a perfect story, to ask, Gee, what happened? It’s not just some coach. This is a man who was honored and revered. What happened? You try to explore that and convey that to an audience.

SI: For a work of fiction, the movie hews surprisingly closely to the facts of the case.

BL: We’re doing a film in a sense, which is taking place in the 35 minutes that he’s inside of an MRI machine, looking layer by layer at this man. But the story is really confined to the events of that two-week period, and so we had to do that, double-checking the dates and getting some factual information straight, with HBO and all these lawyers involved.

?

SI: A lot of the movie has to do with how Paterno’s family reacts to the scandal, and how harshly his children come to judge him after Paterno’s past inaction is revealed. I remember them at the time, though, serving as his strong defenders. How did you settle on that portrayal?

One of the many sources we used as research for this film is a book—Paterno, by Joe Posnanski—which is written by someone who was actually there and met with him. Because we’re dealing with the beginnings and with the shock of it all, they were surprised, obviously, and they’re trying to figure out what’s going on as the media is running all of these various stories. The book has some elements dealing with that section of time, and we based it off those.

SI: One of the topics that is not explored in the movie (since it covers such a short period) is the contentious years-long battle over Paterno’s culpability and legacy. Your film comes down pretty firmly on the side that he should have done more to stop Sandusky—do you anticipate a backlash from the Paterno loyalists?

BL: You would assume that that would be the case, because there are some that don’t want to hear anything. But I think we’re being very journalistic: This is the information that in fact exists. We’re not making up these stories. This is what exists. You would hope that people can look at it, and realize that we’ve put quite a bit of time and research into it. This isn’t some kind of movie where we have an agenda—we’re trying to tell the story of the information as it laid out. That’s all you can do. You try to show the man in all lights, you know? In some ways, that’s the tragedy of it.

SI: This is your second based-on-a-true-story film for HBO in as many years; in 2017 you directed The Wizard of Lies, about Bernie Madoff. Do you see any overlap between Paterno and Madoff?

BL: They’re different characters. Bernie was less of a people person, quite removed. Paterno was warmer, more emotional. And with Paterno it’s more complicated. Some of the things he did, his beliefs in education, and all of these things in terms of character, and all of that stuff, that’s part of his legacy. And yet, how does he ignore these warnings—how does he ignore this information? How? Why? What happened? That’s what makes it interesting, the why.

SI: After watching the movie, it seems your answer as to the why is that he was preoccupied.

BL: It’s more complicated than that. The film is saying, yeah, he was preoccupied, but you can’t write it off as just being preoccupied. It’s way more complicated than that. I don’t know that we’re ever going to get the real answer to it.

SI: You’re a sports fan. Did making the movie lead you to any new thoughts about whether big-time sports and universities can coexist?

BL: There’s a lot at stake for these universities because college football generates so much money, and obviously that element has gotta impact on this situation. The administration, whether consciously or unconsciously, they knew a lot of this information and they looked to cover it up, because it represented a danger to the university on a bunch of levels. That’s what happens. A university is about students, when it’s all said and done. Period. It’s about education. That’s why they were built—they were built to educate. But with this amount of money involved, you can start to see how this happens. How do we cover this up? Maybe it will go away. You see these mechanics play out, as we show it.

SI: One of the most unpleasant (and dead-on) scenes is the movie is one in which a mob of Penn State students shows up at Paterno’s house and chants his name. Scott Paterno goes out and tries to get them to say a prayer for the victims, and all they do is start chanting his name.

BL: He was there forever; he was like the father to those students. Without them having all the information, they do this thing to protect the father. It’s obviously a misjudgment, but we do react emotionally before we react in a more thoughtful manner.

SI: Paterno is being released at a moment of great cultural reckoning surrounding silence and abuse—though it was shot before that moment was really underway. Does the #MeToo movement make you reevaluate anything about it?

BL: One of the points of the movie is, Look what happens when a voice is not heard. When the first victim stepped forward, if the authorities would have paid attention and done the necessary investigation, then nothing else would have happened beyond it. But it was ignored, and it becomes this scandal. The reason things are happening now is that so many people have been ignored for so long that it explodes.

HBO announces premiere date, releases extended trailer for Joe Paterno movie
HBO announces premiere date, releases extended trailer for Joe Paterno movie
HBO announces premiere date, releases extended trailer for Joe Paterno movie
<p>Six weeks before it is set to premiere, HBO has released the full trailer for its film <em>Paterno</em> about the Penn State Jerry Sandusky child abuse scandal starring Al Pacino. </p><p>Pacino plays disgraced former Nittany Lions head coach Joe Paterno in the movie, which will premiere on April 7. </p><p>The film also features Kathy Baker as Paterno’s wife, Sue, Jim Johnson as Sandusky and Riley Keough as Sara Ganim, the reporter for <em>The Patriot-News</em> who broke the Sandusky story.</p><p>Paterno was fired in November 2011 as the scandal grew and died of lung cancer in January 2012. </p><p>New evidence unearthed in September by CNN suggests <a href="https://www.si.com/college-football/2017/09/09/joe-paterno-penn-state-football-jerry-sandusky-abuse" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Paterno was more complicit in Sandusky’s crimes than initially believed" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Paterno was more complicit in Sandusky’s crimes than initially believed</a>. When whistleblower Mike McQueary told Paterno he’d seen Sandusky raping a boy in a Penn State shower Paterno said it was the second such complaint he’d heard about Sandusky, according to a police report. Paterno had previously said that he hadn’t known of Sandusky’s actions before McQueary’s complaint. </p>
HBO Releases Full Trailer for ‘Paterno’ Movie, Announces Release Date

Six weeks before it is set to premiere, HBO has released the full trailer for its film Paterno about the Penn State Jerry Sandusky child abuse scandal starring Al Pacino.

Pacino plays disgraced former Nittany Lions head coach Joe Paterno in the movie, which will premiere on April 7.

The film also features Kathy Baker as Paterno’s wife, Sue, Jim Johnson as Sandusky and Riley Keough as Sara Ganim, the reporter for The Patriot-News who broke the Sandusky story.

Paterno was fired in November 2011 as the scandal grew and died of lung cancer in January 2012.

New evidence unearthed in September by CNN suggests Paterno was more complicit in Sandusky’s crimes than initially believed. When whistleblower Mike McQueary told Paterno he’d seen Sandusky raping a boy in a Penn State shower Paterno said it was the second such complaint he’d heard about Sandusky, according to a police report. Paterno had previously said that he hadn’t known of Sandusky’s actions before McQueary’s complaint.

<p><em>The MMQB is on the road to Super Bowl 52. Follow along on <a href="https://twitter.com/theMMQB" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Twitter" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Twitter</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/TheMMQB/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Facebook" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Facebook</a> and <a href="https://www.instagram.com/themmqb/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Instagram" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Instagram</a> and find <a href="https://www.si.com/column/Road+to+Super+Bowl+52" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:all of our road trip content here" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">all of our road trip content here</a>.</em></p><p>DETROIT — The only sign that this was once a football field, let alone one that produced a player headed for the Super Bowl, is a solitary goalpost. It’s standing alone in a city park that’s more dirt than grass, covered with goose droppings and discarded tires, just off I-75 about a mile from Ford Field. Even when football was played here, the grass was mostly gone before football season; at the 2-yard line was a block of cement, the leftover base of an old pole, which they’d push some dirt on top of every time they took the field.</p><p>This was the old site of Crockett Tech High School, the school itself consisting of a portable trailer. In the afternoons, students would walk across the parking lot to take classes at the adjacent vo-tech center. There were no lights surrounding the dirt field, so football games were usually played at 3:30 p.m.; when practices ran past sunset as the fall days grew shorter, parents would help light the field with the headlights of their cars.</p><p>“This produced teachers, lawyers, accountants, a host of college players, NFL players … from a trailer park,” says Tim Hopkins, a former associate head coach and defensive coordinator for Crockett, gesturing out over on the field on a Saturday morning in January. “The little engine that could. That was the backdrop for where Brandon Graham played.”</p><p>Graham is now a pillar of an Eagles team riding its underdog status to Super Bowl LII, a playmaking defensive end who has lent both his ability (9.5 sacks) and his mentality to a team that hasn’t been favored to win any game this postseason. Years earlier, Graham was the heart of another underdog squad—the Crockett Rockets. Most of his old field is gone now, the space mostly occupied by an indoor cycling track. But enough remains for it to be a time capsule of the years that helped produce one of the most impactful Eagles players.</p><p>“Wow,” Graham wrote in reply to a photo of the field posted on The MMQB’s Instagram stories, “that brought back memories right there.”</p><p>Crockett had been open less than 10 years when Graham enrolled in 2002; its football program had only been around six years. In Detroit, many ninth-graders choose to still play with their little league teams. But as a freshman, Graham had long since outgrown the level of competition of the Eastside Giants. After his father, Darrick Walton, brought him to meet with the high school coaches, Graham joined Crockett’s varsity squad.</p><p>A high school operating out of a trailer certainly didn’t have football facilities. Players changed for practices and games in a hallway located in the basement of the middle school next door. They had a few rows of bleachers around the field, but no way to fence them off, so they couldn’t charge admission for the games.</p><p>“Today’s players would never survive what he had to go through just a little over 10 years ago,” says Rod Oden, an assistant who took over as Crockett’s head coach for Graham’s senior season.</p><p>The roster was thin, around 25 players, barely enough to run 11-on-11 drills in practice. Everyone played both ways. Graham was a middle linebacker, offensive guard, placekicker and punter. Knowing opponents would be afraid to tackle him, the coaches would wink his direction when they wanted to send him on a fake punt. It’s an impossible stat to verify now, but Hopkins reports that Graham scored on the fakes “about 98% of the time.”</p><p>Crockett’s fledgling football program didn’t attract top colleges early on. Hopkins jokes that the recruiters from bigtime programs would get off I-75 to go to the McDonald’s catty-cornered to Crockett, then get back on the interstate and drive off to Cass Tech or King High School, the more established programs nearby with better resources. By the time Graham got there, that was just beginning to change. There was a group of D1 recruits a few years ahead of him; Hopkins recalls the late Joe Paterno sitting in a tiny room in that infamous Crockett trailer pitching a defensive lineman named Ed Johnson to come to Penn State. A few years later, Michigan’s Lloyd Carr came calling for Graham.</p><p>Graham blossomed into the top-ranked player in the state his junior season, a 6' 2", 240-pound linebacker who could out-run most of the running backs they faced (he would later be clocked at 4.43 seconds in the 40-yard dash at a Nike summer camp). The Crockett coaches had a policy that each season the players had to earn the “C” they wore on their helmets, by meeting certain performance or effort benchmarks. These were marks Graham would easily meet, but one year, he told his teammates that neither he nor anyone else on defense would wear the emblem until everyone earned it. So for the first couple games of the season, the best high-school player in Michigan played with a blank helmet.</p><p>In 2004, Graham led Crockett to an undefeated regular season and the school’s first Detroit Public School League title (they went on to lose to powerhouse Jackson Lumen Christi in the state semifinals). The areas where Crockett lacked, they used as motivation and found ways to compensate. That sounds a lot like Graham’s current team, which has overcome the loss of a starting quarterback, starting left tackle, top linebacker, most versatile running back, core special-teamer, etc., to nonetheless reach the Super Bowl.</p><p>“I remember the grind and how we were a tight-knit family because of the numbers we had at Crockett,” Graham wrote over social media. “It taught me to appreciate everything because we didn’t have much, but we maximized what we had to accomplish so much.”</p><p>Crockett relocated to an old middle school building for Graham’s senior year, and closed its doors altogether in 2012. That building now stands vacant and overgrown, a visible reminder of Detroit’s struggling public school system. Nearby in the east Detroit neighborhood where Graham grew up, though, is East English Preparatory Academy, which opened after Crockett closed and is where Oden now coaches.</p><p>Graham never walked these hallways, but the school is a few blocks from where he used to live, and he makes a point to visit several times a year. He hosts summer sports camps for both boys and girls with his wife, Carlyne, whom he met at Crockett; he’ll sometimes even work out with the football players in their gym where not all the dumbbells have a match. A few years ago, Graham surprised the East English team with new home and away uniforms; last year, he donated 60 helmets from Xenith, a Detroit-based company that has produced several of the top-performing helmets on the market.</p><p>“Brandon doesn’t fill up his camps with the kids that are super studs,” Oden says. “He wants the kids who will sign up on their own, get up at 8 a.m. and come here and give a great effort, regardless of skill level.”</p><p>Graham didn’t enter the NFL as an underdog, but when the first-round draft pick out of Michigan in 2010 struggled with injuries and scheme changes his first few years in the league, he took on the “bust” label as a personal challenge. He’s flourished the past two seasons as a 4-3 defensive end in Jim Schwartz’s system, but that proverbial chip on his shoulder that he’s carried in different ways his entire career is quite befitting of an Eagles team that cut through the NFC playoffs as a rare home ‘dog.</p><p>This weekend, against Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and the heavily favored, five-time champion New England Patriots, Graham's former coaches are expecting to see that old Crockett mindset rear itself in the trenches. Hopkins got choked up while pulling up to that old Crockett field where the players would run so hard the goose droppings would become mulch and they’d go home after practices and games with dirt in their noses.</p><p>“New England in Brandon’s mind is like playing King or Cass,” Hopkins says. “There’s so much synergy in the fact that the Eagles are using that underdog mantra to catapult themselves to the Super Bowl. That team is taking on the façade of a Crockett team.”</p><p>Graham, who was back in Philadelphia preparing for the team’s charter flight to Minneapolis, agreed with this premise. “That’s exactly right,” he wrote. Graham and the Eagles know that if they win this weekend, they can no longer claim that underdog status; but, they only need it for one more game.</p>
Brandon Graham, an Underdog Since His High School Years in Detroit

The MMQB is on the road to Super Bowl 52. Follow along on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and find all of our road trip content here.

DETROIT — The only sign that this was once a football field, let alone one that produced a player headed for the Super Bowl, is a solitary goalpost. It’s standing alone in a city park that’s more dirt than grass, covered with goose droppings and discarded tires, just off I-75 about a mile from Ford Field. Even when football was played here, the grass was mostly gone before football season; at the 2-yard line was a block of cement, the leftover base of an old pole, which they’d push some dirt on top of every time they took the field.

This was the old site of Crockett Tech High School, the school itself consisting of a portable trailer. In the afternoons, students would walk across the parking lot to take classes at the adjacent vo-tech center. There were no lights surrounding the dirt field, so football games were usually played at 3:30 p.m.; when practices ran past sunset as the fall days grew shorter, parents would help light the field with the headlights of their cars.

“This produced teachers, lawyers, accountants, a host of college players, NFL players … from a trailer park,” says Tim Hopkins, a former associate head coach and defensive coordinator for Crockett, gesturing out over on the field on a Saturday morning in January. “The little engine that could. That was the backdrop for where Brandon Graham played.”

Graham is now a pillar of an Eagles team riding its underdog status to Super Bowl LII, a playmaking defensive end who has lent both his ability (9.5 sacks) and his mentality to a team that hasn’t been favored to win any game this postseason. Years earlier, Graham was the heart of another underdog squad—the Crockett Rockets. Most of his old field is gone now, the space mostly occupied by an indoor cycling track. But enough remains for it to be a time capsule of the years that helped produce one of the most impactful Eagles players.

“Wow,” Graham wrote in reply to a photo of the field posted on The MMQB’s Instagram stories, “that brought back memories right there.”

Crockett had been open less than 10 years when Graham enrolled in 2002; its football program had only been around six years. In Detroit, many ninth-graders choose to still play with their little league teams. But as a freshman, Graham had long since outgrown the level of competition of the Eastside Giants. After his father, Darrick Walton, brought him to meet with the high school coaches, Graham joined Crockett’s varsity squad.

A high school operating out of a trailer certainly didn’t have football facilities. Players changed for practices and games in a hallway located in the basement of the middle school next door. They had a few rows of bleachers around the field, but no way to fence them off, so they couldn’t charge admission for the games.

“Today’s players would never survive what he had to go through just a little over 10 years ago,” says Rod Oden, an assistant who took over as Crockett’s head coach for Graham’s senior season.

The roster was thin, around 25 players, barely enough to run 11-on-11 drills in practice. Everyone played both ways. Graham was a middle linebacker, offensive guard, placekicker and punter. Knowing opponents would be afraid to tackle him, the coaches would wink his direction when they wanted to send him on a fake punt. It’s an impossible stat to verify now, but Hopkins reports that Graham scored on the fakes “about 98% of the time.”

Crockett’s fledgling football program didn’t attract top colleges early on. Hopkins jokes that the recruiters from bigtime programs would get off I-75 to go to the McDonald’s catty-cornered to Crockett, then get back on the interstate and drive off to Cass Tech or King High School, the more established programs nearby with better resources. By the time Graham got there, that was just beginning to change. There was a group of D1 recruits a few years ahead of him; Hopkins recalls the late Joe Paterno sitting in a tiny room in that infamous Crockett trailer pitching a defensive lineman named Ed Johnson to come to Penn State. A few years later, Michigan’s Lloyd Carr came calling for Graham.

Graham blossomed into the top-ranked player in the state his junior season, a 6' 2", 240-pound linebacker who could out-run most of the running backs they faced (he would later be clocked at 4.43 seconds in the 40-yard dash at a Nike summer camp). The Crockett coaches had a policy that each season the players had to earn the “C” they wore on their helmets, by meeting certain performance or effort benchmarks. These were marks Graham would easily meet, but one year, he told his teammates that neither he nor anyone else on defense would wear the emblem until everyone earned it. So for the first couple games of the season, the best high-school player in Michigan played with a blank helmet.

In 2004, Graham led Crockett to an undefeated regular season and the school’s first Detroit Public School League title (they went on to lose to powerhouse Jackson Lumen Christi in the state semifinals). The areas where Crockett lacked, they used as motivation and found ways to compensate. That sounds a lot like Graham’s current team, which has overcome the loss of a starting quarterback, starting left tackle, top linebacker, most versatile running back, core special-teamer, etc., to nonetheless reach the Super Bowl.

“I remember the grind and how we were a tight-knit family because of the numbers we had at Crockett,” Graham wrote over social media. “It taught me to appreciate everything because we didn’t have much, but we maximized what we had to accomplish so much.”

Crockett relocated to an old middle school building for Graham’s senior year, and closed its doors altogether in 2012. That building now stands vacant and overgrown, a visible reminder of Detroit’s struggling public school system. Nearby in the east Detroit neighborhood where Graham grew up, though, is East English Preparatory Academy, which opened after Crockett closed and is where Oden now coaches.

Graham never walked these hallways, but the school is a few blocks from where he used to live, and he makes a point to visit several times a year. He hosts summer sports camps for both boys and girls with his wife, Carlyne, whom he met at Crockett; he’ll sometimes even work out with the football players in their gym where not all the dumbbells have a match. A few years ago, Graham surprised the East English team with new home and away uniforms; last year, he donated 60 helmets from Xenith, a Detroit-based company that has produced several of the top-performing helmets on the market.

“Brandon doesn’t fill up his camps with the kids that are super studs,” Oden says. “He wants the kids who will sign up on their own, get up at 8 a.m. and come here and give a great effort, regardless of skill level.”

Graham didn’t enter the NFL as an underdog, but when the first-round draft pick out of Michigan in 2010 struggled with injuries and scheme changes his first few years in the league, he took on the “bust” label as a personal challenge. He’s flourished the past two seasons as a 4-3 defensive end in Jim Schwartz’s system, but that proverbial chip on his shoulder that he’s carried in different ways his entire career is quite befitting of an Eagles team that cut through the NFC playoffs as a rare home ‘dog.

This weekend, against Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and the heavily favored, five-time champion New England Patriots, Graham's former coaches are expecting to see that old Crockett mindset rear itself in the trenches. Hopkins got choked up while pulling up to that old Crockett field where the players would run so hard the goose droppings would become mulch and they’d go home after practices and games with dirt in their noses.

“New England in Brandon’s mind is like playing King or Cass,” Hopkins says. “There’s so much synergy in the fact that the Eagles are using that underdog mantra to catapult themselves to the Super Bowl. That team is taking on the façade of a Crockett team.”

Graham, who was back in Philadelphia preparing for the team’s charter flight to Minneapolis, agreed with this premise. “That’s exactly right,” he wrote. Graham and the Eagles know that if they win this weekend, they can no longer claim that underdog status; but, they only need it for one more game.

<p><em>The MMQB is on the road to Super Bowl 52. Follow along on <a href="https://twitter.com/theMMQB" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Twitter" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Twitter</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/TheMMQB/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Facebook" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Facebook</a> and <a href="https://www.instagram.com/themmqb/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Instagram" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Instagram</a> and find <a href="https://www.si.com/column/Road+to+Super+Bowl+52" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:all of our road trip content here" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">all of our road trip content here</a>.</em></p><p>DETROIT — The only sign that this was once a football field, let alone one that produced a player headed for the Super Bowl, is a solitary goalpost. It’s standing alone in a city park that’s more dirt than grass, covered with goose droppings and discarded tires, just off I-75 about a mile from Ford Field. Even when football was played here, the grass was mostly gone before football season; at the 2-yard line was a block of cement, the leftover base of an old pole, which they’d push some dirt on top of every time they took the field.</p><p>This was the old site of Crockett Tech High School, the school itself consisting of a portable trailer. In the afternoons, students would walk across the parking lot to take classes at the adjacent vo-tech center. There were no lights surrounding the dirt field, so football games were usually played at 3:30 p.m.; when practices ran past sunset as the fall days grew shorter, parents would help light the field with the headlights of their cars.</p><p>“This produced teachers, lawyers, accountants, a host of college players, NFL players … from a trailer park,” says Tim Hopkins, a former associate head coach and defensive coordinator for Crockett, gesturing out over on the field on a Saturday morning in January. “The little engine that could. That was the backdrop for where Brandon Graham played.”</p><p>Graham is now a pillar of an Eagles team riding its underdog status to Super Bowl LII, a playmaking defensive end who has lent both his ability (9.5 sacks) and his mentality to a team that hasn’t been favored to win any game this postseason. Years earlier, Graham was the heart of another underdog squad—the Crockett Rockets. Most of his old field is gone now, the space mostly occupied by an indoor cycling track. But enough remains for it to be a time capsule of the years that helped produce one of the most impactful Eagles players.</p><p>“Wow,” Graham wrote in reply to a photo of the field posted on The MMQB’s Instagram stories, “that brought back memories right there.”</p><p>Crockett had been open less than 10 years when Graham enrolled in 2002; its football program had only been around six years. In Detroit, many ninth-graders choose to still play with their little league teams. But as a freshman, Graham had long since outgrown the level of competition of the Eastside Giants. After his father, Darrick Walton, brought him to meet with the high school coaches, Graham joined Crockett’s varsity squad.</p><p>A high school operating out of a trailer certainly didn’t have football facilities. Players changed for practices and games in a hallway located in the basement of the middle school next door. They had a few rows of bleachers around the field, but no way to fence them off, so they couldn’t charge admission for the games.</p><p>“Today’s players would never survive what he had to go through just a little over 10 years ago,” says Rod Oden, an assistant who took over as Crockett’s head coach for Graham’s senior season.</p><p>The roster was thin, around 25 players, barely enough to run 11-on-11 drills in practice. Everyone played both ways. Graham was a middle linebacker, offensive guard, placekicker and punter. Knowing opponents would be afraid to tackle him, the coaches would wink his direction when they wanted to send him on a fake punt. It’s an impossible stat to verify now, but Hopkins reports that Graham scored on the fakes “about 98% of the time.”</p><p>Crockett’s fledgling football program didn’t attract top colleges early on. Hopkins jokes that the recruiters from bigtime programs would get off I-75 to go to the McDonald’s catty-cornered to Crockett, then get back on the interstate and drive off to Cass Tech or King High School, the more established programs nearby with better resources. By the time Graham got there, that was just beginning to change. There was a group of D1 recruits a few years ahead of him; Hopkins recalls the late Joe Paterno sitting in a tiny room in that infamous Crockett trailer pitching a defensive lineman named Ed Johnson to come to Penn State. A few years later, Michigan’s Lloyd Carr came calling for Graham.</p><p>Graham blossomed into the top-ranked player in the state his junior season, a 6' 2", 240-pound linebacker who could out-run most of the running backs they faced (he would later be clocked at 4.43 seconds in the 40-yard dash at a Nike summer camp). The Crockett coaches had a policy that each season the players had to earn the “C” they wore on their helmets, by meeting certain performance or effort benchmarks. These were marks Graham would easily meet, but one year, he told his teammates that neither he nor anyone else on defense would wear the emblem until everyone earned it. So for the first couple games of the season, the best high-school player in Michigan played with a blank helmet.</p><p>In 2004, Graham led Crockett to an undefeated regular season and the school’s first Detroit Public School League title (they went on to lose to powerhouse Jackson Lumen Christi in the state semifinals). The areas where Crockett lacked, they used as motivation and found ways to compensate. That sounds a lot like Graham’s current team, which has overcome the loss of a starting quarterback, starting left tackle, top linebacker, most versatile running back, core special-teamer, etc., to nonetheless reach the Super Bowl.</p><p>“I remember the grind and how we were a tight-knit family because of the numbers we had at Crockett,” Graham wrote over social media. “It taught me to appreciate everything because we didn’t have much, but we maximized what we had to accomplish so much.”</p><p>Crockett relocated to an old middle school building for Graham’s senior year, and closed its doors altogether in 2012. That building now stands vacant and overgrown, a visible reminder of Detroit’s struggling public school system. Nearby in the east Detroit neighborhood where Graham grew up, though, is East English Preparatory Academy, which opened after Crockett closed and is where Oden now coaches.</p><p>Graham never walked these hallways, but the school is a few blocks from where he used to live, and he makes a point to visit several times a year. He hosts summer sports camps for both boys and girls with his wife, Carlyne, whom he met at Crockett; he’ll sometimes even work out with the football players in their gym where not all the dumbbells have a match. A few years ago, Graham surprised the East English team with new home and away uniforms; last year, he donated 60 helmets from Xenith, a Detroit-based company that has produced several of the top-performing helmets on the market.</p><p>“Brandon doesn’t fill up his camps with the kids that are super studs,” Oden says. “He wants the kids who will sign up on their own, get up at 8 a.m. and come here and give a great effort, regardless of skill level.”</p><p>Graham didn’t enter the NFL as an underdog, but when the first-round draft pick out of Michigan in 2010 struggled with injuries and scheme changes his first few years in the league, he took on the “bust” label as a personal challenge. He’s flourished the past two seasons as a 4-3 defensive end in Jim Schwartz’s system, but that proverbial chip on his shoulder that he’s carried in different ways his entire career is quite befitting of an Eagles team that cut through the NFC playoffs as a rare home ‘dog.</p><p>This weekend, against Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and the heavily favored, five-time champion New England Patriots, Graham's former coaches are expecting to see that old Crockett mindset rear itself in the trenches. Hopkins got choked up while pulling up to that old Crockett field where the players would run so hard the goose droppings would become mulch and they’d go home after practices and games with dirt in their noses.</p><p>“New England in Brandon’s mind is like playing King or Cass,” Hopkins says. “There’s so much synergy in the fact that the Eagles are using that underdog mantra to catapult themselves to the Super Bowl. That team is taking on the façade of a Crockett team.”</p><p>Graham, who was back in Philadelphia preparing for the team’s charter flight to Minneapolis, agreed with this premise. “That’s exactly right,” he wrote. Graham and the Eagles know that if they win this weekend, they can no longer claim that underdog status; but, they only need it for one more game.</p>
Brandon Graham, an Underdog Since His High School Years in Detroit

The MMQB is on the road to Super Bowl 52. Follow along on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and find all of our road trip content here.

DETROIT — The only sign that this was once a football field, let alone one that produced a player headed for the Super Bowl, is a solitary goalpost. It’s standing alone in a city park that’s more dirt than grass, covered with goose droppings and discarded tires, just off I-75 about a mile from Ford Field. Even when football was played here, the grass was mostly gone before football season; at the 2-yard line was a block of cement, the leftover base of an old pole, which they’d push some dirt on top of every time they took the field.

This was the old site of Crockett Tech High School, the school itself consisting of a portable trailer. In the afternoons, students would walk across the parking lot to take classes at the adjacent vo-tech center. There were no lights surrounding the dirt field, so football games were usually played at 3:30 p.m.; when practices ran past sunset as the fall days grew shorter, parents would help light the field with the headlights of their cars.

“This produced teachers, lawyers, accountants, a host of college players, NFL players … from a trailer park,” says Tim Hopkins, a former associate head coach and defensive coordinator for Crockett, gesturing out over on the field on a Saturday morning in January. “The little engine that could. That was the backdrop for where Brandon Graham played.”

Graham is now a pillar of an Eagles team riding its underdog status to Super Bowl LII, a playmaking defensive end who has lent both his ability (9.5 sacks) and his mentality to a team that hasn’t been favored to win any game this postseason. Years earlier, Graham was the heart of another underdog squad—the Crockett Rockets. Most of his old field is gone now, the space mostly occupied by an indoor cycling track. But enough remains for it to be a time capsule of the years that helped produce one of the most impactful Eagles players.

“Wow,” Graham wrote in reply to a photo of the field posted on The MMQB’s Instagram stories, “that brought back memories right there.”

Crockett had been open less than 10 years when Graham enrolled in 2002; its football program had only been around six years. In Detroit, many ninth-graders choose to still play with their little league teams. But as a freshman, Graham had long since outgrown the level of competition of the Eastside Giants. After his father, Darrick Walton, brought him to meet with the high school coaches, Graham joined Crockett’s varsity squad.

A high school operating out of a trailer certainly didn’t have football facilities. Players changed for practices and games in a hallway located in the basement of the middle school next door. They had a few rows of bleachers around the field, but no way to fence them off, so they couldn’t charge admission for the games.

“Today’s players would never survive what he had to go through just a little over 10 years ago,” says Rod Oden, an assistant who took over as Crockett’s head coach for Graham’s senior season.

The roster was thin, around 25 players, barely enough to run 11-on-11 drills in practice. Everyone played both ways. Graham was a middle linebacker, offensive guard, placekicker and punter. Knowing opponents would be afraid to tackle him, the coaches would wink his direction when they wanted to send him on a fake punt. It’s an impossible stat to verify now, but Hopkins reports that Graham scored on the fakes “about 98% of the time.”

Crockett’s fledgling football program didn’t attract top colleges early on. Hopkins jokes that the recruiters from bigtime programs would get off I-75 to go to the McDonald’s catty-cornered to Crockett, then get back on the interstate and drive off to Cass Tech or King High School, the more established programs nearby with better resources. By the time Graham got there, that was just beginning to change. There was a group of D1 recruits a few years ahead of him; Hopkins recalls the late Joe Paterno sitting in a tiny room in that infamous Crockett trailer pitching a defensive lineman named Ed Johnson to come to Penn State. A few years later, Michigan’s Lloyd Carr came calling for Graham.

Graham blossomed into the top-ranked player in the state his junior season, a 6' 2", 240-pound linebacker who could out-run most of the running backs they faced (he would later be clocked at 4.43 seconds in the 40-yard dash at a Nike summer camp). The Crockett coaches had a policy that each season the players had to earn the “C” they wore on their helmets, by meeting certain performance or effort benchmarks. These were marks Graham would easily meet, but one year, he told his teammates that neither he nor anyone else on defense would wear the emblem until everyone earned it. So for the first couple games of the season, the best high-school player in Michigan played with a blank helmet.

In 2004, Graham led Crockett to an undefeated regular season and the school’s first Detroit Public School League title (they went on to lose to powerhouse Jackson Lumen Christi in the state semifinals). The areas where Crockett lacked, they used as motivation and found ways to compensate. That sounds a lot like Graham’s current team, which has overcome the loss of a starting quarterback, starting left tackle, top linebacker, most versatile running back, core special-teamer, etc., to nonetheless reach the Super Bowl.

“I remember the grind and how we were a tight-knit family because of the numbers we had at Crockett,” Graham wrote over social media. “It taught me to appreciate everything because we didn’t have much, but we maximized what we had to accomplish so much.”

Crockett relocated to an old middle school building for Graham’s senior year, and closed its doors altogether in 2012. That building now stands vacant and overgrown, a visible reminder of Detroit’s struggling public school system. Nearby in the east Detroit neighborhood where Graham grew up, though, is East English Preparatory Academy, which opened after Crockett closed and is where Oden now coaches.

Graham never walked these hallways, but the school is a few blocks from where he used to live, and he makes a point to visit several times a year. He hosts summer sports camps for both boys and girls with his wife, Carlyne, whom he met at Crockett; he’ll sometimes even work out with the football players in their gym where not all the dumbbells have a match. A few years ago, Graham surprised the East English team with new home and away uniforms; last year, he donated 60 helmets from Xenith, a Detroit-based company that has produced several of the top-performing helmets on the market.

“Brandon doesn’t fill up his camps with the kids that are super studs,” Oden says. “He wants the kids who will sign up on their own, get up at 8 a.m. and come here and give a great effort, regardless of skill level.”

Graham didn’t enter the NFL as an underdog, but when the first-round draft pick out of Michigan in 2010 struggled with injuries and scheme changes his first few years in the league, he took on the “bust” label as a personal challenge. He’s flourished the past two seasons as a 4-3 defensive end in Jim Schwartz’s system, but that proverbial chip on his shoulder that he’s carried in different ways his entire career is quite befitting of an Eagles team that cut through the NFC playoffs as a rare home ‘dog.

This weekend, against Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and the heavily favored, five-time champion New England Patriots, Graham's former coaches are expecting to see that old Crockett mindset rear itself in the trenches. Hopkins got choked up while pulling up to that old Crockett field where the players would run so hard the goose droppings would become mulch and they’d go home after practices and games with dirt in their noses.

“New England in Brandon’s mind is like playing King or Cass,” Hopkins says. “There’s so much synergy in the fact that the Eagles are using that underdog mantra to catapult themselves to the Super Bowl. That team is taking on the façade of a Crockett team.”

Graham, who was back in Philadelphia preparing for the team’s charter flight to Minneapolis, agreed with this premise. “That’s exactly right,” he wrote. Graham and the Eagles know that if they win this weekend, they can no longer claim that underdog status; but, they only need it for one more game.

<p><em>The MMQB is on the road to Super Bowl 52. Follow along on <a href="https://twitter.com/theMMQB" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Twitter" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Twitter</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/TheMMQB/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Facebook" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Facebook</a> and <a href="https://www.instagram.com/themmqb/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Instagram" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Instagram</a> and find <a href="https://www.si.com/column/Road+to+Super+Bowl+52" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:all of our road trip content here" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">all of our road trip content here</a>.</em></p><p>DETROIT — The only sign that this was once a football field, let alone one that produced a player headed for the Super Bowl, is a solitary goalpost. It’s standing alone in a city park that’s more dirt than grass, covered with goose droppings and discarded tires, just off I-75 about a mile from Ford Field. Even when football was played here, the grass was mostly gone before football season; at the 2-yard line was a block of cement, the leftover base of an old pole, which they’d push some dirt on top of every time they took the field.</p><p>This was the old site of Crockett Tech High School, the school itself consisting of a portable trailer. In the afternoons, students would walk across the parking lot to take classes at the adjacent vo-tech center. There were no lights surrounding the dirt field, so football games were usually played at 3:30 p.m.; when practices ran past sunset as the fall days grew shorter, parents would help light the field with the headlights of their cars.</p><p>“This produced teachers, lawyers, accountants, a host of college players, NFL players … from a trailer park,” says Tim Hopkins, a former associate head coach and defensive coordinator for Crockett, gesturing out over on the field on a Saturday morning in January. “The little engine that could. That was the backdrop for where Brandon Graham played.”</p><p>Graham is now a pillar of an Eagles team riding its underdog status to Super Bowl LII, a playmaking defensive end who has lent both his ability (9.5 sacks) and his mentality to a team that hasn’t been favored to win any game this postseason. Years earlier, Graham was the heart of another underdog squad—the Crockett Rockets. Most of his old field is gone now, the space mostly occupied by an indoor cycling track. But enough remains for it to be a time capsule of the years that helped produce one of the most impactful Eagles players.</p><p>“Wow,” Graham wrote in reply to a photo of the field posted on The MMQB’s Instagram stories, “that brought back memories right there.”</p><p>Crockett had been open less than 10 years when Graham enrolled in 2002; its football program had only been around six years. In Detroit, many ninth-graders choose to still play with their little league teams. But as a freshman, Graham had long since outgrown the level of competition of the Eastside Giants. After his father, Darrick Walton, brought him to meet with the high school coaches, Graham joined Crockett’s varsity squad.</p><p>A high school operating out of a trailer certainly didn’t have football facilities. Players changed for practices and games in a hallway located in the basement of the middle school next door. They had a few rows of bleachers around the field, but no way to fence them off, so they couldn’t charge admission for the games.</p><p>“Today’s players would never survive what he had to go through just a little over 10 years ago,” says Rod Oden, an assistant who took over as Crockett’s head coach for Graham’s senior season.</p><p>The roster was thin, around 25 players, barely enough to run 11-on-11 drills in practice. Everyone played both ways. Graham was a middle linebacker, offensive guard, placekicker and punter. Knowing opponents would be afraid to tackle him, the coaches would wink his direction when they wanted to send him on a fake punt. It’s an impossible stat to verify now, but Hopkins reports that Graham scored on the fakes “about 98% of the time.”</p><p>Crockett’s fledgling football program didn’t attract top colleges early on. Hopkins jokes that the recruiters from bigtime programs would get off I-75 to go to the McDonald’s catty-cornered to Crockett, then get back on the interstate and drive off to Cass Tech or King High School, the more established programs nearby with better resources. By the time Graham got there, that was just beginning to change. There was a group of D1 recruits a few years ahead of him; Hopkins recalls the late Joe Paterno sitting in a tiny room in that infamous Crockett trailer pitching a defensive lineman named Ed Johnson to come to Penn State. A few years later, Michigan’s Lloyd Carr came calling for Graham.</p><p>Graham blossomed into the top-ranked player in the state his junior season, a 6' 2", 240-pound linebacker who could out-run most of the running backs they faced (he would later be clocked at 4.43 seconds in the 40-yard dash at a Nike summer camp). The Crockett coaches had a policy that each season the players had to earn the “C” they wore on their helmets, by meeting certain performance or effort benchmarks. These were marks Graham would easily meet, but one year, he told his teammates that neither he nor anyone else on defense would wear the emblem until everyone earned it. So for the first couple games of the season, the best high-school player in Michigan played with a blank helmet.</p><p>In 2004, Graham led Crockett to an undefeated regular season and the school’s first Detroit Public School League title (they went on to lose to powerhouse Jackson Lumen Christi in the state semifinals). The areas where Crockett lacked, they used as motivation and found ways to compensate. That sounds a lot like Graham’s current team, which has overcome the loss of a starting quarterback, starting left tackle, top linebacker, most versatile running back, core special-teamer, etc., to nonetheless reach the Super Bowl.</p><p>“I remember the grind and how we were a tight-knit family because of the numbers we had at Crockett,” Graham wrote over social media. “It taught me to appreciate everything because we didn’t have much, but we maximized what we had to accomplish so much.”</p><p>Crockett relocated to an old middle school building for Graham’s senior year, and closed its doors altogether in 2012. That building now stands vacant and overgrown, a visible reminder of Detroit’s struggling public school system. Nearby in the east Detroit neighborhood where Graham grew up, though, is East English Preparatory Academy, which opened after Crockett closed and is where Oden now coaches.</p><p>Graham never walked these hallways, but the school is a few blocks from where he used to live, and he makes a point to visit several times a year. He hosts summer sports camps for both boys and girls with his wife, Carlyne, whom he met at Crockett; he’ll sometimes even work out with the football players in their gym where not all the dumbbells have a match. A few years ago, Graham surprised the East English team with new home and away uniforms; last year, he donated 60 helmets from Xenith, a Detroit-based company that has produced several of the top-performing helmets on the market.</p><p>“Brandon doesn’t fill up his camps with the kids that are super studs,” Oden says. “He wants the kids who will sign up on their own, get up at 8 a.m. and come here and give a great effort, regardless of skill level.”</p><p>Graham didn’t enter the NFL as an underdog, but when the first-round draft pick out of Michigan in 2010 struggled with injuries and scheme changes his first few years in the league, he took on the “bust” label as a personal challenge. He’s flourished the past two seasons as a 4-3 defensive end in Jim Schwartz’s system, but that proverbial chip on his shoulder that he’s carried in different ways his entire career is quite befitting of an Eagles team that cut through the NFC playoffs as a rare home ‘dog.</p><p>This weekend, against Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and the heavily favored, five-time champion New England Patriots, Graham's former coaches are expecting to see that old Crockett mindset rear itself in the trenches. Hopkins got choked up while pulling up to that old Crockett field where the players would run so hard the goose droppings would become mulch and they’d go home after practices and games with dirt in their noses.</p><p>“New England in Brandon’s mind is like playing King or Cass,” Hopkins says. “There’s so much synergy in the fact that the Eagles are using that underdog mantra to catapult themselves to the Super Bowl. That team is taking on the façade of a Crockett team.”</p><p>Graham, who was back in Philadelphia preparing for the team’s charter flight to Minneapolis, agreed with this premise. “That’s exactly right,” he wrote. Graham and the Eagles know that if they win this weekend, they can no longer claim that underdog status; but, they only need it for one more game.</p>
Brandon Graham, an Underdog Since His High School Years in Detroit

The MMQB is on the road to Super Bowl 52. Follow along on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and find all of our road trip content here.

DETROIT — The only sign that this was once a football field, let alone one that produced a player headed for the Super Bowl, is a solitary goalpost. It’s standing alone in a city park that’s more dirt than grass, covered with goose droppings and discarded tires, just off I-75 about a mile from Ford Field. Even when football was played here, the grass was mostly gone before football season; at the 2-yard line was a block of cement, the leftover base of an old pole, which they’d push some dirt on top of every time they took the field.

This was the old site of Crockett Tech High School, the school itself consisting of a portable trailer. In the afternoons, students would walk across the parking lot to take classes at the adjacent vo-tech center. There were no lights surrounding the dirt field, so football games were usually played at 3:30 p.m.; when practices ran past sunset as the fall days grew shorter, parents would help light the field with the headlights of their cars.

“This produced teachers, lawyers, accountants, a host of college players, NFL players … from a trailer park,” says Tim Hopkins, a former associate head coach and defensive coordinator for Crockett, gesturing out over on the field on a Saturday morning in January. “The little engine that could. That was the backdrop for where Brandon Graham played.”

Graham is now a pillar of an Eagles team riding its underdog status to Super Bowl LII, a playmaking defensive end who has lent both his ability (9.5 sacks) and his mentality to a team that hasn’t been favored to win any game this postseason. Years earlier, Graham was the heart of another underdog squad—the Crockett Rockets. Most of his old field is gone now, the space mostly occupied by an indoor cycling track. But enough remains for it to be a time capsule of the years that helped produce one of the most impactful Eagles players.

“Wow,” Graham wrote in reply to a photo of the field posted on The MMQB’s Instagram stories, “that brought back memories right there.”

Crockett had been open less than 10 years when Graham enrolled in 2002; its football program had only been around six years. In Detroit, many ninth-graders choose to still play with their little league teams. But as a freshman, Graham had long since outgrown the level of competition of the Eastside Giants. After his father, Darrick Walton, brought him to meet with the high school coaches, Graham joined Crockett’s varsity squad.

A high school operating out of a trailer certainly didn’t have football facilities. Players changed for practices and games in a hallway located in the basement of the middle school next door. They had a few rows of bleachers around the field, but no way to fence them off, so they couldn’t charge admission for the games.

“Today’s players would never survive what he had to go through just a little over 10 years ago,” says Rod Oden, an assistant who took over as Crockett’s head coach for Graham’s senior season.

The roster was thin, around 25 players, barely enough to run 11-on-11 drills in practice. Everyone played both ways. Graham was a middle linebacker, offensive guard, placekicker and punter. Knowing opponents would be afraid to tackle him, the coaches would wink his direction when they wanted to send him on a fake punt. It’s an impossible stat to verify now, but Hopkins reports that Graham scored on the fakes “about 98% of the time.”

Crockett’s fledgling football program didn’t attract top colleges early on. Hopkins jokes that the recruiters from bigtime programs would get off I-75 to go to the McDonald’s catty-cornered to Crockett, then get back on the interstate and drive off to Cass Tech or King High School, the more established programs nearby with better resources. By the time Graham got there, that was just beginning to change. There was a group of D1 recruits a few years ahead of him; Hopkins recalls the late Joe Paterno sitting in a tiny room in that infamous Crockett trailer pitching a defensive lineman named Ed Johnson to come to Penn State. A few years later, Michigan’s Lloyd Carr came calling for Graham.

Graham blossomed into the top-ranked player in the state his junior season, a 6' 2", 240-pound linebacker who could out-run most of the running backs they faced (he would later be clocked at 4.43 seconds in the 40-yard dash at a Nike summer camp). The Crockett coaches had a policy that each season the players had to earn the “C” they wore on their helmets, by meeting certain performance or effort benchmarks. These were marks Graham would easily meet, but one year, he told his teammates that neither he nor anyone else on defense would wear the emblem until everyone earned it. So for the first couple games of the season, the best high-school player in Michigan played with a blank helmet.

In 2004, Graham led Crockett to an undefeated regular season and the school’s first Detroit Public School League title (they went on to lose to powerhouse Jackson Lumen Christi in the state semifinals). The areas where Crockett lacked, they used as motivation and found ways to compensate. That sounds a lot like Graham’s current team, which has overcome the loss of a starting quarterback, starting left tackle, top linebacker, most versatile running back, core special-teamer, etc., to nonetheless reach the Super Bowl.

“I remember the grind and how we were a tight-knit family because of the numbers we had at Crockett,” Graham wrote over social media. “It taught me to appreciate everything because we didn’t have much, but we maximized what we had to accomplish so much.”

Crockett relocated to an old middle school building for Graham’s senior year, and closed its doors altogether in 2012. That building now stands vacant and overgrown, a visible reminder of Detroit’s struggling public school system. Nearby in the east Detroit neighborhood where Graham grew up, though, is East English Preparatory Academy, which opened after Crockett closed and is where Oden now coaches.

Graham never walked these hallways, but the school is a few blocks from where he used to live, and he makes a point to visit several times a year. He hosts summer sports camps for both boys and girls with his wife, Carlyne, whom he met at Crockett; he’ll sometimes even work out with the football players in their gym where not all the dumbbells have a match. A few years ago, Graham surprised the East English team with new home and away uniforms; last year, he donated 60 helmets from Xenith, a Detroit-based company that has produced several of the top-performing helmets on the market.

“Brandon doesn’t fill up his camps with the kids that are super studs,” Oden says. “He wants the kids who will sign up on their own, get up at 8 a.m. and come here and give a great effort, regardless of skill level.”

Graham didn’t enter the NFL as an underdog, but when the first-round draft pick out of Michigan in 2010 struggled with injuries and scheme changes his first few years in the league, he took on the “bust” label as a personal challenge. He’s flourished the past two seasons as a 4-3 defensive end in Jim Schwartz’s system, but that proverbial chip on his shoulder that he’s carried in different ways his entire career is quite befitting of an Eagles team that cut through the NFC playoffs as a rare home ‘dog.

This weekend, against Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and the heavily favored, five-time champion New England Patriots, Graham's former coaches are expecting to see that old Crockett mindset rear itself in the trenches. Hopkins got choked up while pulling up to that old Crockett field where the players would run so hard the goose droppings would become mulch and they’d go home after practices and games with dirt in their noses.

“New England in Brandon’s mind is like playing King or Cass,” Hopkins says. “There’s so much synergy in the fact that the Eagles are using that underdog mantra to catapult themselves to the Super Bowl. That team is taking on the façade of a Crockett team.”

Graham, who was back in Philadelphia preparing for the team’s charter flight to Minneapolis, agreed with this premise. “That’s exactly right,” he wrote. Graham and the Eagles know that if they win this weekend, they can no longer claim that underdog status; but, they only need it for one more game.

<p>The first trailer for <em>Paterno, </em>a biopic of former Penn State coach Joe Paterno, was released Friday. </p><p>The film will <a href="https://www.si.com/tech-media/2018/01/12/joe-paterno-biopic-al-pacino-hbo" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:debut on HBO this spring" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">debut on HBO this spring</a> with Academy Award-winning actor Al Pacino portraying the title character.</p><p>Paterno spent 46 years as Penn State's head coach and amassed 409 wins, the highest win total in NCAA FBS history. But his career ended ignominiously, as he was dismissed from the university for his failure to deal with the Jerry Sandusky child sex scandal properly. </p><p>The film, which was shot last summer, will apparently focus on the aftermath of that scandal. It is directed by Barry Levinson, who won the Academy Award for Best Director for his work on <em>Rain Man. </em></p><p>Paterno died of complications from lung cancer just two months after he was fired. He was 85. </p>
Watch: First Trailer for Joe Paterno Biopic Starring Al Pacino Released

The first trailer for Paterno, a biopic of former Penn State coach Joe Paterno, was released Friday.

The film will debut on HBO this spring with Academy Award-winning actor Al Pacino portraying the title character.

Paterno spent 46 years as Penn State's head coach and amassed 409 wins, the highest win total in NCAA FBS history. But his career ended ignominiously, as he was dismissed from the university for his failure to deal with the Jerry Sandusky child sex scandal properly.

The film, which was shot last summer, will apparently focus on the aftermath of that scandal. It is directed by Barry Levinson, who won the Academy Award for Best Director for his work on Rain Man.

Paterno died of complications from lung cancer just two months after he was fired. He was 85.

<p><em>Paterno, </em>a biopic of former Penn State coach Joe Paterno, will debut on HBO this spring with Academy Award-winning actor Al Pacino portraying the title character.</p><p>Paterno spent 46 years as Penn State's head coach and amassed 409 wins, the highest win total in NCAA FBS history. But his career ended ignominiously, as he was dismissed from the university for his failure to deal with the Jerry Sandusky child sex scandal properly. </p><p>The film, which was shot last summer, will apparently focus on the aftermath of that scandal. Here is the official tagline, which was released by HBO last summer.</p><p>“After becoming the winningest coach in college football history, Joe Paterno is embroiled in Penn State’s Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse scandal, challenging his legacy and forcing him to face questions of institutional failure on behalf of the victims.”</p><p>The film is directed by Barry Levinson, who won the Academy Award for Best Director for his work on <em>Rain Man. </em>Levinson also directed <em>The Natural, </em>a classic baseball movie, as well as <em>Wizard of Lies, </em>HBO's biopic of Bernie Madoff. </p><p>Paterno died of complications from lung cancer just two months after he was fired. He was 85. </p>
Joe Paterno Biopic Starring Al Pacino to Air on HBO in Spring 2018

Paterno, a biopic of former Penn State coach Joe Paterno, will debut on HBO this spring with Academy Award-winning actor Al Pacino portraying the title character.

Paterno spent 46 years as Penn State's head coach and amassed 409 wins, the highest win total in NCAA FBS history. But his career ended ignominiously, as he was dismissed from the university for his failure to deal with the Jerry Sandusky child sex scandal properly.

The film, which was shot last summer, will apparently focus on the aftermath of that scandal. Here is the official tagline, which was released by HBO last summer.

“After becoming the winningest coach in college football history, Joe Paterno is embroiled in Penn State’s Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse scandal, challenging his legacy and forcing him to face questions of institutional failure on behalf of the victims.”

The film is directed by Barry Levinson, who won the Academy Award for Best Director for his work on Rain Man. Levinson also directed The Natural, a classic baseball movie, as well as Wizard of Lies, HBO's biopic of Bernie Madoff.

Paterno died of complications from lung cancer just two months after he was fired. He was 85.

<p>1. I think Stanford’s David Shaw had better be in the top two, or one, for any NFL team looking for a head coach in 2018. But remember what he told me two years ago about having a better job than any NFL coach, and whoever wants him is going to have to convince his wife that it’s a better place than Palo Alto. Good luck. My sense is that Shaw will one day coach in the NFL, just not in the next couple of years. My early list of calls I’d make if I had a coach to hire, after I called Shaw:</p><p>• New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels<br>• Kansas City special teams coordinator Dave Toub<br>• Philadelphia defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz<br>• Detroit defensive coordinator Teryl Austin<br>• New England defensive coordinator Matt Patricia.</p><p>2. I think I also would fact-find about Carolina defensive coordinator Steve Wilks, University of Washington coach Chris Petersen (who likely wants to stay on the West Coast), Minnesota offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur and Houston defensive coordinator Mike Vrabel. I’d phone Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz; I don’t think he’d leave, but I’d make him tell me that. Finally, I don’t know Jacksonville defensive coordinator Todd Wash or Kansas City offensive coordinator Matt Nagy (just 39) but hear good things about them. And as for those who say the pool of available coaches is grim, I would remind you of three names:</p><p>• Chuck Noll was an unknown and a distant second to Joe Paterno when the Steelers hired him in 1969. Four Super Bowl wins followed. </p><p>• “An inspired choice or a real mistake?” the Philadelphia Inquirer wondered after the hire of Andy Reid in 1999—and he proceeded to win 74 more games than anyone else in club history.</p><p>• Robert Kraft told me earlier this year he was warned by former Browns owner Art Modell to stay far away from Bill Belichick—and all Belichick has done is win 235 games in New England.</p><p>Moral of the story: There are scores of good coaches out there. They need good quarterbacks and good organizations to succeed.</p><p>Last point to make: Jon Gruden might be interested in going back to the Raiders. I hear he loves Derek Carr and would like to see once in his career what he could do with a franchise quarterback. But I think it’s not likely Jack Del Rio gets fired.</p><p>3. I think this story about Greg Schiano having a deal to coach Tennessee, then having the deal walked back Sunday evening because of the outcry over what <em>might</em>have happened at Penn State connected to the Jerry Sandusky case, over what was <em>never proven and was denied by the relevant parties under oath</em>, over what Tennessee <em>never investigated thoroughly, </em>is a disgrace to thinking people. It also emboldens the screamers on social media, a nod to those who think if you scream loud enough in this current iteration of America you can overcome reason, and a totally unfair slap at a good man in Schiano. The pathetic result of this caper is that the social-media lynch mob won, and no matter how well Schiano does as an assistant at Ohio State, it may never be good enough for him to get a head-coaching job. The water has been poisoned by the crazies. In America today, that matters.</p><p>4. I think these are my quick thoughts on Week 12:</p><p>a. What a great game Green Bay-Pittsburgh was.</p><p>b. Man, Brett Hundley proved me wrong, at least this week. What a tremendous late-fourth-quarter drive, including 72 yards passing, moving the Packers for six first downs and the tying touchdowns—and converting a fourth down with under three minutes left to make the tying score possible.</p><p>c. Huge sack by T.J. Watt, nailing Hundley with a minute to go and enabling the Steelers to get the ball back with just enough time.</p><p>d. Russell Wilson: To have the Seahawks at 7-4, as beat up as the team is, is a tribute to a very good defense to be sure. But mostly it’s a tribute to you.</p><p>e. Thanks, Drew Bledsoe, for <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2017/11/20/terry-glenn-remembered-drew-bledsoe-patriots-cowboys" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:the terrific tribute written for The MMQB" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">the terrific tribute written for The MMQB</a>to the late Terry Glenn.</p><p>f. Good stats by Andrew Catalon on CBS: Zane Gonzalez of the Browns has missed five field goals this year, all wide left. Hope you’re renting, Zane.</p><p>g. Christian Jones, the Chicago middle linebacker no one knows, sure makes a lot of plays for an unknown guy.</p><p>h. When Keenan Allen next negotiates a contract with the Chargers, all he has to do is bring a tape of his last eight quarters in two must-wins for the Chargers, against Buffalo and Dallas, in a five-day span: 23 catches in 27 targets, 331 yards, three touchdowns.</p><p>i. The reception, run and stretch for the first down in the fourth quarter by Minnesota’s Stefon Diggs, making the first down by an inch, was a truly great awareness play by Diggs. Kudos to him.</p><p>j. Detroit’s Akeem Spence dropping Jerick McKinnon late in the first half for a loss was the kind of textbook run-stuff every defensive-line coach should show his players.</p><p>k. Kai Forbath makes me nervous. Very nervous. And if he makes me nervous, imagine what he does to that pepperpot Mike Zimmer.</p><p>l. Why, with the game on the line, on fourth-and-eight when the Lions needed a conversion, did Matthew Stafford throw to a blanketed receiver—covered by the Vikes’ best corner, Xavier Rhodes—with almost zero chance for completion?</p><p>m. Yikes: Dak Prescott’s passer rating this year with Zeke Elliott in the lineup: 97.9. Prescott without Elliott: 57.0.</p><p>n. Looks like Eli Apple is turning into a lost top pick for the Giants, <a href="https://nypost.com/2017/11/25/eli-apples-attitude-towards-criticism-led-to-near-walk-out/?utm_campaign=iosapp&utm_source=twitter_app" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:per Paul Schwartz" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">per Paul Schwartz</a> of the New York Post.</p><p>o. Prince Amukamara could take the video of his pass-breakup of the Carson Wentz-to-Torrey Smith throw in Philadelphia and show it to young corners everywhere. Perfect timing, mechanics of a pass breakup.</p><p>p. Gotta catch that ball, Austin Seferian-Jenkins. That drop of a first-quarter touchdown pass cost the Jets four points.</p><p>5. I think I do not mean to be cruel, but this is the truth: Brock Osweiler has gotten two offensive coordinators (George Godsey, Mike McCoy) fired from two teams (Houston, Denver) in consecutive seasons. Also:</p><p>• Osweiler has played so poorly in Houston that he had to be traded to Cleveland <em>along with a second-round pick so the Browns would take him. </em>He played so poorly in training camp in Cleveland that the Browns, desperate for a placeholder quarterback, fired him anyway. He played so poorly in Denver in relief of Trevor Siemian that he was demoted the other day from number one to number three quarterback.</p><p>• Osweiler is employed in the NFL today. Colin Kaepernick is not. It helps explain why so many people are rooting hard for Kaepernick’s longshot collusion case against the NFL.</p><p>6. I think it’s time to sound the TV ratings alarm—if you haven’t already heard it clanging from coast to coast. It looks even worse when considering that the NFL, perhaps rightfully, blamed last year’s ratings decline on the attention magnet that the 2016 presidential election was. But Thanksgiving week is two weeks clear of the election season. So let’s compare some of the numbers to each of the past two years to see where we are (thanks to Sports Media Watch for the ratings info):</p><p>• ESPN, Monday night, Atlanta at Seattle: 6.4 rating, a decline of 28.1 percent from Buffalo-New England in 2015 … a decline of 7.2 percent from Houston-Oakland last year.</p><p>• FOX, Thanksgiving Day, Minnesota at Detroit: 11.4 rating, a drop of 7.3 percent from Philadelphia-Detroit in 2015 … a drop of 12.3 percent from Minnesota-Detroit last year.</p><p>• CBS, Thanksgiving Day, Los Angeles Chargers at Dallas: 12.4 rating, a decrease of 19.0 percent from Dallas-Carolina in 2015 … a decrease of 20.5 percent from Dallas-Washington last year.</p><p>• NBC, Thanksgiving night, New York Giants at Washington: 9.7 rating, a drop of 33.6 percent from Chicago-Green Bay in 2015 … a drop of 10.2 percent from Indianapolis-Pittsburgh last year.</p><p>A bit of clarification: CBS did the early-window game from Detroit last year; FOX did the early game from Detroit this year. So the numbers on FOX and CBS are window versus window, not network versus network. But in window versus window, the numbers of ’17 versus ’16 were down 7.2, 12.3, 20.5 and 10.2 percent on Monday and Thursday of Thanksgiving week. Not good.</p><p>7. I think I don’t want to rain on the Matthew Stafford parade, and I get that he is struggling with a sore ankle, but man, that was an underwhelming performance Thursday in a game the Lions had to have.</p><p>8. I think the Eagles have a very interesting road trip coming up: at Seattle on Sunday night, against the beat-up but still dangerous Seahawks; then working out on Eagle season-ticket-holder Mike Trout’s baseball field in Anaheim for the following week; then playing the dangerous Rams (in a preview of my prospective NFC title game) the following Sunday.</p><p>9. I think <a href="http://m.fox8live.com/wvuefox8/db_344663/contentdetail.htm?contentguid=V4IAWNSY" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:congrats are in order" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">congrats are in order</a> for Archie and Olivia Manning’s grandson, Cooper Manning’s son, Peyton Manning’s nephew and Eli Manning’s nephew. A 70-percent passing day for Arch Manning in a big game. Heck of a game, kid. (And yes, the boy goes by “Arch.”)</p><p>10. I think these are my non-NFL thoughts of the week:</p><p>a. <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/21/opinion/kaepernick-negro-national-anthem.html?_r=0" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Op-Ed of the week" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Op-Ed of the week</a>: from Brent Staples of the New York Times<em>, </em>some good lessons on the legacy of national anthems in our country.</p><p>b. <a href="http://joeposnanski.com/kidney-stones-electric-cars-pixelbooks-and-twitter/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Internet column of the Week" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Internet column of the Week</a>: The great Joe Posnanski, on (mostly) quitting Twitter at the same time as he gets a kidney stone.</p><p>c. Have you considered the two might be related, Joe? That <em>not </em>being on Twitter may have caused this malady?</p><p>d. <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/alex-ovechkin-is-one-of-putins-biggest-fans-the-question-is-why/2017/11/25/c5f8bb2e-ce36-11e7-9d3a-bcbe2af58c3a_story.html?utm_term=.9c251dc9b82e" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Sports/politics story of the week" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Sports/politics story of the week</a>: by Rick Maese, Isabelle Khurshudyan and Andrew Roth of the Washington Post<em>, </em>on the bizarre intersection of a big hockey star and Vladimir Putin.</p><p>e. I looked the other day at SeatGeek just to see about the “Springsteen on Broadway” show, which of course intrigues me. Two tickets to a January show: $4,882. No thanks.</p><p>f. I read a book on the day after Thanksgiving. A whole book! <a href="http://amzn.to/2A7JjMR" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:“The Rooster Bar,” by John Grisham." class="link rapid-noclick-resp">“The Rooster Bar,” by John Grisham.</a> As usual, Grisham put his hooks in me, and I finished it in six hours. I had a couple of plot problems (I’m sure Mr. Grisham will call me to discuss), but it was easy and fun and the kind of book I love on off-time. It took me to a place and provided great entertainment and made me think.</p><p>g. I am nearly finished with another book I have enjoyed quite a bit: <a href="http://amzn.to/2zsgLdz" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:“Ballplayer,” by Chipper Jones, with Carroll Rodgers Walton" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">“Ballplayer,” by Chipper Jones, with Carroll Rodgers Walton</a>. Good job by Jones talking about life invading his professional space. Funny how that happens.</p><p>h. Annual question: Why are college coaching contracts so incredibly one-way in favor of the coaches?</p><p>i. I cannot believe anyone in the Ohio State athletic department looked at that team on the field Saturday and said, “I really love those uniforms.” Black and white? In the game against Michigan?</p><p>j. Wow. Michigan 1-5 versus Ohio State and Michigan State, its two big rivals, under Jim Harbaugh?</p><p>k. That Auburn-Alabama crowd was ridiculously loud. What a home-field advantage for Auburn. Nick Saban struggled to hear Allie LaForce for the halftime on-field interview. At halftime. When no football was being played.</p><p>l. Coffeenerdness: <a href="https://www.davescoffee.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Dave’s Coffee" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Dave’s Coffee</a> of Rhode Island—you’ve got a good thing going. The stronger the better.</p><p>m. Beernerdness: My wife and I spent a couple of days away in Westerly, R.I., over Thanksgiving, and we gave thanks not only for the time away but for our time at <a href="http://greysailbrewing.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Gray Sail Brewery" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Gray Sail Brewery</a> on a quiet street not far from the Amtrak station and a very cute downtown Westerly. The little brew pub next to the brewery is in a 90-year-old home with original murals on the wall, painted by an Italian artist of lovely scenes in the old country. And on the main floor of the house, locals and tourists lounge around drinking good beer. My pick: The Gray Sail Flagship cream ale, easy to drink and light. Lovely. We got a tour of the brewery (a former macaroni factory, of all things) and a T-shirt, and were on our way. How great is it that in cute little towns all over America local breweries are popping up and thriving? Gray Sail is six years old, and the folks there Friday evening included two families in the converted den, with a couple of tykes running around. Strongly recommend that on your trip up I-95 along the New England coast, just over the border from Connecticut into Rhode Island, you stop there and have a beer.</p><p>n. I’m not sure of this, and maybe it’s because we had to wait so long for it to come, but this season of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” has been fairly meh. Even with the fatwa on Larry. Some of the stuff is more than slightly preposterous. More Susie. More Jeff. More Funkhauser.</p><p>o. Happy 64th birthday (Sunday) to one of the best people I’ve covered, Hall of Fame Giants linebacker Harry Carson.</p><p>p. Happy 44th birthday (today) to Renaissance man Jon Runyan, the former tackle and Jersey congressman and current NFL exec.</p><h3>Who I Like Tonight</h3><p><strong>Baltimore 17, Houston 9. </strong>The Ravens have three shutouts this year, and the Texans have allowed 22 touchdown passes and a passer rating of 98.9. If Baltimore, at home, can’t win a game it absolutely has to have (next two games: Detroit, at Pittsburgh) to go to 6-5, the Ravens will soon be playing for 2018.</p><h3>The Adieu Haiku</h3><p>Schiano got jobbed.<br>The moral of the story?<br>Scream loudest, you win.</p><p><strong><em>• We have a newsletter, and you can subscribe, and it’s free</em></strong>. Get “The Morning Huddle” delivered to your inbox first thing each weekday, by <a href="https://www.si.com/static/newsletter/signup" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:going here and checking The MMQB newsletter box." class="link rapid-noclick-resp"><em>going here and checking The MMQB newsletter box.</em></a> Start your day with the best of the NFL, from The MMQB.</p><p><strong>•<em>Question or comment? Story idea?</em></strong> Email us at <span><em>talkback@themmqb.com</em></span>.</p>
Ten Things I Think I Think: On NFL Coaching Candidates, Week 12 Reactions, TV Ratings

1. I think Stanford’s David Shaw had better be in the top two, or one, for any NFL team looking for a head coach in 2018. But remember what he told me two years ago about having a better job than any NFL coach, and whoever wants him is going to have to convince his wife that it’s a better place than Palo Alto. Good luck. My sense is that Shaw will one day coach in the NFL, just not in the next couple of years. My early list of calls I’d make if I had a coach to hire, after I called Shaw:

• New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels
• Kansas City special teams coordinator Dave Toub
• Philadelphia defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz
• Detroit defensive coordinator Teryl Austin
• New England defensive coordinator Matt Patricia.

2. I think I also would fact-find about Carolina defensive coordinator Steve Wilks, University of Washington coach Chris Petersen (who likely wants to stay on the West Coast), Minnesota offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur and Houston defensive coordinator Mike Vrabel. I’d phone Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz; I don’t think he’d leave, but I’d make him tell me that. Finally, I don’t know Jacksonville defensive coordinator Todd Wash or Kansas City offensive coordinator Matt Nagy (just 39) but hear good things about them. And as for those who say the pool of available coaches is grim, I would remind you of three names:

• Chuck Noll was an unknown and a distant second to Joe Paterno when the Steelers hired him in 1969. Four Super Bowl wins followed.

• “An inspired choice or a real mistake?” the Philadelphia Inquirer wondered after the hire of Andy Reid in 1999—and he proceeded to win 74 more games than anyone else in club history.

• Robert Kraft told me earlier this year he was warned by former Browns owner Art Modell to stay far away from Bill Belichick—and all Belichick has done is win 235 games in New England.

Moral of the story: There are scores of good coaches out there. They need good quarterbacks and good organizations to succeed.

Last point to make: Jon Gruden might be interested in going back to the Raiders. I hear he loves Derek Carr and would like to see once in his career what he could do with a franchise quarterback. But I think it’s not likely Jack Del Rio gets fired.

3. I think this story about Greg Schiano having a deal to coach Tennessee, then having the deal walked back Sunday evening because of the outcry over what mighthave happened at Penn State connected to the Jerry Sandusky case, over what was never proven and was denied by the relevant parties under oath, over what Tennessee never investigated thoroughly, is a disgrace to thinking people. It also emboldens the screamers on social media, a nod to those who think if you scream loud enough in this current iteration of America you can overcome reason, and a totally unfair slap at a good man in Schiano. The pathetic result of this caper is that the social-media lynch mob won, and no matter how well Schiano does as an assistant at Ohio State, it may never be good enough for him to get a head-coaching job. The water has been poisoned by the crazies. In America today, that matters.

4. I think these are my quick thoughts on Week 12:

a. What a great game Green Bay-Pittsburgh was.

b. Man, Brett Hundley proved me wrong, at least this week. What a tremendous late-fourth-quarter drive, including 72 yards passing, moving the Packers for six first downs and the tying touchdowns—and converting a fourth down with under three minutes left to make the tying score possible.

c. Huge sack by T.J. Watt, nailing Hundley with a minute to go and enabling the Steelers to get the ball back with just enough time.

d. Russell Wilson: To have the Seahawks at 7-4, as beat up as the team is, is a tribute to a very good defense to be sure. But mostly it’s a tribute to you.

e. Thanks, Drew Bledsoe, for the terrific tribute written for The MMQBto the late Terry Glenn.

f. Good stats by Andrew Catalon on CBS: Zane Gonzalez of the Browns has missed five field goals this year, all wide left. Hope you’re renting, Zane.

g. Christian Jones, the Chicago middle linebacker no one knows, sure makes a lot of plays for an unknown guy.

h. When Keenan Allen next negotiates a contract with the Chargers, all he has to do is bring a tape of his last eight quarters in two must-wins for the Chargers, against Buffalo and Dallas, in a five-day span: 23 catches in 27 targets, 331 yards, three touchdowns.

i. The reception, run and stretch for the first down in the fourth quarter by Minnesota’s Stefon Diggs, making the first down by an inch, was a truly great awareness play by Diggs. Kudos to him.

j. Detroit’s Akeem Spence dropping Jerick McKinnon late in the first half for a loss was the kind of textbook run-stuff every defensive-line coach should show his players.

k. Kai Forbath makes me nervous. Very nervous. And if he makes me nervous, imagine what he does to that pepperpot Mike Zimmer.

l. Why, with the game on the line, on fourth-and-eight when the Lions needed a conversion, did Matthew Stafford throw to a blanketed receiver—covered by the Vikes’ best corner, Xavier Rhodes—with almost zero chance for completion?

m. Yikes: Dak Prescott’s passer rating this year with Zeke Elliott in the lineup: 97.9. Prescott without Elliott: 57.0.

n. Looks like Eli Apple is turning into a lost top pick for the Giants, per Paul Schwartz of the New York Post.

o. Prince Amukamara could take the video of his pass-breakup of the Carson Wentz-to-Torrey Smith throw in Philadelphia and show it to young corners everywhere. Perfect timing, mechanics of a pass breakup.

p. Gotta catch that ball, Austin Seferian-Jenkins. That drop of a first-quarter touchdown pass cost the Jets four points.

5. I think I do not mean to be cruel, but this is the truth: Brock Osweiler has gotten two offensive coordinators (George Godsey, Mike McCoy) fired from two teams (Houston, Denver) in consecutive seasons. Also:

• Osweiler has played so poorly in Houston that he had to be traded to Cleveland along with a second-round pick so the Browns would take him. He played so poorly in training camp in Cleveland that the Browns, desperate for a placeholder quarterback, fired him anyway. He played so poorly in Denver in relief of Trevor Siemian that he was demoted the other day from number one to number three quarterback.

• Osweiler is employed in the NFL today. Colin Kaepernick is not. It helps explain why so many people are rooting hard for Kaepernick’s longshot collusion case against the NFL.

6. I think it’s time to sound the TV ratings alarm—if you haven’t already heard it clanging from coast to coast. It looks even worse when considering that the NFL, perhaps rightfully, blamed last year’s ratings decline on the attention magnet that the 2016 presidential election was. But Thanksgiving week is two weeks clear of the election season. So let’s compare some of the numbers to each of the past two years to see where we are (thanks to Sports Media Watch for the ratings info):

• ESPN, Monday night, Atlanta at Seattle: 6.4 rating, a decline of 28.1 percent from Buffalo-New England in 2015 … a decline of 7.2 percent from Houston-Oakland last year.

• FOX, Thanksgiving Day, Minnesota at Detroit: 11.4 rating, a drop of 7.3 percent from Philadelphia-Detroit in 2015 … a drop of 12.3 percent from Minnesota-Detroit last year.

• CBS, Thanksgiving Day, Los Angeles Chargers at Dallas: 12.4 rating, a decrease of 19.0 percent from Dallas-Carolina in 2015 … a decrease of 20.5 percent from Dallas-Washington last year.

• NBC, Thanksgiving night, New York Giants at Washington: 9.7 rating, a drop of 33.6 percent from Chicago-Green Bay in 2015 … a drop of 10.2 percent from Indianapolis-Pittsburgh last year.

A bit of clarification: CBS did the early-window game from Detroit last year; FOX did the early game from Detroit this year. So the numbers on FOX and CBS are window versus window, not network versus network. But in window versus window, the numbers of ’17 versus ’16 were down 7.2, 12.3, 20.5 and 10.2 percent on Monday and Thursday of Thanksgiving week. Not good.

7. I think I don’t want to rain on the Matthew Stafford parade, and I get that he is struggling with a sore ankle, but man, that was an underwhelming performance Thursday in a game the Lions had to have.

8. I think the Eagles have a very interesting road trip coming up: at Seattle on Sunday night, against the beat-up but still dangerous Seahawks; then working out on Eagle season-ticket-holder Mike Trout’s baseball field in Anaheim for the following week; then playing the dangerous Rams (in a preview of my prospective NFC title game) the following Sunday.

9. I think congrats are in order for Archie and Olivia Manning’s grandson, Cooper Manning’s son, Peyton Manning’s nephew and Eli Manning’s nephew. A 70-percent passing day for Arch Manning in a big game. Heck of a game, kid. (And yes, the boy goes by “Arch.”)

10. I think these are my non-NFL thoughts of the week:

a. Op-Ed of the week: from Brent Staples of the New York Times, some good lessons on the legacy of national anthems in our country.

b. Internet column of the Week: The great Joe Posnanski, on (mostly) quitting Twitter at the same time as he gets a kidney stone.

c. Have you considered the two might be related, Joe? That not being on Twitter may have caused this malady?

d. Sports/politics story of the week: by Rick Maese, Isabelle Khurshudyan and Andrew Roth of the Washington Post, on the bizarre intersection of a big hockey star and Vladimir Putin.

e. I looked the other day at SeatGeek just to see about the “Springsteen on Broadway” show, which of course intrigues me. Two tickets to a January show: $4,882. No thanks.

f. I read a book on the day after Thanksgiving. A whole book! “The Rooster Bar,” by John Grisham. As usual, Grisham put his hooks in me, and I finished it in six hours. I had a couple of plot problems (I’m sure Mr. Grisham will call me to discuss), but it was easy and fun and the kind of book I love on off-time. It took me to a place and provided great entertainment and made me think.

g. I am nearly finished with another book I have enjoyed quite a bit: “Ballplayer,” by Chipper Jones, with Carroll Rodgers Walton. Good job by Jones talking about life invading his professional space. Funny how that happens.

h. Annual question: Why are college coaching contracts so incredibly one-way in favor of the coaches?

i. I cannot believe anyone in the Ohio State athletic department looked at that team on the field Saturday and said, “I really love those uniforms.” Black and white? In the game against Michigan?

j. Wow. Michigan 1-5 versus Ohio State and Michigan State, its two big rivals, under Jim Harbaugh?

k. That Auburn-Alabama crowd was ridiculously loud. What a home-field advantage for Auburn. Nick Saban struggled to hear Allie LaForce for the halftime on-field interview. At halftime. When no football was being played.

l. Coffeenerdness: Dave’s Coffee of Rhode Island—you’ve got a good thing going. The stronger the better.

m. Beernerdness: My wife and I spent a couple of days away in Westerly, R.I., over Thanksgiving, and we gave thanks not only for the time away but for our time at Gray Sail Brewery on a quiet street not far from the Amtrak station and a very cute downtown Westerly. The little brew pub next to the brewery is in a 90-year-old home with original murals on the wall, painted by an Italian artist of lovely scenes in the old country. And on the main floor of the house, locals and tourists lounge around drinking good beer. My pick: The Gray Sail Flagship cream ale, easy to drink and light. Lovely. We got a tour of the brewery (a former macaroni factory, of all things) and a T-shirt, and were on our way. How great is it that in cute little towns all over America local breweries are popping up and thriving? Gray Sail is six years old, and the folks there Friday evening included two families in the converted den, with a couple of tykes running around. Strongly recommend that on your trip up I-95 along the New England coast, just over the border from Connecticut into Rhode Island, you stop there and have a beer.

n. I’m not sure of this, and maybe it’s because we had to wait so long for it to come, but this season of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” has been fairly meh. Even with the fatwa on Larry. Some of the stuff is more than slightly preposterous. More Susie. More Jeff. More Funkhauser.

o. Happy 64th birthday (Sunday) to one of the best people I’ve covered, Hall of Fame Giants linebacker Harry Carson.

p. Happy 44th birthday (today) to Renaissance man Jon Runyan, the former tackle and Jersey congressman and current NFL exec.

Who I Like Tonight

Baltimore 17, Houston 9. The Ravens have three shutouts this year, and the Texans have allowed 22 touchdown passes and a passer rating of 98.9. If Baltimore, at home, can’t win a game it absolutely has to have (next two games: Detroit, at Pittsburgh) to go to 6-5, the Ravens will soon be playing for 2018.

The Adieu Haiku

Schiano got jobbed.
The moral of the story?
Scream loudest, you win.

• We have a newsletter, and you can subscribe, and it’s free. Get “The Morning Huddle” delivered to your inbox first thing each weekday, by going here and checking The MMQB newsletter box. Start your day with the best of the NFL, from The MMQB.

Question or comment? Story idea? Email us at talkback@themmqb.com.

<p>1. I think Stanford’s David Shaw had better be in the top two, or one, for any NFL team looking for a head coach in 2018. But remember what he told me two years ago about having a better job than any NFL coach, and whoever wants him is going to have to convince his wife that it’s a better place than Palo Alto. Good luck. My sense is that Shaw will one day coach in the NFL, just not in the next couple of years. My early list of calls I’d make if I had a coach to hire, after I called Shaw:</p><p>• New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels<br>• Kansas City special teams coordinator Dave Toub<br>• Philadelphia defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz<br>• Detroit defensive coordinator Teryl Austin<br>• New England defensive coordinator Matt Patricia.</p><p>2. I think I also would fact-find about Carolina defensive coordinator Steve Wilks, University of Washington coach Chris Petersen (who likely wants to stay on the West Coast), Minnesota offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur and Houston defensive coordinator Mike Vrabel. I’d phone Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz; I don’t think he’d leave, but I’d make him tell me that. Finally, I don’t know Jacksonville defensive coordinator Todd Wash or Kansas City offensive coordinator Matt Nagy (just 39) but hear good things about them. And as for those who say the pool of available coaches is grim, I would remind you of three names:</p><p>• Chuck Noll was an unknown and a distant second to Joe Paterno when the Steelers hired him in 1969. Four Super Bowl wins followed. </p><p>• “An inspired choice or a real mistake?” the Philadelphia Inquirer wondered after the hire of Andy Reid in 1999—and he proceeded to win 74 more games than anyone else in club history.</p><p>• Robert Kraft told me earlier this year he was warned by former Browns owner Art Modell to stay far away from Bill Belichick—and all Belichick has done is win 235 games in New England.</p><p>Moral of the story: There are scores of good coaches out there. They need good quarterbacks and good organizations to succeed.</p><p>Last point to make: Jon Gruden might be interested in going back to the Raiders. I hear he loves Derek Carr and would like to see once in his career what he could do with a franchise quarterback. But I think it’s not likely Jack Del Rio gets fired.</p><p>3. I think this story about Greg Schiano having a deal to coach Tennessee, then having the deal walked back Sunday evening because of the outcry over what <em>might</em>have happened at Penn State connected to the Jerry Sandusky case, over what was <em>never proven and was denied by the relevant parties under oath</em>, over what Tennessee <em>never investigated thoroughly, </em>is a disgrace to thinking people. It also emboldens the screamers on social media, a nod to those who think if you scream loud enough in this current iteration of America you can overcome reason, and a totally unfair slap at a good man in Schiano. The pathetic result of this caper is that the social-media lynch mob won, and no matter how well Schiano does as an assistant at Ohio State, it may never be good enough for him to get a head-coaching job. The water has been poisoned by the crazies. In America today, that matters.</p><p>4. I think these are my quick thoughts on Week 12:</p><p>a. What a great game Green Bay-Pittsburgh was.</p><p>b. Man, Brett Hundley proved me wrong, at least this week. What a tremendous late-fourth-quarter drive, including 72 yards passing, moving the Packers for six first downs and the tying touchdowns—and converting a fourth down with under three minutes left to make the tying score possible.</p><p>c. Huge sack by T.J. Watt, nailing Hundley with a minute to go and enabling the Steelers to get the ball back with just enough time.</p><p>d. Russell Wilson: To have the Seahawks at 7-4, as beat up as the team is, is a tribute to a very good defense to be sure. But mostly it’s a tribute to you.</p><p>e. Thanks, Drew Bledsoe, for <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2017/11/20/terry-glenn-remembered-drew-bledsoe-patriots-cowboys" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:the terrific tribute written for The MMQB" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">the terrific tribute written for The MMQB</a>to the late Terry Glenn.</p><p>f. Good stats by Andrew Catalon on CBS: Zane Gonzalez of the Browns has missed five field goals this year, all wide left. Hope you’re renting, Zane.</p><p>g. Christian Jones, the Chicago middle linebacker no one knows, sure makes a lot of plays for an unknown guy.</p><p>h. When Keenan Allen next negotiates a contract with the Chargers, all he has to do is bring a tape of his last eight quarters in two must-wins for the Chargers, against Buffalo and Dallas, in a five-day span: 23 catches in 27 targets, 331 yards, three touchdowns.</p><p>i. The reception, run and stretch for the first down in the fourth quarter by Minnesota’s Stefon Diggs, making the first down by an inch, was a truly great awareness play by Diggs. Kudos to him.</p><p>j. Detroit’s Akeem Spence dropping Jerick McKinnon late in the first half for a loss was the kind of textbook run-stuff every defensive-line coach should show his players.</p><p>k. Kai Forbath makes me nervous. Very nervous. And if he makes me nervous, imagine what he does to that pepperpot Mike Zimmer.</p><p>l. Why, with the game on the line, on fourth-and-eight when the Lions needed a conversion, did Matthew Stafford throw to a blanketed receiver—covered by the Vikes’ best corner, Xavier Rhodes—with almost zero chance for completion?</p><p>m. Yikes: Dak Prescott’s passer rating this year with Zeke Elliott in the lineup: 97.9. Prescott without Elliott: 57.0.</p><p>n. Looks like Eli Apple is turning into a lost top pick for the Giants, <a href="https://nypost.com/2017/11/25/eli-apples-attitude-towards-criticism-led-to-near-walk-out/?utm_campaign=iosapp&utm_source=twitter_app" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:per Paul Schwartz" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">per Paul Schwartz</a> of the New York Post.</p><p>o. Prince Amukamara could take the video of his pass-breakup of the Carson Wentz-to-Torrey Smith throw in Philadelphia and show it to young corners everywhere. Perfect timing, mechanics of a pass breakup.</p><p>p. Gotta catch that ball, Austin Seferian-Jenkins. That drop of a first-quarter touchdown pass cost the Jets four points.</p><p>5. I think I do not mean to be cruel, but this is the truth: Brock Osweiler has gotten two offensive coordinators (George Godsey, Mike McCoy) fired from two teams (Houston, Denver) in consecutive seasons. Also:</p><p>• Osweiler has played so poorly in Houston that he had to be traded to Cleveland <em>along with a second-round pick so the Browns would take him. </em>He played so poorly in training camp in Cleveland that the Browns, desperate for a placeholder quarterback, fired him anyway. He played so poorly in Denver in relief of Trevor Siemian that he was demoted the other day from number one to number three quarterback.</p><p>• Osweiler is employed in the NFL today. Colin Kaepernick is not. It helps explain why so many people are rooting hard for Kaepernick’s longshot collusion case against the NFL.</p><p>6. I think it’s time to sound the TV ratings alarm—if you haven’t already heard it clanging from coast to coast. It looks even worse when considering that the NFL, perhaps rightfully, blamed last year’s ratings decline on the attention magnet that the 2016 presidential election was. But Thanksgiving week is two weeks clear of the election season. So let’s compare some of the numbers to each of the past two years to see where we are (thanks to Sports Media Watch for the ratings info):</p><p>• ESPN, Monday night, Atlanta at Seattle: 6.4 rating, a decline of 28.1 percent from Buffalo-New England in 2015 … a decline of 7.2 percent from Houston-Oakland last year.</p><p>• FOX, Thanksgiving Day, Minnesota at Detroit: 11.4 rating, a drop of 7.3 percent from Philadelphia-Detroit in 2015 … a drop of 12.3 percent from Minnesota-Detroit last year.</p><p>• CBS, Thanksgiving Day, Los Angeles Chargers at Dallas: 12.4 rating, a decrease of 19.0 percent from Dallas-Carolina in 2015 … a decrease of 20.5 percent from Dallas-Washington last year.</p><p>• NBC, Thanksgiving night, New York Giants at Washington: 9.7 rating, a drop of 33.6 percent from Chicago-Green Bay in 2015 … a drop of 10.2 percent from Indianapolis-Pittsburgh last year.</p><p>A bit of clarification: CBS did the early-window game from Detroit last year; FOX did the early game from Detroit this year. So the numbers on FOX and CBS are window versus window, not network versus network. But in window versus window, the numbers of ’17 versus ’16 were down 7.2, 12.3, 20.5 and 10.2 percent on Monday and Thursday of Thanksgiving week. Not good.</p><p>7. I think I don’t want to rain on the Matthew Stafford parade, and I get that he is struggling with a sore ankle, but man, that was an underwhelming performance Thursday in a game the Lions had to have.</p><p>8. I think the Eagles have a very interesting road trip coming up: at Seattle on Sunday night, against the beat-up but still dangerous Seahawks; then working out on Eagle season-ticket-holder Mike Trout’s baseball field in Anaheim for the following week; then playing the dangerous Rams (in a preview of my prospective NFC title game) the following Sunday.</p><p>9. I think <a href="http://m.fox8live.com/wvuefox8/db_344663/contentdetail.htm?contentguid=V4IAWNSY" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:congrats are in order" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">congrats are in order</a> for Archie and Olivia Manning’s grandson, Cooper Manning’s son, Peyton Manning’s nephew and Eli Manning’s nephew. A 70-percent passing day for Arch Manning in a big game. Heck of a game, kid. (And yes, the boy goes by “Arch.”)</p><p>10. I think these are my non-NFL thoughts of the week:</p><p>a. <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/21/opinion/kaepernick-negro-national-anthem.html?_r=0" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Op-Ed of the week" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Op-Ed of the week</a>: from Brent Staples of the New York Times<em>, </em>some good lessons on the legacy of national anthems in our country.</p><p>b. <a href="http://joeposnanski.com/kidney-stones-electric-cars-pixelbooks-and-twitter/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Internet column of the Week" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Internet column of the Week</a>: The great Joe Posnanski, on (mostly) quitting Twitter at the same time as he gets a kidney stone.</p><p>c. Have you considered the two might be related, Joe? That <em>not </em>being on Twitter may have caused this malady?</p><p>d. <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/alex-ovechkin-is-one-of-putins-biggest-fans-the-question-is-why/2017/11/25/c5f8bb2e-ce36-11e7-9d3a-bcbe2af58c3a_story.html?utm_term=.9c251dc9b82e" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Sports/politics story of the week" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Sports/politics story of the week</a>: by Rick Maese, Isabelle Khurshudyan and Andrew Roth of the Washington Post<em>, </em>on the bizarre intersection of a big hockey star and Vladimir Putin.</p><p>e. I looked the other day at SeatGeek just to see about the “Springsteen on Broadway” show, which of course intrigues me. Two tickets to a January show: $4,882. No thanks.</p><p>f. I read a book on the day after Thanksgiving. A whole book! <a href="http://amzn.to/2A7JjMR" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:“The Rooster Bar,” by John Grisham." class="link rapid-noclick-resp">“The Rooster Bar,” by John Grisham.</a> As usual, Grisham put his hooks in me, and I finished it in six hours. I had a couple of plot problems (I’m sure Mr. Grisham will call me to discuss), but it was easy and fun and the kind of book I love on off-time. It took me to a place and provided great entertainment and made me think.</p><p>g. I am nearly finished with another book I have enjoyed quite a bit: <a href="http://amzn.to/2zsgLdz" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:“Ballplayer,” by Chipper Jones, with Carroll Rodgers Walton" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">“Ballplayer,” by Chipper Jones, with Carroll Rodgers Walton</a>. Good job by Jones talking about life invading his professional space. Funny how that happens.</p><p>h. Annual question: Why are college coaching contracts so incredibly one-way in favor of the coaches?</p><p>i. I cannot believe anyone in the Ohio State athletic department looked at that team on the field Saturday and said, “I really love those uniforms.” Black and white? In the game against Michigan?</p><p>j. Wow. Michigan 1-5 versus Ohio State and Michigan State, its two big rivals, under Jim Harbaugh?</p><p>k. That Auburn-Alabama crowd was ridiculously loud. What a home-field advantage for Auburn. Nick Saban struggled to hear Allie LaForce for the halftime on-field interview. At halftime. When no football was being played.</p><p>l. Coffeenerdness: <a href="https://www.davescoffee.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Dave’s Coffee" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Dave’s Coffee</a> of Rhode Island—you’ve got a good thing going. The stronger the better.</p><p>m. Beernerdness: My wife and I spent a couple of days away in Westerly, R.I., over Thanksgiving, and we gave thanks not only for the time away but for our time at <a href="http://greysailbrewing.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Gray Sail Brewery" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Gray Sail Brewery</a> on a quiet street not far from the Amtrak station and a very cute downtown Westerly. The little brew pub next to the brewery is in a 90-year-old home with original murals on the wall, painted by an Italian artist of lovely scenes in the old country. And on the main floor of the house, locals and tourists lounge around drinking good beer. My pick: The Gray Sail Flagship cream ale, easy to drink and light. Lovely. We got a tour of the brewery (a former macaroni factory, of all things) and a T-shirt, and were on our way. How great is it that in cute little towns all over America local breweries are popping up and thriving? Gray Sail is six years old, and the folks there Friday evening included two families in the converted den, with a couple of tykes running around. Strongly recommend that on your trip up I-95 along the New England coast, just over the border from Connecticut into Rhode Island, you stop there and have a beer.</p><p>n. I’m not sure of this, and maybe it’s because we had to wait so long for it to come, but this season of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” has been fairly meh. Even with the fatwa on Larry. Some of the stuff is more than slightly preposterous. More Susie. More Jeff. More Funkhauser.</p><p>o. Happy 64th birthday (Sunday) to one of the best people I’ve covered, Hall of Fame Giants linebacker Harry Carson.</p><p>p. Happy 44th birthday (today) to Renaissance man Jon Runyan, the former tackle and Jersey congressman and current NFL exec.</p><h3>Who I Like Tonight</h3><p><strong>Baltimore 17, Houston 9. </strong>The Ravens have three shutouts this year, and the Texans have allowed 22 touchdown passes and a passer rating of 98.9. If Baltimore, at home, can’t win a game it absolutely has to have (next two games: Detroit, at Pittsburgh) to go to 6-5, the Ravens will soon be playing for 2018.</p><h3>The Adieu Haiku</h3><p>Schiano got jobbed.<br>The moral of the story?<br>Scream loudest, you win.</p><p><strong><em>• We have a newsletter, and you can subscribe, and it’s free</em></strong>. Get “The Morning Huddle” delivered to your inbox first thing each weekday, by <a href="https://www.si.com/static/newsletter/signup" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:going here and checking The MMQB newsletter box." class="link rapid-noclick-resp"><em>going here and checking The MMQB newsletter box.</em></a> Start your day with the best of the NFL, from The MMQB.</p><p><strong>•<em>Question or comment? Story idea?</em></strong> Email us at <span><em>talkback@themmqb.com</em></span>.</p>
Ten Things I Think I Think: On NFL Coaching Candidates, Week 12 Reactions, TV Ratings

1. I think Stanford’s David Shaw had better be in the top two, or one, for any NFL team looking for a head coach in 2018. But remember what he told me two years ago about having a better job than any NFL coach, and whoever wants him is going to have to convince his wife that it’s a better place than Palo Alto. Good luck. My sense is that Shaw will one day coach in the NFL, just not in the next couple of years. My early list of calls I’d make if I had a coach to hire, after I called Shaw:

• New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels
• Kansas City special teams coordinator Dave Toub
• Philadelphia defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz
• Detroit defensive coordinator Teryl Austin
• New England defensive coordinator Matt Patricia.

2. I think I also would fact-find about Carolina defensive coordinator Steve Wilks, University of Washington coach Chris Petersen (who likely wants to stay on the West Coast), Minnesota offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur and Houston defensive coordinator Mike Vrabel. I’d phone Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz; I don’t think he’d leave, but I’d make him tell me that. Finally, I don’t know Jacksonville defensive coordinator Todd Wash or Kansas City offensive coordinator Matt Nagy (just 39) but hear good things about them. And as for those who say the pool of available coaches is grim, I would remind you of three names:

• Chuck Noll was an unknown and a distant second to Joe Paterno when the Steelers hired him in 1969. Four Super Bowl wins followed.

• “An inspired choice or a real mistake?” the Philadelphia Inquirer wondered after the hire of Andy Reid in 1999—and he proceeded to win 74 more games than anyone else in club history.

• Robert Kraft told me earlier this year he was warned by former Browns owner Art Modell to stay far away from Bill Belichick—and all Belichick has done is win 235 games in New England.

Moral of the story: There are scores of good coaches out there. They need good quarterbacks and good organizations to succeed.

Last point to make: Jon Gruden might be interested in going back to the Raiders. I hear he loves Derek Carr and would like to see once in his career what he could do with a franchise quarterback. But I think it’s not likely Jack Del Rio gets fired.

3. I think this story about Greg Schiano having a deal to coach Tennessee, then having the deal walked back Sunday evening because of the outcry over what mighthave happened at Penn State connected to the Jerry Sandusky case, over what was never proven and was denied by the relevant parties under oath, over what Tennessee never investigated thoroughly, is a disgrace to thinking people. It also emboldens the screamers on social media, a nod to those who think if you scream loud enough in this current iteration of America you can overcome reason, and a totally unfair slap at a good man in Schiano. The pathetic result of this caper is that the social-media lynch mob won, and no matter how well Schiano does as an assistant at Ohio State, it may never be good enough for him to get a head-coaching job. The water has been poisoned by the crazies. In America today, that matters.

4. I think these are my quick thoughts on Week 12:

a. What a great game Green Bay-Pittsburgh was.

b. Man, Brett Hundley proved me wrong, at least this week. What a tremendous late-fourth-quarter drive, including 72 yards passing, moving the Packers for six first downs and the tying touchdowns—and converting a fourth down with under three minutes left to make the tying score possible.

c. Huge sack by T.J. Watt, nailing Hundley with a minute to go and enabling the Steelers to get the ball back with just enough time.

d. Russell Wilson: To have the Seahawks at 7-4, as beat up as the team is, is a tribute to a very good defense to be sure. But mostly it’s a tribute to you.

e. Thanks, Drew Bledsoe, for the terrific tribute written for The MMQBto the late Terry Glenn.

f. Good stats by Andrew Catalon on CBS: Zane Gonzalez of the Browns has missed five field goals this year, all wide left. Hope you’re renting, Zane.

g. Christian Jones, the Chicago middle linebacker no one knows, sure makes a lot of plays for an unknown guy.

h. When Keenan Allen next negotiates a contract with the Chargers, all he has to do is bring a tape of his last eight quarters in two must-wins for the Chargers, against Buffalo and Dallas, in a five-day span: 23 catches in 27 targets, 331 yards, three touchdowns.

i. The reception, run and stretch for the first down in the fourth quarter by Minnesota’s Stefon Diggs, making the first down by an inch, was a truly great awareness play by Diggs. Kudos to him.

j. Detroit’s Akeem Spence dropping Jerick McKinnon late in the first half for a loss was the kind of textbook run-stuff every defensive-line coach should show his players.

k. Kai Forbath makes me nervous. Very nervous. And if he makes me nervous, imagine what he does to that pepperpot Mike Zimmer.

l. Why, with the game on the line, on fourth-and-eight when the Lions needed a conversion, did Matthew Stafford throw to a blanketed receiver—covered by the Vikes’ best corner, Xavier Rhodes—with almost zero chance for completion?

m. Yikes: Dak Prescott’s passer rating this year with Zeke Elliott in the lineup: 97.9. Prescott without Elliott: 57.0.

n. Looks like Eli Apple is turning into a lost top pick for the Giants, per Paul Schwartz of the New York Post.

o. Prince Amukamara could take the video of his pass-breakup of the Carson Wentz-to-Torrey Smith throw in Philadelphia and show it to young corners everywhere. Perfect timing, mechanics of a pass breakup.

p. Gotta catch that ball, Austin Seferian-Jenkins. That drop of a first-quarter touchdown pass cost the Jets four points.

5. I think I do not mean to be cruel, but this is the truth: Brock Osweiler has gotten two offensive coordinators (George Godsey, Mike McCoy) fired from two teams (Houston, Denver) in consecutive seasons. Also:

• Osweiler has played so poorly in Houston that he had to be traded to Cleveland along with a second-round pick so the Browns would take him. He played so poorly in training camp in Cleveland that the Browns, desperate for a placeholder quarterback, fired him anyway. He played so poorly in Denver in relief of Trevor Siemian that he was demoted the other day from number one to number three quarterback.

• Osweiler is employed in the NFL today. Colin Kaepernick is not. It helps explain why so many people are rooting hard for Kaepernick’s longshot collusion case against the NFL.

6. I think it’s time to sound the TV ratings alarm—if you haven’t already heard it clanging from coast to coast. It looks even worse when considering that the NFL, perhaps rightfully, blamed last year’s ratings decline on the attention magnet that the 2016 presidential election was. But Thanksgiving week is two weeks clear of the election season. So let’s compare some of the numbers to each of the past two years to see where we are (thanks to Sports Media Watch for the ratings info):

• ESPN, Monday night, Atlanta at Seattle: 6.4 rating, a decline of 28.1 percent from Buffalo-New England in 2015 … a decline of 7.2 percent from Houston-Oakland last year.

• FOX, Thanksgiving Day, Minnesota at Detroit: 11.4 rating, a drop of 7.3 percent from Philadelphia-Detroit in 2015 … a drop of 12.3 percent from Minnesota-Detroit last year.

• CBS, Thanksgiving Day, Los Angeles Chargers at Dallas: 12.4 rating, a decrease of 19.0 percent from Dallas-Carolina in 2015 … a decrease of 20.5 percent from Dallas-Washington last year.

• NBC, Thanksgiving night, New York Giants at Washington: 9.7 rating, a drop of 33.6 percent from Chicago-Green Bay in 2015 … a drop of 10.2 percent from Indianapolis-Pittsburgh last year.

A bit of clarification: CBS did the early-window game from Detroit last year; FOX did the early game from Detroit this year. So the numbers on FOX and CBS are window versus window, not network versus network. But in window versus window, the numbers of ’17 versus ’16 were down 7.2, 12.3, 20.5 and 10.2 percent on Monday and Thursday of Thanksgiving week. Not good.

7. I think I don’t want to rain on the Matthew Stafford parade, and I get that he is struggling with a sore ankle, but man, that was an underwhelming performance Thursday in a game the Lions had to have.

8. I think the Eagles have a very interesting road trip coming up: at Seattle on Sunday night, against the beat-up but still dangerous Seahawks; then working out on Eagle season-ticket-holder Mike Trout’s baseball field in Anaheim for the following week; then playing the dangerous Rams (in a preview of my prospective NFC title game) the following Sunday.

9. I think congrats are in order for Archie and Olivia Manning’s grandson, Cooper Manning’s son, Peyton Manning’s nephew and Eli Manning’s nephew. A 70-percent passing day for Arch Manning in a big game. Heck of a game, kid. (And yes, the boy goes by “Arch.”)

10. I think these are my non-NFL thoughts of the week:

a. Op-Ed of the week: from Brent Staples of the New York Times, some good lessons on the legacy of national anthems in our country.

b. Internet column of the Week: The great Joe Posnanski, on (mostly) quitting Twitter at the same time as he gets a kidney stone.

c. Have you considered the two might be related, Joe? That not being on Twitter may have caused this malady?

d. Sports/politics story of the week: by Rick Maese, Isabelle Khurshudyan and Andrew Roth of the Washington Post, on the bizarre intersection of a big hockey star and Vladimir Putin.

e. I looked the other day at SeatGeek just to see about the “Springsteen on Broadway” show, which of course intrigues me. Two tickets to a January show: $4,882. No thanks.

f. I read a book on the day after Thanksgiving. A whole book! “The Rooster Bar,” by John Grisham. As usual, Grisham put his hooks in me, and I finished it in six hours. I had a couple of plot problems (I’m sure Mr. Grisham will call me to discuss), but it was easy and fun and the kind of book I love on off-time. It took me to a place and provided great entertainment and made me think.

g. I am nearly finished with another book I have enjoyed quite a bit: “Ballplayer,” by Chipper Jones, with Carroll Rodgers Walton. Good job by Jones talking about life invading his professional space. Funny how that happens.

h. Annual question: Why are college coaching contracts so incredibly one-way in favor of the coaches?

i. I cannot believe anyone in the Ohio State athletic department looked at that team on the field Saturday and said, “I really love those uniforms.” Black and white? In the game against Michigan?

j. Wow. Michigan 1-5 versus Ohio State and Michigan State, its two big rivals, under Jim Harbaugh?

k. That Auburn-Alabama crowd was ridiculously loud. What a home-field advantage for Auburn. Nick Saban struggled to hear Allie LaForce for the halftime on-field interview. At halftime. When no football was being played.

l. Coffeenerdness: Dave’s Coffee of Rhode Island—you’ve got a good thing going. The stronger the better.

m. Beernerdness: My wife and I spent a couple of days away in Westerly, R.I., over Thanksgiving, and we gave thanks not only for the time away but for our time at Gray Sail Brewery on a quiet street not far from the Amtrak station and a very cute downtown Westerly. The little brew pub next to the brewery is in a 90-year-old home with original murals on the wall, painted by an Italian artist of lovely scenes in the old country. And on the main floor of the house, locals and tourists lounge around drinking good beer. My pick: The Gray Sail Flagship cream ale, easy to drink and light. Lovely. We got a tour of the brewery (a former macaroni factory, of all things) and a T-shirt, and were on our way. How great is it that in cute little towns all over America local breweries are popping up and thriving? Gray Sail is six years old, and the folks there Friday evening included two families in the converted den, with a couple of tykes running around. Strongly recommend that on your trip up I-95 along the New England coast, just over the border from Connecticut into Rhode Island, you stop there and have a beer.

n. I’m not sure of this, and maybe it’s because we had to wait so long for it to come, but this season of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” has been fairly meh. Even with the fatwa on Larry. Some of the stuff is more than slightly preposterous. More Susie. More Jeff. More Funkhauser.

o. Happy 64th birthday (Sunday) to one of the best people I’ve covered, Hall of Fame Giants linebacker Harry Carson.

p. Happy 44th birthday (today) to Renaissance man Jon Runyan, the former tackle and Jersey congressman and current NFL exec.

Who I Like Tonight

Baltimore 17, Houston 9. The Ravens have three shutouts this year, and the Texans have allowed 22 touchdown passes and a passer rating of 98.9. If Baltimore, at home, can’t win a game it absolutely has to have (next two games: Detroit, at Pittsburgh) to go to 6-5, the Ravens will soon be playing for 2018.

The Adieu Haiku

Schiano got jobbed.
The moral of the story?
Scream loudest, you win.

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Question or comment? Story idea? Email us at talkback@themmqb.com.

By centering on the ambiguity of Joe Paterno’s role, HBO’s drama avoids confronting the real horrors of the Jerry Sandusky child abuse case
“Paterno” Fails to Get to the Heart of the Penn State Scandal
By centering on the ambiguity of Joe Paterno’s role, HBO’s drama avoids confronting the real horrors of the Jerry Sandusky child abuse case
The current Houston Texans coach credits the foundation Joe Paterno set with the Nittany Lions for the program's rapid return from NCAA sanctions.
Former PSU coach O'Brien: "I knew this place would be back"
The current Houston Texans coach credits the foundation Joe Paterno set with the Nittany Lions for the program's rapid return from NCAA sanctions.
The current Houston Texans coach credits the foundation Joe Paterno set with the Nittany Lions for the program's rapid return from NCAA sanctions.
Former PSU coach O'Brien: "I knew this place would be back"
The current Houston Texans coach credits the foundation Joe Paterno set with the Nittany Lions for the program's rapid return from NCAA sanctions.
The current Houston Texans coach credits the foundation Joe Paterno set with the Nittany Lions for the program's rapid return from NCAA sanctions.
Former PSU coach O'Brien: "I knew this place would be back"
The current Houston Texans coach credits the foundation Joe Paterno set with the Nittany Lions for the program's rapid return from NCAA sanctions.
The current Houston Texans coach credits the foundation Joe Paterno set with the Nittany Lions for the program's rapid return from NCAA sanctions.
Former PSU coach O'Brien: "I knew this place would be back"
The current Houston Texans coach credits the foundation Joe Paterno set with the Nittany Lions for the program's rapid return from NCAA sanctions.
FILE - In this Nov. 5, 2005, file photo, Penn State football coach Joe Paterno acknowledges the crowd during warm-ups before an NCAA college football game against Wisconsin in State College, Pa. Paterno aims to tell the polarizing story of a legends fall, when the most essential question can never be answered. The HBO movie directed by Barry Levinson debuts April 7 and stars Oscar winner Al Pacino as Joe Paterno, the Penn State coach whose career ended in scandal. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)
"Paterno" movie a polarizing story with unanswered questions
FILE - In this Nov. 5, 2005, file photo, Penn State football coach Joe Paterno acknowledges the crowd during warm-ups before an NCAA college football game against Wisconsin in State College, Pa. Paterno aims to tell the polarizing story of a legends fall, when the most essential question can never be answered. The HBO movie directed by Barry Levinson debuts April 7 and stars Oscar winner Al Pacino as Joe Paterno, the Penn State coach whose career ended in scandal. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)
Academy Award winning director Barry Levinson discusses the HBO movie "Paterno," which focuses on Joe Paterno's final days as Penn State's head coach.
SN Exclusive: Barry Levinson says 'Paterno' retells Penn State scandal 'as it's presented'
Academy Award winning director Barry Levinson discusses the HBO movie "Paterno," which focuses on Joe Paterno's final days as Penn State's head coach.
<p>On March 31, it’ll be seven years since the <em>Patriot-News</em> of Harrisburg, Pa., ran a little-noticed story with this headline: “Jerry Sandusky, former Penn State football staffer, subject of grand jury investigation.” The investigation in question soon mushroomed, revealing sexual abuse dating back decades and a wide-ranging cover-up: Sandusky, the former Nittany Lions defensive coordinator, would be found guilty of molesting 10 boys; three university administrators would be sentenced to prison terms for child endangerment; and legendary head coach Joe Paterno would be fired, two months before dying from lung cancer, his honor comprehensively tarnished.</p><p>The heady two weeks that followed Sandusky’s Nov. 4, 2011 indictment are the subject of a new HBO movie, <em>Paterno</em>, which airs April 7. Al Pacino plays Paterno, and Oscar winner Barry Levinson (<em>The Natural</em>; <em>Rain Man</em>) directs. SI spoke with Levinson on Friday. <em>The following interview has been condensed and edited.</em></p><p>?</p><p><strong>SI</strong>: <em>The Penn State story is pretty fresh in a lot of people’s minds—why give it a fictional treatment now?</em></p><p><strong>Barry Levinson</strong>: I’m interested in what went wrong: What is the failure of the system and the people we look to as those in charge and those responsible? In this case, there wasn’t anyone more revered than Joe Paterno—the winningest coach in the history of football, the educator, the humanitarian. This all happened in his backyard. What went on? To me, that’s a perfect story, to ask, <em>Gee, what happened?</em> It’s not just some coach. This is a man who was honored and revered. <em>What happened? </em>You try to explore that and convey that to an audience. </p><p><strong>SI:</strong> <em>For a work of fiction, the movie hews surprisingly closely to the facts of the case.</em></p><p><strong>BL</strong>: We’re doing a film in a sense, which is taking place in the 35 minutes that he’s inside of an MRI machine, looking layer by layer at this man. But the story is really confined to the events of that two-week period, and so we had to do that, double-checking the dates and getting some factual information straight, with HBO and all these lawyers involved.</p><p>?</p><p><strong>SI:</strong> <em>A lot of the movie has to do with how Paterno’s family reacts to the scandal, and how harshly his children come to judge him after Paterno’s past inaction is revealed. I remember them at the time, though, serving as his strong defenders. How did you settle on that portrayal?</em></p><p>One of the many sources we used as research for this film is a book—<em><a href="https://www.amazon.com/Paterno-Joe-Posnanski/dp/1451657501" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Paterno" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Paterno</a>,</em> by Joe Posnanski—which is written by someone who was actually there and met with him. Because we’re dealing with the beginnings and with the shock of it all, they were surprised, obviously, and they’re trying to figure out what’s going on as the media is running all of these various stories. The book has some elements dealing with that section of time, and we based it off those.</p><p><strong>SI: </strong><em>One of the topics that is not explored in the movie (since it covers such a short period) is the contentious years-long battle over Paterno’s culpability and legacy. Your film comes down pretty firmly on the side that he should have done more to stop Sandusky—do you anticipate a backlash from the Paterno loyalists?</em></p><p><strong>BL</strong>: You would assume that that would be the case, because there are some that don’t want to hear anything. But I think we’re being very journalistic: This is the information that in fact exists. We’re not making up these stories. This is what exists. You would hope that people can look at it, and realize that we’ve put quite a bit of time and research into it. This isn’t some kind of movie where we have an agenda—we’re trying to tell the story of the information as it laid out. That’s all you can do. You try to show the man in all lights, you know? In some ways, that’s the tragedy of it.</p><p><strong>SI</strong>: <em>This is your second based-on-a-true-story film for HBO in as many years; in 2017 you directed </em>The Wizard of Lies<em>, </em><em>about Bernie Madoff. Do you see any overlap between Paterno and Madoff?</em></p><p><strong>BL</strong>: They’re different characters. Bernie was less of a people person, quite removed. Paterno was warmer, more emotional. And with Paterno it’s more complicated. Some of the things he did, his beliefs in education, and all of these things in terms of character, and all of that stuff, that’s part of his legacy. And yet, how does he ignore these warnings—how does he ignore this information? How? Why? What happened? That’s what makes it interesting, the why.</p><p><strong>SI</strong>: <em>After watching the movie, it seems your answer as to the why is that he was preoccupied.</em></p><p><strong>BL</strong>: It’s more complicated than that. The film is saying, yeah, he was preoccupied, but you can’t write it off as just being preoccupied. It’s way more complicated than that. I don’t know that we’re ever going to get the real answer to it.</p><p><strong>SI</strong>: <em>You’re a sports fan. Did making the movie lead you to any new thoughts about whether big-time sports and universities can coexist?</em></p><p><strong>BL</strong>: There’s a lot at stake for these universities because college football generates so much money, and obviously that element has gotta impact on this situation. The administration, whether consciously or unconsciously, they knew a lot of this information and they looked to cover it up, because it represented a danger to the university on a bunch of levels. That’s what happens. A university is about students, when it’s all said and done. Period. It’s about education. That’s why they were built—they were built to educate. But with this amount of money involved, you can start to see how this happens. <em>How do we cover this up? Maybe it will go away. </em>You see these mechanics play out, as we show it.</p><p><strong>SI</strong>: <em>One of the most unpleasant (and dead-on) scenes is the movie is one in which a mob of Penn State students shows up at Paterno’s house and chants his name. Scott Paterno goes out and tries to get them to say a prayer for the victims, and all they do is start chanting his name. </em></p><p><strong>BL</strong>: He was there forever; he was like the father to those students. Without them having all the information, they do this thing to protect the father. It’s obviously a misjudgment, but we do react emotionally before we react in a more thoughtful manner.</p><p><strong>SI</strong>: Paterno <em>is being released at a moment of great cultural reckoning surrounding silence and abuse—though it was shot before that moment was really underway. Does the #MeToo movement make you reevaluate anything about it?</em></p><p><strong>BL</strong>: One of the points of the movie is, <em>Look what happens when a voice is not heard</em>. When the first victim stepped forward, if the authorities would have paid attention and done the necessary investigation, then nothing else would have happened beyond it. But it was ignored, and it becomes this scandal. The reason things are happening now is that so many people have been ignored for so long that it explodes.</p>
Inside the Making of the New HBO Movie, 'Paterno'

On March 31, it’ll be seven years since the Patriot-News of Harrisburg, Pa., ran a little-noticed story with this headline: “Jerry Sandusky, former Penn State football staffer, subject of grand jury investigation.” The investigation in question soon mushroomed, revealing sexual abuse dating back decades and a wide-ranging cover-up: Sandusky, the former Nittany Lions defensive coordinator, would be found guilty of molesting 10 boys; three university administrators would be sentenced to prison terms for child endangerment; and legendary head coach Joe Paterno would be fired, two months before dying from lung cancer, his honor comprehensively tarnished.

The heady two weeks that followed Sandusky’s Nov. 4, 2011 indictment are the subject of a new HBO movie, Paterno, which airs April 7. Al Pacino plays Paterno, and Oscar winner Barry Levinson (The Natural; Rain Man) directs. SI spoke with Levinson on Friday. The following interview has been condensed and edited.

?

SI: The Penn State story is pretty fresh in a lot of people’s minds—why give it a fictional treatment now?

Barry Levinson: I’m interested in what went wrong: What is the failure of the system and the people we look to as those in charge and those responsible? In this case, there wasn’t anyone more revered than Joe Paterno—the winningest coach in the history of football, the educator, the humanitarian. This all happened in his backyard. What went on? To me, that’s a perfect story, to ask, Gee, what happened? It’s not just some coach. This is a man who was honored and revered. What happened? You try to explore that and convey that to an audience.

SI: For a work of fiction, the movie hews surprisingly closely to the facts of the case.

BL: We’re doing a film in a sense, which is taking place in the 35 minutes that he’s inside of an MRI machine, looking layer by layer at this man. But the story is really confined to the events of that two-week period, and so we had to do that, double-checking the dates and getting some factual information straight, with HBO and all these lawyers involved.

?

SI: A lot of the movie has to do with how Paterno’s family reacts to the scandal, and how harshly his children come to judge him after Paterno’s past inaction is revealed. I remember them at the time, though, serving as his strong defenders. How did you settle on that portrayal?

One of the many sources we used as research for this film is a book—Paterno, by Joe Posnanski—which is written by someone who was actually there and met with him. Because we’re dealing with the beginnings and with the shock of it all, they were surprised, obviously, and they’re trying to figure out what’s going on as the media is running all of these various stories. The book has some elements dealing with that section of time, and we based it off those.

SI: One of the topics that is not explored in the movie (since it covers such a short period) is the contentious years-long battle over Paterno’s culpability and legacy. Your film comes down pretty firmly on the side that he should have done more to stop Sandusky—do you anticipate a backlash from the Paterno loyalists?

BL: You would assume that that would be the case, because there are some that don’t want to hear anything. But I think we’re being very journalistic: This is the information that in fact exists. We’re not making up these stories. This is what exists. You would hope that people can look at it, and realize that we’ve put quite a bit of time and research into it. This isn’t some kind of movie where we have an agenda—we’re trying to tell the story of the information as it laid out. That’s all you can do. You try to show the man in all lights, you know? In some ways, that’s the tragedy of it.

SI: This is your second based-on-a-true-story film for HBO in as many years; in 2017 you directed The Wizard of Lies, about Bernie Madoff. Do you see any overlap between Paterno and Madoff?

BL: They’re different characters. Bernie was less of a people person, quite removed. Paterno was warmer, more emotional. And with Paterno it’s more complicated. Some of the things he did, his beliefs in education, and all of these things in terms of character, and all of that stuff, that’s part of his legacy. And yet, how does he ignore these warnings—how does he ignore this information? How? Why? What happened? That’s what makes it interesting, the why.

SI: After watching the movie, it seems your answer as to the why is that he was preoccupied.

BL: It’s more complicated than that. The film is saying, yeah, he was preoccupied, but you can’t write it off as just being preoccupied. It’s way more complicated than that. I don’t know that we’re ever going to get the real answer to it.

SI: You’re a sports fan. Did making the movie lead you to any new thoughts about whether big-time sports and universities can coexist?

BL: There’s a lot at stake for these universities because college football generates so much money, and obviously that element has gotta impact on this situation. The administration, whether consciously or unconsciously, they knew a lot of this information and they looked to cover it up, because it represented a danger to the university on a bunch of levels. That’s what happens. A university is about students, when it’s all said and done. Period. It’s about education. That’s why they were built—they were built to educate. But with this amount of money involved, you can start to see how this happens. How do we cover this up? Maybe it will go away. You see these mechanics play out, as we show it.

SI: One of the most unpleasant (and dead-on) scenes is the movie is one in which a mob of Penn State students shows up at Paterno’s house and chants his name. Scott Paterno goes out and tries to get them to say a prayer for the victims, and all they do is start chanting his name.

BL: He was there forever; he was like the father to those students. Without them having all the information, they do this thing to protect the father. It’s obviously a misjudgment, but we do react emotionally before we react in a more thoughtful manner.

SI: Paterno is being released at a moment of great cultural reckoning surrounding silence and abuse—though it was shot before that moment was really underway. Does the #MeToo movement make you reevaluate anything about it?

BL: One of the points of the movie is, Look what happens when a voice is not heard. When the first victim stepped forward, if the authorities would have paid attention and done the necessary investigation, then nothing else would have happened beyond it. But it was ignored, and it becomes this scandal. The reason things are happening now is that so many people have been ignored for so long that it explodes.

<p>On March 31, it’ll be seven years since the <em>Patriot-News</em> of Harrisburg, Pa., ran a little-noticed story with this headline: “Jerry Sandusky, former Penn State football staffer, subject of grand jury investigation.” The investigation in question soon mushroomed, revealing sexual abuse dating back decades and a wide-ranging cover-up: Sandusky, the former Nittany Lions defensive coordinator, would be found guilty of molesting 10 boys; three university administrators would be sentenced to prison terms for child endangerment; and legendary head coach Joe Paterno would be fired, two months before dying from lung cancer, his honor comprehensively tarnished.</p><p>The heady two weeks that followed Sandusky’s Nov. 4, 2011 indictment are the subject of a new HBO movie, <em>Paterno</em>, which airs April 7. Al Pacino plays Paterno, and Oscar winner Barry Levinson (<em>The Natural</em>; <em>Rain Man</em>) directs. SI spoke with Levinson on Friday. <em>The following interview has been condensed and edited.</em></p><p>?</p><p><strong>SI</strong>: <em>The Penn State story is pretty fresh in a lot of people’s minds—why give it a fictional treatment now?</em></p><p><strong>Barry Levinson</strong>: I’m interested in what went wrong: What is the failure of the system and the people we look to as those in charge and those responsible? In this case, there wasn’t anyone more revered than Joe Paterno—the winningest coach in the history of football, the educator, the humanitarian. This all happened in his backyard. What went on? To me, that’s a perfect story, to ask, <em>Gee, what happened?</em> It’s not just some coach. This is a man who was honored and revered. <em>What happened? </em>You try to explore that and convey that to an audience. </p><p><strong>SI:</strong> <em>For a work of fiction, the movie hews surprisingly closely to the facts of the case.</em></p><p><strong>BL</strong>: We’re doing a film in a sense, which is taking place in the 35 minutes that he’s inside of an MRI machine, looking layer by layer at this man. But the story is really confined to the events of that two-week period, and so we had to do that, double-checking the dates and getting some factual information straight, with HBO and all these lawyers involved.</p><p>?</p><p><strong>SI:</strong> <em>A lot of the movie has to do with how Paterno’s family reacts to the scandal, and how harshly his children come to judge him after Paterno’s past inaction is revealed. I remember them at the time, though, serving as his strong defenders. How did you settle on that portrayal?</em></p><p>One of the many sources we used as research for this film is a book—<em><a href="https://www.amazon.com/Paterno-Joe-Posnanski/dp/1451657501" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Paterno" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Paterno</a>,</em> by Joe Posnanski—which is written by someone who was actually there and met with him. Because we’re dealing with the beginnings and with the shock of it all, they were surprised, obviously, and they’re trying to figure out what’s going on as the media is running all of these various stories. The book has some elements dealing with that section of time, and we based it off those.</p><p><strong>SI: </strong><em>One of the topics that is not explored in the movie (since it covers such a short period) is the contentious years-long battle over Paterno’s culpability and legacy. Your film comes down pretty firmly on the side that he should have done more to stop Sandusky—do you anticipate a backlash from the Paterno loyalists?</em></p><p><strong>BL</strong>: You would assume that that would be the case, because there are some that don’t want to hear anything. But I think we’re being very journalistic: This is the information that in fact exists. We’re not making up these stories. This is what exists. You would hope that people can look at it, and realize that we’ve put quite a bit of time and research into it. This isn’t some kind of movie where we have an agenda—we’re trying to tell the story of the information as it laid out. That’s all you can do. You try to show the man in all lights, you know? In some ways, that’s the tragedy of it.</p><p><strong>SI</strong>: <em>This is your second based-on-a-true-story film for HBO in as many years; in 2017 you directed </em>The Wizard of Lies<em>, </em><em>about Bernie Madoff. Do you see any overlap between Paterno and Madoff?</em></p><p><strong>BL</strong>: They’re different characters. Bernie was less of a people person, quite removed. Paterno was warmer, more emotional. And with Paterno it’s more complicated. Some of the things he did, his beliefs in education, and all of these things in terms of character, and all of that stuff, that’s part of his legacy. And yet, how does he ignore these warnings—how does he ignore this information? How? Why? What happened? That’s what makes it interesting, the why.</p><p><strong>SI</strong>: <em>After watching the movie, it seems your answer as to the why is that he was preoccupied.</em></p><p><strong>BL</strong>: It’s more complicated than that. The film is saying, yeah, he was preoccupied, but you can’t write it off as just being preoccupied. It’s way more complicated than that. I don’t know that we’re ever going to get the real answer to it.</p><p><strong>SI</strong>: <em>You’re a sports fan. Did making the movie lead you to any new thoughts about whether big-time sports and universities can coexist?</em></p><p><strong>BL</strong>: There’s a lot at stake for these universities because college football generates so much money, and obviously that element has gotta impact on this situation. The administration, whether consciously or unconsciously, they knew a lot of this information and they looked to cover it up, because it represented a danger to the university on a bunch of levels. That’s what happens. A university is about students, when it’s all said and done. Period. It’s about education. That’s why they were built—they were built to educate. But with this amount of money involved, you can start to see how this happens. <em>How do we cover this up? Maybe it will go away. </em>You see these mechanics play out, as we show it.</p><p><strong>SI</strong>: <em>One of the most unpleasant (and dead-on) scenes is the movie is one in which a mob of Penn State students shows up at Paterno’s house and chants his name. Scott Paterno goes out and tries to get them to say a prayer for the victims, and all they do is start chanting his name. </em></p><p><strong>BL</strong>: He was there forever; he was like the father to those students. Without them having all the information, they do this thing to protect the father. It’s obviously a misjudgment, but we do react emotionally before we react in a more thoughtful manner.</p><p><strong>SI</strong>: Paterno <em>is being released at a moment of great cultural reckoning surrounding silence and abuse—though it was shot before that moment was really underway. Does the #MeToo movement make you reevaluate anything about it?</em></p><p><strong>BL</strong>: One of the points of the movie is, <em>Look what happens when a voice is not heard</em>. When the first victim stepped forward, if the authorities would have paid attention and done the necessary investigation, then nothing else would have happened beyond it. But it was ignored, and it becomes this scandal. The reason things are happening now is that so many people have been ignored for so long that it explodes.</p>
Inside the Making of the New HBO Movie, 'Paterno'

On March 31, it’ll be seven years since the Patriot-News of Harrisburg, Pa., ran a little-noticed story with this headline: “Jerry Sandusky, former Penn State football staffer, subject of grand jury investigation.” The investigation in question soon mushroomed, revealing sexual abuse dating back decades and a wide-ranging cover-up: Sandusky, the former Nittany Lions defensive coordinator, would be found guilty of molesting 10 boys; three university administrators would be sentenced to prison terms for child endangerment; and legendary head coach Joe Paterno would be fired, two months before dying from lung cancer, his honor comprehensively tarnished.

The heady two weeks that followed Sandusky’s Nov. 4, 2011 indictment are the subject of a new HBO movie, Paterno, which airs April 7. Al Pacino plays Paterno, and Oscar winner Barry Levinson (The Natural; Rain Man) directs. SI spoke with Levinson on Friday. The following interview has been condensed and edited.

?

SI: The Penn State story is pretty fresh in a lot of people’s minds—why give it a fictional treatment now?

Barry Levinson: I’m interested in what went wrong: What is the failure of the system and the people we look to as those in charge and those responsible? In this case, there wasn’t anyone more revered than Joe Paterno—the winningest coach in the history of football, the educator, the humanitarian. This all happened in his backyard. What went on? To me, that’s a perfect story, to ask, Gee, what happened? It’s not just some coach. This is a man who was honored and revered. What happened? You try to explore that and convey that to an audience.

SI: For a work of fiction, the movie hews surprisingly closely to the facts of the case.

BL: We’re doing a film in a sense, which is taking place in the 35 minutes that he’s inside of an MRI machine, looking layer by layer at this man. But the story is really confined to the events of that two-week period, and so we had to do that, double-checking the dates and getting some factual information straight, with HBO and all these lawyers involved.

?

SI: A lot of the movie has to do with how Paterno’s family reacts to the scandal, and how harshly his children come to judge him after Paterno’s past inaction is revealed. I remember them at the time, though, serving as his strong defenders. How did you settle on that portrayal?

One of the many sources we used as research for this film is a book—Paterno, by Joe Posnanski—which is written by someone who was actually there and met with him. Because we’re dealing with the beginnings and with the shock of it all, they were surprised, obviously, and they’re trying to figure out what’s going on as the media is running all of these various stories. The book has some elements dealing with that section of time, and we based it off those.

SI: One of the topics that is not explored in the movie (since it covers such a short period) is the contentious years-long battle over Paterno’s culpability and legacy. Your film comes down pretty firmly on the side that he should have done more to stop Sandusky—do you anticipate a backlash from the Paterno loyalists?

BL: You would assume that that would be the case, because there are some that don’t want to hear anything. But I think we’re being very journalistic: This is the information that in fact exists. We’re not making up these stories. This is what exists. You would hope that people can look at it, and realize that we’ve put quite a bit of time and research into it. This isn’t some kind of movie where we have an agenda—we’re trying to tell the story of the information as it laid out. That’s all you can do. You try to show the man in all lights, you know? In some ways, that’s the tragedy of it.

SI: This is your second based-on-a-true-story film for HBO in as many years; in 2017 you directed The Wizard of Lies, about Bernie Madoff. Do you see any overlap between Paterno and Madoff?

BL: They’re different characters. Bernie was less of a people person, quite removed. Paterno was warmer, more emotional. And with Paterno it’s more complicated. Some of the things he did, his beliefs in education, and all of these things in terms of character, and all of that stuff, that’s part of his legacy. And yet, how does he ignore these warnings—how does he ignore this information? How? Why? What happened? That’s what makes it interesting, the why.

SI: After watching the movie, it seems your answer as to the why is that he was preoccupied.

BL: It’s more complicated than that. The film is saying, yeah, he was preoccupied, but you can’t write it off as just being preoccupied. It’s way more complicated than that. I don’t know that we’re ever going to get the real answer to it.

SI: You’re a sports fan. Did making the movie lead you to any new thoughts about whether big-time sports and universities can coexist?

BL: There’s a lot at stake for these universities because college football generates so much money, and obviously that element has gotta impact on this situation. The administration, whether consciously or unconsciously, they knew a lot of this information and they looked to cover it up, because it represented a danger to the university on a bunch of levels. That’s what happens. A university is about students, when it’s all said and done. Period. It’s about education. That’s why they were built—they were built to educate. But with this amount of money involved, you can start to see how this happens. How do we cover this up? Maybe it will go away. You see these mechanics play out, as we show it.

SI: One of the most unpleasant (and dead-on) scenes is the movie is one in which a mob of Penn State students shows up at Paterno’s house and chants his name. Scott Paterno goes out and tries to get them to say a prayer for the victims, and all they do is start chanting his name.

BL: He was there forever; he was like the father to those students. Without them having all the information, they do this thing to protect the father. It’s obviously a misjudgment, but we do react emotionally before we react in a more thoughtful manner.

SI: Paterno is being released at a moment of great cultural reckoning surrounding silence and abuse—though it was shot before that moment was really underway. Does the #MeToo movement make you reevaluate anything about it?

BL: One of the points of the movie is, Look what happens when a voice is not heard. When the first victim stepped forward, if the authorities would have paid attention and done the necessary investigation, then nothing else would have happened beyond it. But it was ignored, and it becomes this scandal. The reason things are happening now is that so many people have been ignored for so long that it explodes.

<p>On March 31, it’ll be seven years since the <em>Patriot-News</em> of Harrisburg, Pa., ran a little-noticed story with this headline: “Jerry Sandusky, former Penn State football staffer, subject of grand jury investigation.” The investigation in question soon mushroomed, revealing sexual abuse dating back decades and a wide-ranging cover-up: Sandusky, the former Nittany Lions defensive coordinator, would be found guilty of molesting 10 boys; three university administrators would be sentenced to prison terms for child endangerment; and legendary head coach Joe Paterno would be fired, two months before dying from lung cancer, his honor comprehensively tarnished.</p><p>The heady two weeks that followed Sandusky’s Nov. 4, 2011 indictment are the subject of a new HBO movie, <em>Paterno</em>, which airs April 7. Al Pacino plays Paterno, and Oscar winner Barry Levinson (<em>The Natural</em>; <em>Rain Man</em>) directs. SI spoke with Levinson on Friday. <em>The following interview has been condensed and edited.</em></p><p>?</p><p><strong>SI</strong>: <em>The Penn State story is pretty fresh in a lot of people’s minds—why give it a fictional treatment now?</em></p><p><strong>Barry Levinson</strong>: I’m interested in what went wrong: What is the failure of the system and the people we look to as those in charge and those responsible? In this case, there wasn’t anyone more revered than Joe Paterno—the winningest coach in the history of football, the educator, the humanitarian. This all happened in his backyard. What went on? To me, that’s a perfect story, to ask, <em>Gee, what happened?</em> It’s not just some coach. This is a man who was honored and revered. <em>What happened? </em>You try to explore that and convey that to an audience. </p><p><strong>SI:</strong> <em>For a work of fiction, the movie hews surprisingly closely to the facts of the case.</em></p><p><strong>BL</strong>: We’re doing a film in a sense, which is taking place in the 35 minutes that he’s inside of an MRI machine, looking layer by layer at this man. But the story is really confined to the events of that two-week period, and so we had to do that, double-checking the dates and getting some factual information straight, with HBO and all these lawyers involved.</p><p>?</p><p><strong>SI:</strong> <em>A lot of the movie has to do with how Paterno’s family reacts to the scandal, and how harshly his children come to judge him after Paterno’s past inaction is revealed. I remember them at the time, though, serving as his strong defenders. How did you settle on that portrayal?</em></p><p>One of the many sources we used as research for this film is a book—<em><a href="https://www.amazon.com/Paterno-Joe-Posnanski/dp/1451657501" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Paterno" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Paterno</a>,</em> by Joe Posnanski—which is written by someone who was actually there and met with him. Because we’re dealing with the beginnings and with the shock of it all, they were surprised, obviously, and they’re trying to figure out what’s going on as the media is running all of these various stories. The book has some elements dealing with that section of time, and we based it off those.</p><p><strong>SI: </strong><em>One of the topics that is not explored in the movie (since it covers such a short period) is the contentious years-long battle over Paterno’s culpability and legacy. Your film comes down pretty firmly on the side that he should have done more to stop Sandusky—do you anticipate a backlash from the Paterno loyalists?</em></p><p><strong>BL</strong>: You would assume that that would be the case, because there are some that don’t want to hear anything. But I think we’re being very journalistic: This is the information that in fact exists. We’re not making up these stories. This is what exists. You would hope that people can look at it, and realize that we’ve put quite a bit of time and research into it. This isn’t some kind of movie where we have an agenda—we’re trying to tell the story of the information as it laid out. That’s all you can do. You try to show the man in all lights, you know? In some ways, that’s the tragedy of it.</p><p><strong>SI</strong>: <em>This is your second based-on-a-true-story film for HBO in as many years; in 2017 you directed </em>The Wizard of Lies<em>, </em><em>about Bernie Madoff. Do you see any overlap between Paterno and Madoff?</em></p><p><strong>BL</strong>: They’re different characters. Bernie was less of a people person, quite removed. Paterno was warmer, more emotional. And with Paterno it’s more complicated. Some of the things he did, his beliefs in education, and all of these things in terms of character, and all of that stuff, that’s part of his legacy. And yet, how does he ignore these warnings—how does he ignore this information? How? Why? What happened? That’s what makes it interesting, the why.</p><p><strong>SI</strong>: <em>After watching the movie, it seems your answer as to the why is that he was preoccupied.</em></p><p><strong>BL</strong>: It’s more complicated than that. The film is saying, yeah, he was preoccupied, but you can’t write it off as just being preoccupied. It’s way more complicated than that. I don’t know that we’re ever going to get the real answer to it.</p><p><strong>SI</strong>: <em>You’re a sports fan. Did making the movie lead you to any new thoughts about whether big-time sports and universities can coexist?</em></p><p><strong>BL</strong>: There’s a lot at stake for these universities because college football generates so much money, and obviously that element has gotta impact on this situation. The administration, whether consciously or unconsciously, they knew a lot of this information and they looked to cover it up, because it represented a danger to the university on a bunch of levels. That’s what happens. A university is about students, when it’s all said and done. Period. It’s about education. That’s why they were built—they were built to educate. But with this amount of money involved, you can start to see how this happens. <em>How do we cover this up? Maybe it will go away. </em>You see these mechanics play out, as we show it.</p><p><strong>SI</strong>: <em>One of the most unpleasant (and dead-on) scenes is the movie is one in which a mob of Penn State students shows up at Paterno’s house and chants his name. Scott Paterno goes out and tries to get them to say a prayer for the victims, and all they do is start chanting his name. </em></p><p><strong>BL</strong>: He was there forever; he was like the father to those students. Without them having all the information, they do this thing to protect the father. It’s obviously a misjudgment, but we do react emotionally before we react in a more thoughtful manner.</p><p><strong>SI</strong>: Paterno <em>is being released at a moment of great cultural reckoning surrounding silence and abuse—though it was shot before that moment was really underway. Does the #MeToo movement make you reevaluate anything about it?</em></p><p><strong>BL</strong>: One of the points of the movie is, <em>Look what happens when a voice is not heard</em>. When the first victim stepped forward, if the authorities would have paid attention and done the necessary investigation, then nothing else would have happened beyond it. But it was ignored, and it becomes this scandal. The reason things are happening now is that so many people have been ignored for so long that it explodes.</p>
Inside the Making of the New HBO Movie, 'Paterno'

On March 31, it’ll be seven years since the Patriot-News of Harrisburg, Pa., ran a little-noticed story with this headline: “Jerry Sandusky, former Penn State football staffer, subject of grand jury investigation.” The investigation in question soon mushroomed, revealing sexual abuse dating back decades and a wide-ranging cover-up: Sandusky, the former Nittany Lions defensive coordinator, would be found guilty of molesting 10 boys; three university administrators would be sentenced to prison terms for child endangerment; and legendary head coach Joe Paterno would be fired, two months before dying from lung cancer, his honor comprehensively tarnished.

The heady two weeks that followed Sandusky’s Nov. 4, 2011 indictment are the subject of a new HBO movie, Paterno, which airs April 7. Al Pacino plays Paterno, and Oscar winner Barry Levinson (The Natural; Rain Man) directs. SI spoke with Levinson on Friday. The following interview has been condensed and edited.

?

SI: The Penn State story is pretty fresh in a lot of people’s minds—why give it a fictional treatment now?

Barry Levinson: I’m interested in what went wrong: What is the failure of the system and the people we look to as those in charge and those responsible? In this case, there wasn’t anyone more revered than Joe Paterno—the winningest coach in the history of football, the educator, the humanitarian. This all happened in his backyard. What went on? To me, that’s a perfect story, to ask, Gee, what happened? It’s not just some coach. This is a man who was honored and revered. What happened? You try to explore that and convey that to an audience.

SI: For a work of fiction, the movie hews surprisingly closely to the facts of the case.

BL: We’re doing a film in a sense, which is taking place in the 35 minutes that he’s inside of an MRI machine, looking layer by layer at this man. But the story is really confined to the events of that two-week period, and so we had to do that, double-checking the dates and getting some factual information straight, with HBO and all these lawyers involved.

?

SI: A lot of the movie has to do with how Paterno’s family reacts to the scandal, and how harshly his children come to judge him after Paterno’s past inaction is revealed. I remember them at the time, though, serving as his strong defenders. How did you settle on that portrayal?

One of the many sources we used as research for this film is a book—Paterno, by Joe Posnanski—which is written by someone who was actually there and met with him. Because we’re dealing with the beginnings and with the shock of it all, they were surprised, obviously, and they’re trying to figure out what’s going on as the media is running all of these various stories. The book has some elements dealing with that section of time, and we based it off those.

SI: One of the topics that is not explored in the movie (since it covers such a short period) is the contentious years-long battle over Paterno’s culpability and legacy. Your film comes down pretty firmly on the side that he should have done more to stop Sandusky—do you anticipate a backlash from the Paterno loyalists?

BL: You would assume that that would be the case, because there are some that don’t want to hear anything. But I think we’re being very journalistic: This is the information that in fact exists. We’re not making up these stories. This is what exists. You would hope that people can look at it, and realize that we’ve put quite a bit of time and research into it. This isn’t some kind of movie where we have an agenda—we’re trying to tell the story of the information as it laid out. That’s all you can do. You try to show the man in all lights, you know? In some ways, that’s the tragedy of it.

SI: This is your second based-on-a-true-story film for HBO in as many years; in 2017 you directed The Wizard of Lies, about Bernie Madoff. Do you see any overlap between Paterno and Madoff?

BL: They’re different characters. Bernie was less of a people person, quite removed. Paterno was warmer, more emotional. And with Paterno it’s more complicated. Some of the things he did, his beliefs in education, and all of these things in terms of character, and all of that stuff, that’s part of his legacy. And yet, how does he ignore these warnings—how does he ignore this information? How? Why? What happened? That’s what makes it interesting, the why.

SI: After watching the movie, it seems your answer as to the why is that he was preoccupied.

BL: It’s more complicated than that. The film is saying, yeah, he was preoccupied, but you can’t write it off as just being preoccupied. It’s way more complicated than that. I don’t know that we’re ever going to get the real answer to it.

SI: You’re a sports fan. Did making the movie lead you to any new thoughts about whether big-time sports and universities can coexist?

BL: There’s a lot at stake for these universities because college football generates so much money, and obviously that element has gotta impact on this situation. The administration, whether consciously or unconsciously, they knew a lot of this information and they looked to cover it up, because it represented a danger to the university on a bunch of levels. That’s what happens. A university is about students, when it’s all said and done. Period. It’s about education. That’s why they were built—they were built to educate. But with this amount of money involved, you can start to see how this happens. How do we cover this up? Maybe it will go away. You see these mechanics play out, as we show it.

SI: One of the most unpleasant (and dead-on) scenes is the movie is one in which a mob of Penn State students shows up at Paterno’s house and chants his name. Scott Paterno goes out and tries to get them to say a prayer for the victims, and all they do is start chanting his name.

BL: He was there forever; he was like the father to those students. Without them having all the information, they do this thing to protect the father. It’s obviously a misjudgment, but we do react emotionally before we react in a more thoughtful manner.

SI: Paterno is being released at a moment of great cultural reckoning surrounding silence and abuse—though it was shot before that moment was really underway. Does the #MeToo movement make you reevaluate anything about it?

BL: One of the points of the movie is, Look what happens when a voice is not heard. When the first victim stepped forward, if the authorities would have paid attention and done the necessary investigation, then nothing else would have happened beyond it. But it was ignored, and it becomes this scandal. The reason things are happening now is that so many people have been ignored for so long that it explodes.

<p>On March 31, it’ll be seven years since the <em>Patriot-News</em> of Harrisburg, Pa., ran a little-noticed story with this headline: “Jerry Sandusky, former Penn State football staffer, subject of grand jury investigation.” The investigation in question soon mushroomed, revealing sexual abuse dating back decades and a wide-ranging cover-up: Sandusky, the former Nittany Lions defensive coordinator, would be found guilty of molesting 10 boys; three university administrators would be sentenced to prison terms for child endangerment; and legendary head coach Joe Paterno would be fired, two months before dying from lung cancer, his honor comprehensively tarnished.</p><p>The heady two weeks that followed Sandusky’s Nov. 4, 2011 indictment are the subject of a new HBO movie, <em>Paterno</em>, which airs April 7. Al Pacino plays Paterno, and Oscar winner Barry Levinson (<em>The Natural</em>; <em>Rain Man</em>) directs. SI spoke with Levinson on Friday. <em>The following interview has been condensed and edited.</em></p><p>?</p><p><strong>SI</strong>: <em>The Penn State story is pretty fresh in a lot of people’s minds—why give it a fictional treatment now?</em></p><p><strong>Barry Levinson</strong>: I’m interested in what went wrong: What is the failure of the system and the people we look to as those in charge and those responsible? In this case, there wasn’t anyone more revered than Joe Paterno—the winningest coach in the history of football, the educator, the humanitarian. This all happened in his backyard. What went on? To me, that’s a perfect story, to ask, <em>Gee, what happened?</em> It’s not just some coach. This is a man who was honored and revered. <em>What happened? </em>You try to explore that and convey that to an audience. </p><p><strong>SI:</strong> <em>For a work of fiction, the movie hews surprisingly closely to the facts of the case.</em></p><p><strong>BL</strong>: We’re doing a film in a sense, which is taking place in the 35 minutes that he’s inside of an MRI machine, looking layer by layer at this man. But the story is really confined to the events of that two-week period, and so we had to do that, double-checking the dates and getting some factual information straight, with HBO and all these lawyers involved.</p><p>?</p><p><strong>SI:</strong> <em>A lot of the movie has to do with how Paterno’s family reacts to the scandal, and how harshly his children come to judge him after Paterno’s past inaction is revealed. I remember them at the time, though, serving as his strong defenders. How did you settle on that portrayal?</em></p><p>One of the many sources we used as research for this film is a book—<em><a href="https://www.amazon.com/Paterno-Joe-Posnanski/dp/1451657501" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Paterno" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Paterno</a>,</em> by Joe Posnanski—which is written by someone who was actually there and met with him. Because we’re dealing with the beginnings and with the shock of it all, they were surprised, obviously, and they’re trying to figure out what’s going on as the media is running all of these various stories. The book has some elements dealing with that section of time, and we based it off those.</p><p><strong>SI: </strong><em>One of the topics that is not explored in the movie (since it covers such a short period) is the contentious years-long battle over Paterno’s culpability and legacy. Your film comes down pretty firmly on the side that he should have done more to stop Sandusky—do you anticipate a backlash from the Paterno loyalists?</em></p><p><strong>BL</strong>: You would assume that that would be the case, because there are some that don’t want to hear anything. But I think we’re being very journalistic: This is the information that in fact exists. We’re not making up these stories. This is what exists. You would hope that people can look at it, and realize that we’ve put quite a bit of time and research into it. This isn’t some kind of movie where we have an agenda—we’re trying to tell the story of the information as it laid out. That’s all you can do. You try to show the man in all lights, you know? In some ways, that’s the tragedy of it.</p><p><strong>SI</strong>: <em>This is your second based-on-a-true-story film for HBO in as many years; in 2017 you directed </em>The Wizard of Lies<em>, </em><em>about Bernie Madoff. Do you see any overlap between Paterno and Madoff?</em></p><p><strong>BL</strong>: They’re different characters. Bernie was less of a people person, quite removed. Paterno was warmer, more emotional. And with Paterno it’s more complicated. Some of the things he did, his beliefs in education, and all of these things in terms of character, and all of that stuff, that’s part of his legacy. And yet, how does he ignore these warnings—how does he ignore this information? How? Why? What happened? That’s what makes it interesting, the why.</p><p><strong>SI</strong>: <em>After watching the movie, it seems your answer as to the why is that he was preoccupied.</em></p><p><strong>BL</strong>: It’s more complicated than that. The film is saying, yeah, he was preoccupied, but you can’t write it off as just being preoccupied. It’s way more complicated than that. I don’t know that we’re ever going to get the real answer to it.</p><p><strong>SI</strong>: <em>You’re a sports fan. Did making the movie lead you to any new thoughts about whether big-time sports and universities can coexist?</em></p><p><strong>BL</strong>: There’s a lot at stake for these universities because college football generates so much money, and obviously that element has gotta impact on this situation. The administration, whether consciously or unconsciously, they knew a lot of this information and they looked to cover it up, because it represented a danger to the university on a bunch of levels. That’s what happens. A university is about students, when it’s all said and done. Period. It’s about education. That’s why they were built—they were built to educate. But with this amount of money involved, you can start to see how this happens. <em>How do we cover this up? Maybe it will go away. </em>You see these mechanics play out, as we show it.</p><p><strong>SI</strong>: <em>One of the most unpleasant (and dead-on) scenes is the movie is one in which a mob of Penn State students shows up at Paterno’s house and chants his name. Scott Paterno goes out and tries to get them to say a prayer for the victims, and all they do is start chanting his name. </em></p><p><strong>BL</strong>: He was there forever; he was like the father to those students. Without them having all the information, they do this thing to protect the father. It’s obviously a misjudgment, but we do react emotionally before we react in a more thoughtful manner.</p><p><strong>SI</strong>: Paterno <em>is being released at a moment of great cultural reckoning surrounding silence and abuse—though it was shot before that moment was really underway. Does the #MeToo movement make you reevaluate anything about it?</em></p><p><strong>BL</strong>: One of the points of the movie is, <em>Look what happens when a voice is not heard</em>. When the first victim stepped forward, if the authorities would have paid attention and done the necessary investigation, then nothing else would have happened beyond it. But it was ignored, and it becomes this scandal. The reason things are happening now is that so many people have been ignored for so long that it explodes.</p>
Inside the Making of the New HBO Movie, 'Paterno'

On March 31, it’ll be seven years since the Patriot-News of Harrisburg, Pa., ran a little-noticed story with this headline: “Jerry Sandusky, former Penn State football staffer, subject of grand jury investigation.” The investigation in question soon mushroomed, revealing sexual abuse dating back decades and a wide-ranging cover-up: Sandusky, the former Nittany Lions defensive coordinator, would be found guilty of molesting 10 boys; three university administrators would be sentenced to prison terms for child endangerment; and legendary head coach Joe Paterno would be fired, two months before dying from lung cancer, his honor comprehensively tarnished.

The heady two weeks that followed Sandusky’s Nov. 4, 2011 indictment are the subject of a new HBO movie, Paterno, which airs April 7. Al Pacino plays Paterno, and Oscar winner Barry Levinson (The Natural; Rain Man) directs. SI spoke with Levinson on Friday. The following interview has been condensed and edited.

?

SI: The Penn State story is pretty fresh in a lot of people’s minds—why give it a fictional treatment now?

Barry Levinson: I’m interested in what went wrong: What is the failure of the system and the people we look to as those in charge and those responsible? In this case, there wasn’t anyone more revered than Joe Paterno—the winningest coach in the history of football, the educator, the humanitarian. This all happened in his backyard. What went on? To me, that’s a perfect story, to ask, Gee, what happened? It’s not just some coach. This is a man who was honored and revered. What happened? You try to explore that and convey that to an audience.

SI: For a work of fiction, the movie hews surprisingly closely to the facts of the case.

BL: We’re doing a film in a sense, which is taking place in the 35 minutes that he’s inside of an MRI machine, looking layer by layer at this man. But the story is really confined to the events of that two-week period, and so we had to do that, double-checking the dates and getting some factual information straight, with HBO and all these lawyers involved.

?

SI: A lot of the movie has to do with how Paterno’s family reacts to the scandal, and how harshly his children come to judge him after Paterno’s past inaction is revealed. I remember them at the time, though, serving as his strong defenders. How did you settle on that portrayal?

One of the many sources we used as research for this film is a book—Paterno, by Joe Posnanski—which is written by someone who was actually there and met with him. Because we’re dealing with the beginnings and with the shock of it all, they were surprised, obviously, and they’re trying to figure out what’s going on as the media is running all of these various stories. The book has some elements dealing with that section of time, and we based it off those.

SI: One of the topics that is not explored in the movie (since it covers such a short period) is the contentious years-long battle over Paterno’s culpability and legacy. Your film comes down pretty firmly on the side that he should have done more to stop Sandusky—do you anticipate a backlash from the Paterno loyalists?

BL: You would assume that that would be the case, because there are some that don’t want to hear anything. But I think we’re being very journalistic: This is the information that in fact exists. We’re not making up these stories. This is what exists. You would hope that people can look at it, and realize that we’ve put quite a bit of time and research into it. This isn’t some kind of movie where we have an agenda—we’re trying to tell the story of the information as it laid out. That’s all you can do. You try to show the man in all lights, you know? In some ways, that’s the tragedy of it.

SI: This is your second based-on-a-true-story film for HBO in as many years; in 2017 you directed The Wizard of Lies, about Bernie Madoff. Do you see any overlap between Paterno and Madoff?

BL: They’re different characters. Bernie was less of a people person, quite removed. Paterno was warmer, more emotional. And with Paterno it’s more complicated. Some of the things he did, his beliefs in education, and all of these things in terms of character, and all of that stuff, that’s part of his legacy. And yet, how does he ignore these warnings—how does he ignore this information? How? Why? What happened? That’s what makes it interesting, the why.

SI: After watching the movie, it seems your answer as to the why is that he was preoccupied.

BL: It’s more complicated than that. The film is saying, yeah, he was preoccupied, but you can’t write it off as just being preoccupied. It’s way more complicated than that. I don’t know that we’re ever going to get the real answer to it.

SI: You’re a sports fan. Did making the movie lead you to any new thoughts about whether big-time sports and universities can coexist?

BL: There’s a lot at stake for these universities because college football generates so much money, and obviously that element has gotta impact on this situation. The administration, whether consciously or unconsciously, they knew a lot of this information and they looked to cover it up, because it represented a danger to the university on a bunch of levels. That’s what happens. A university is about students, when it’s all said and done. Period. It’s about education. That’s why they were built—they were built to educate. But with this amount of money involved, you can start to see how this happens. How do we cover this up? Maybe it will go away. You see these mechanics play out, as we show it.

SI: One of the most unpleasant (and dead-on) scenes is the movie is one in which a mob of Penn State students shows up at Paterno’s house and chants his name. Scott Paterno goes out and tries to get them to say a prayer for the victims, and all they do is start chanting his name.

BL: He was there forever; he was like the father to those students. Without them having all the information, they do this thing to protect the father. It’s obviously a misjudgment, but we do react emotionally before we react in a more thoughtful manner.

SI: Paterno is being released at a moment of great cultural reckoning surrounding silence and abuse—though it was shot before that moment was really underway. Does the #MeToo movement make you reevaluate anything about it?

BL: One of the points of the movie is, Look what happens when a voice is not heard. When the first victim stepped forward, if the authorities would have paid attention and done the necessary investigation, then nothing else would have happened beyond it. But it was ignored, and it becomes this scandal. The reason things are happening now is that so many people have been ignored for so long that it explodes.

HBO announces premiere date, releases extended trailer for Joe Paterno movie
HBO announces premiere date, releases extended trailer for Joe Paterno movie
HBO announces premiere date, releases extended trailer for Joe Paterno movie
<p>Six weeks before it is set to premiere, HBO has released the full trailer for its film <em>Paterno</em> about the Penn State Jerry Sandusky child abuse scandal starring Al Pacino. </p><p>Pacino plays disgraced former Nittany Lions head coach Joe Paterno in the movie, which will premiere on April 7. </p><p>The film also features Kathy Baker as Paterno’s wife, Sue, Jim Johnson as Sandusky and Riley Keough as Sara Ganim, the reporter for <em>The Patriot-News</em> who broke the Sandusky story.</p><p>Paterno was fired in November 2011 as the scandal grew and died of lung cancer in January 2012. </p><p>New evidence unearthed in September by CNN suggests <a href="https://www.si.com/college-football/2017/09/09/joe-paterno-penn-state-football-jerry-sandusky-abuse" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Paterno was more complicit in Sandusky’s crimes than initially believed" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Paterno was more complicit in Sandusky’s crimes than initially believed</a>. When whistleblower Mike McQueary told Paterno he’d seen Sandusky raping a boy in a Penn State shower Paterno said it was the second such complaint he’d heard about Sandusky, according to a police report. Paterno had previously said that he hadn’t known of Sandusky’s actions before McQueary’s complaint. </p>
HBO Releases Full Trailer for ‘Paterno’ Movie, Announces Release Date

Six weeks before it is set to premiere, HBO has released the full trailer for its film Paterno about the Penn State Jerry Sandusky child abuse scandal starring Al Pacino.

Pacino plays disgraced former Nittany Lions head coach Joe Paterno in the movie, which will premiere on April 7.

The film also features Kathy Baker as Paterno’s wife, Sue, Jim Johnson as Sandusky and Riley Keough as Sara Ganim, the reporter for The Patriot-News who broke the Sandusky story.

Paterno was fired in November 2011 as the scandal grew and died of lung cancer in January 2012.

New evidence unearthed in September by CNN suggests Paterno was more complicit in Sandusky’s crimes than initially believed. When whistleblower Mike McQueary told Paterno he’d seen Sandusky raping a boy in a Penn State shower Paterno said it was the second such complaint he’d heard about Sandusky, according to a police report. Paterno had previously said that he hadn’t known of Sandusky’s actions before McQueary’s complaint.

<p><em>The MMQB is on the road to Super Bowl 52. Follow along on <a href="https://twitter.com/theMMQB" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Twitter" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Twitter</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/TheMMQB/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Facebook" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Facebook</a> and <a href="https://www.instagram.com/themmqb/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Instagram" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Instagram</a> and find <a href="https://www.si.com/column/Road+to+Super+Bowl+52" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:all of our road trip content here" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">all of our road trip content here</a>.</em></p><p>DETROIT — The only sign that this was once a football field, let alone one that produced a player headed for the Super Bowl, is a solitary goalpost. It’s standing alone in a city park that’s more dirt than grass, covered with goose droppings and discarded tires, just off I-75 about a mile from Ford Field. Even when football was played here, the grass was mostly gone before football season; at the 2-yard line was a block of cement, the leftover base of an old pole, which they’d push some dirt on top of every time they took the field.</p><p>This was the old site of Crockett Tech High School, the school itself consisting of a portable trailer. In the afternoons, students would walk across the parking lot to take classes at the adjacent vo-tech center. There were no lights surrounding the dirt field, so football games were usually played at 3:30 p.m.; when practices ran past sunset as the fall days grew shorter, parents would help light the field with the headlights of their cars.</p><p>“This produced teachers, lawyers, accountants, a host of college players, NFL players … from a trailer park,” says Tim Hopkins, a former associate head coach and defensive coordinator for Crockett, gesturing out over on the field on a Saturday morning in January. “The little engine that could. That was the backdrop for where Brandon Graham played.”</p><p>Graham is now a pillar of an Eagles team riding its underdog status to Super Bowl LII, a playmaking defensive end who has lent both his ability (9.5 sacks) and his mentality to a team that hasn’t been favored to win any game this postseason. Years earlier, Graham was the heart of another underdog squad—the Crockett Rockets. Most of his old field is gone now, the space mostly occupied by an indoor cycling track. But enough remains for it to be a time capsule of the years that helped produce one of the most impactful Eagles players.</p><p>“Wow,” Graham wrote in reply to a photo of the field posted on The MMQB’s Instagram stories, “that brought back memories right there.”</p><p>Crockett had been open less than 10 years when Graham enrolled in 2002; its football program had only been around six years. In Detroit, many ninth-graders choose to still play with their little league teams. But as a freshman, Graham had long since outgrown the level of competition of the Eastside Giants. After his father, Darrick Walton, brought him to meet with the high school coaches, Graham joined Crockett’s varsity squad.</p><p>A high school operating out of a trailer certainly didn’t have football facilities. Players changed for practices and games in a hallway located in the basement of the middle school next door. They had a few rows of bleachers around the field, but no way to fence them off, so they couldn’t charge admission for the games.</p><p>“Today’s players would never survive what he had to go through just a little over 10 years ago,” says Rod Oden, an assistant who took over as Crockett’s head coach for Graham’s senior season.</p><p>The roster was thin, around 25 players, barely enough to run 11-on-11 drills in practice. Everyone played both ways. Graham was a middle linebacker, offensive guard, placekicker and punter. Knowing opponents would be afraid to tackle him, the coaches would wink his direction when they wanted to send him on a fake punt. It’s an impossible stat to verify now, but Hopkins reports that Graham scored on the fakes “about 98% of the time.”</p><p>Crockett’s fledgling football program didn’t attract top colleges early on. Hopkins jokes that the recruiters from bigtime programs would get off I-75 to go to the McDonald’s catty-cornered to Crockett, then get back on the interstate and drive off to Cass Tech or King High School, the more established programs nearby with better resources. By the time Graham got there, that was just beginning to change. There was a group of D1 recruits a few years ahead of him; Hopkins recalls the late Joe Paterno sitting in a tiny room in that infamous Crockett trailer pitching a defensive lineman named Ed Johnson to come to Penn State. A few years later, Michigan’s Lloyd Carr came calling for Graham.</p><p>Graham blossomed into the top-ranked player in the state his junior season, a 6' 2", 240-pound linebacker who could out-run most of the running backs they faced (he would later be clocked at 4.43 seconds in the 40-yard dash at a Nike summer camp). The Crockett coaches had a policy that each season the players had to earn the “C” they wore on their helmets, by meeting certain performance or effort benchmarks. These were marks Graham would easily meet, but one year, he told his teammates that neither he nor anyone else on defense would wear the emblem until everyone earned it. So for the first couple games of the season, the best high-school player in Michigan played with a blank helmet.</p><p>In 2004, Graham led Crockett to an undefeated regular season and the school’s first Detroit Public School League title (they went on to lose to powerhouse Jackson Lumen Christi in the state semifinals). The areas where Crockett lacked, they used as motivation and found ways to compensate. That sounds a lot like Graham’s current team, which has overcome the loss of a starting quarterback, starting left tackle, top linebacker, most versatile running back, core special-teamer, etc., to nonetheless reach the Super Bowl.</p><p>“I remember the grind and how we were a tight-knit family because of the numbers we had at Crockett,” Graham wrote over social media. “It taught me to appreciate everything because we didn’t have much, but we maximized what we had to accomplish so much.”</p><p>Crockett relocated to an old middle school building for Graham’s senior year, and closed its doors altogether in 2012. That building now stands vacant and overgrown, a visible reminder of Detroit’s struggling public school system. Nearby in the east Detroit neighborhood where Graham grew up, though, is East English Preparatory Academy, which opened after Crockett closed and is where Oden now coaches.</p><p>Graham never walked these hallways, but the school is a few blocks from where he used to live, and he makes a point to visit several times a year. He hosts summer sports camps for both boys and girls with his wife, Carlyne, whom he met at Crockett; he’ll sometimes even work out with the football players in their gym where not all the dumbbells have a match. A few years ago, Graham surprised the East English team with new home and away uniforms; last year, he donated 60 helmets from Xenith, a Detroit-based company that has produced several of the top-performing helmets on the market.</p><p>“Brandon doesn’t fill up his camps with the kids that are super studs,” Oden says. “He wants the kids who will sign up on their own, get up at 8 a.m. and come here and give a great effort, regardless of skill level.”</p><p>Graham didn’t enter the NFL as an underdog, but when the first-round draft pick out of Michigan in 2010 struggled with injuries and scheme changes his first few years in the league, he took on the “bust” label as a personal challenge. He’s flourished the past two seasons as a 4-3 defensive end in Jim Schwartz’s system, but that proverbial chip on his shoulder that he’s carried in different ways his entire career is quite befitting of an Eagles team that cut through the NFC playoffs as a rare home ‘dog.</p><p>This weekend, against Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and the heavily favored, five-time champion New England Patriots, Graham's former coaches are expecting to see that old Crockett mindset rear itself in the trenches. Hopkins got choked up while pulling up to that old Crockett field where the players would run so hard the goose droppings would become mulch and they’d go home after practices and games with dirt in their noses.</p><p>“New England in Brandon’s mind is like playing King or Cass,” Hopkins says. “There’s so much synergy in the fact that the Eagles are using that underdog mantra to catapult themselves to the Super Bowl. That team is taking on the façade of a Crockett team.”</p><p>Graham, who was back in Philadelphia preparing for the team’s charter flight to Minneapolis, agreed with this premise. “That’s exactly right,” he wrote. Graham and the Eagles know that if they win this weekend, they can no longer claim that underdog status; but, they only need it for one more game.</p>
Brandon Graham, an Underdog Since His High School Years in Detroit

The MMQB is on the road to Super Bowl 52. Follow along on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and find all of our road trip content here.

DETROIT — The only sign that this was once a football field, let alone one that produced a player headed for the Super Bowl, is a solitary goalpost. It’s standing alone in a city park that’s more dirt than grass, covered with goose droppings and discarded tires, just off I-75 about a mile from Ford Field. Even when football was played here, the grass was mostly gone before football season; at the 2-yard line was a block of cement, the leftover base of an old pole, which they’d push some dirt on top of every time they took the field.

This was the old site of Crockett Tech High School, the school itself consisting of a portable trailer. In the afternoons, students would walk across the parking lot to take classes at the adjacent vo-tech center. There were no lights surrounding the dirt field, so football games were usually played at 3:30 p.m.; when practices ran past sunset as the fall days grew shorter, parents would help light the field with the headlights of their cars.

“This produced teachers, lawyers, accountants, a host of college players, NFL players … from a trailer park,” says Tim Hopkins, a former associate head coach and defensive coordinator for Crockett, gesturing out over on the field on a Saturday morning in January. “The little engine that could. That was the backdrop for where Brandon Graham played.”

Graham is now a pillar of an Eagles team riding its underdog status to Super Bowl LII, a playmaking defensive end who has lent both his ability (9.5 sacks) and his mentality to a team that hasn’t been favored to win any game this postseason. Years earlier, Graham was the heart of another underdog squad—the Crockett Rockets. Most of his old field is gone now, the space mostly occupied by an indoor cycling track. But enough remains for it to be a time capsule of the years that helped produce one of the most impactful Eagles players.

“Wow,” Graham wrote in reply to a photo of the field posted on The MMQB’s Instagram stories, “that brought back memories right there.”

Crockett had been open less than 10 years when Graham enrolled in 2002; its football program had only been around six years. In Detroit, many ninth-graders choose to still play with their little league teams. But as a freshman, Graham had long since outgrown the level of competition of the Eastside Giants. After his father, Darrick Walton, brought him to meet with the high school coaches, Graham joined Crockett’s varsity squad.

A high school operating out of a trailer certainly didn’t have football facilities. Players changed for practices and games in a hallway located in the basement of the middle school next door. They had a few rows of bleachers around the field, but no way to fence them off, so they couldn’t charge admission for the games.

“Today’s players would never survive what he had to go through just a little over 10 years ago,” says Rod Oden, an assistant who took over as Crockett’s head coach for Graham’s senior season.

The roster was thin, around 25 players, barely enough to run 11-on-11 drills in practice. Everyone played both ways. Graham was a middle linebacker, offensive guard, placekicker and punter. Knowing opponents would be afraid to tackle him, the coaches would wink his direction when they wanted to send him on a fake punt. It’s an impossible stat to verify now, but Hopkins reports that Graham scored on the fakes “about 98% of the time.”

Crockett’s fledgling football program didn’t attract top colleges early on. Hopkins jokes that the recruiters from bigtime programs would get off I-75 to go to the McDonald’s catty-cornered to Crockett, then get back on the interstate and drive off to Cass Tech or King High School, the more established programs nearby with better resources. By the time Graham got there, that was just beginning to change. There was a group of D1 recruits a few years ahead of him; Hopkins recalls the late Joe Paterno sitting in a tiny room in that infamous Crockett trailer pitching a defensive lineman named Ed Johnson to come to Penn State. A few years later, Michigan’s Lloyd Carr came calling for Graham.

Graham blossomed into the top-ranked player in the state his junior season, a 6' 2", 240-pound linebacker who could out-run most of the running backs they faced (he would later be clocked at 4.43 seconds in the 40-yard dash at a Nike summer camp). The Crockett coaches had a policy that each season the players had to earn the “C” they wore on their helmets, by meeting certain performance or effort benchmarks. These were marks Graham would easily meet, but one year, he told his teammates that neither he nor anyone else on defense would wear the emblem until everyone earned it. So for the first couple games of the season, the best high-school player in Michigan played with a blank helmet.

In 2004, Graham led Crockett to an undefeated regular season and the school’s first Detroit Public School League title (they went on to lose to powerhouse Jackson Lumen Christi in the state semifinals). The areas where Crockett lacked, they used as motivation and found ways to compensate. That sounds a lot like Graham’s current team, which has overcome the loss of a starting quarterback, starting left tackle, top linebacker, most versatile running back, core special-teamer, etc., to nonetheless reach the Super Bowl.

“I remember the grind and how we were a tight-knit family because of the numbers we had at Crockett,” Graham wrote over social media. “It taught me to appreciate everything because we didn’t have much, but we maximized what we had to accomplish so much.”

Crockett relocated to an old middle school building for Graham’s senior year, and closed its doors altogether in 2012. That building now stands vacant and overgrown, a visible reminder of Detroit’s struggling public school system. Nearby in the east Detroit neighborhood where Graham grew up, though, is East English Preparatory Academy, which opened after Crockett closed and is where Oden now coaches.

Graham never walked these hallways, but the school is a few blocks from where he used to live, and he makes a point to visit several times a year. He hosts summer sports camps for both boys and girls with his wife, Carlyne, whom he met at Crockett; he’ll sometimes even work out with the football players in their gym where not all the dumbbells have a match. A few years ago, Graham surprised the East English team with new home and away uniforms; last year, he donated 60 helmets from Xenith, a Detroit-based company that has produced several of the top-performing helmets on the market.

“Brandon doesn’t fill up his camps with the kids that are super studs,” Oden says. “He wants the kids who will sign up on their own, get up at 8 a.m. and come here and give a great effort, regardless of skill level.”

Graham didn’t enter the NFL as an underdog, but when the first-round draft pick out of Michigan in 2010 struggled with injuries and scheme changes his first few years in the league, he took on the “bust” label as a personal challenge. He’s flourished the past two seasons as a 4-3 defensive end in Jim Schwartz’s system, but that proverbial chip on his shoulder that he’s carried in different ways his entire career is quite befitting of an Eagles team that cut through the NFC playoffs as a rare home ‘dog.

This weekend, against Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and the heavily favored, five-time champion New England Patriots, Graham's former coaches are expecting to see that old Crockett mindset rear itself in the trenches. Hopkins got choked up while pulling up to that old Crockett field where the players would run so hard the goose droppings would become mulch and they’d go home after practices and games with dirt in their noses.

“New England in Brandon’s mind is like playing King or Cass,” Hopkins says. “There’s so much synergy in the fact that the Eagles are using that underdog mantra to catapult themselves to the Super Bowl. That team is taking on the façade of a Crockett team.”

Graham, who was back in Philadelphia preparing for the team’s charter flight to Minneapolis, agreed with this premise. “That’s exactly right,” he wrote. Graham and the Eagles know that if they win this weekend, they can no longer claim that underdog status; but, they only need it for one more game.

<p><em>The MMQB is on the road to Super Bowl 52. Follow along on <a href="https://twitter.com/theMMQB" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Twitter" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Twitter</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/TheMMQB/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Facebook" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Facebook</a> and <a href="https://www.instagram.com/themmqb/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Instagram" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Instagram</a> and find <a href="https://www.si.com/column/Road+to+Super+Bowl+52" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:all of our road trip content here" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">all of our road trip content here</a>.</em></p><p>DETROIT — The only sign that this was once a football field, let alone one that produced a player headed for the Super Bowl, is a solitary goalpost. It’s standing alone in a city park that’s more dirt than grass, covered with goose droppings and discarded tires, just off I-75 about a mile from Ford Field. Even when football was played here, the grass was mostly gone before football season; at the 2-yard line was a block of cement, the leftover base of an old pole, which they’d push some dirt on top of every time they took the field.</p><p>This was the old site of Crockett Tech High School, the school itself consisting of a portable trailer. In the afternoons, students would walk across the parking lot to take classes at the adjacent vo-tech center. There were no lights surrounding the dirt field, so football games were usually played at 3:30 p.m.; when practices ran past sunset as the fall days grew shorter, parents would help light the field with the headlights of their cars.</p><p>“This produced teachers, lawyers, accountants, a host of college players, NFL players … from a trailer park,” says Tim Hopkins, a former associate head coach and defensive coordinator for Crockett, gesturing out over on the field on a Saturday morning in January. “The little engine that could. That was the backdrop for where Brandon Graham played.”</p><p>Graham is now a pillar of an Eagles team riding its underdog status to Super Bowl LII, a playmaking defensive end who has lent both his ability (9.5 sacks) and his mentality to a team that hasn’t been favored to win any game this postseason. Years earlier, Graham was the heart of another underdog squad—the Crockett Rockets. Most of his old field is gone now, the space mostly occupied by an indoor cycling track. But enough remains for it to be a time capsule of the years that helped produce one of the most impactful Eagles players.</p><p>“Wow,” Graham wrote in reply to a photo of the field posted on The MMQB’s Instagram stories, “that brought back memories right there.”</p><p>Crockett had been open less than 10 years when Graham enrolled in 2002; its football program had only been around six years. In Detroit, many ninth-graders choose to still play with their little league teams. But as a freshman, Graham had long since outgrown the level of competition of the Eastside Giants. After his father, Darrick Walton, brought him to meet with the high school coaches, Graham joined Crockett’s varsity squad.</p><p>A high school operating out of a trailer certainly didn’t have football facilities. Players changed for practices and games in a hallway located in the basement of the middle school next door. They had a few rows of bleachers around the field, but no way to fence them off, so they couldn’t charge admission for the games.</p><p>“Today’s players would never survive what he had to go through just a little over 10 years ago,” says Rod Oden, an assistant who took over as Crockett’s head coach for Graham’s senior season.</p><p>The roster was thin, around 25 players, barely enough to run 11-on-11 drills in practice. Everyone played both ways. Graham was a middle linebacker, offensive guard, placekicker and punter. Knowing opponents would be afraid to tackle him, the coaches would wink his direction when they wanted to send him on a fake punt. It’s an impossible stat to verify now, but Hopkins reports that Graham scored on the fakes “about 98% of the time.”</p><p>Crockett’s fledgling football program didn’t attract top colleges early on. Hopkins jokes that the recruiters from bigtime programs would get off I-75 to go to the McDonald’s catty-cornered to Crockett, then get back on the interstate and drive off to Cass Tech or King High School, the more established programs nearby with better resources. By the time Graham got there, that was just beginning to change. There was a group of D1 recruits a few years ahead of him; Hopkins recalls the late Joe Paterno sitting in a tiny room in that infamous Crockett trailer pitching a defensive lineman named Ed Johnson to come to Penn State. A few years later, Michigan’s Lloyd Carr came calling for Graham.</p><p>Graham blossomed into the top-ranked player in the state his junior season, a 6' 2", 240-pound linebacker who could out-run most of the running backs they faced (he would later be clocked at 4.43 seconds in the 40-yard dash at a Nike summer camp). The Crockett coaches had a policy that each season the players had to earn the “C” they wore on their helmets, by meeting certain performance or effort benchmarks. These were marks Graham would easily meet, but one year, he told his teammates that neither he nor anyone else on defense would wear the emblem until everyone earned it. So for the first couple games of the season, the best high-school player in Michigan played with a blank helmet.</p><p>In 2004, Graham led Crockett to an undefeated regular season and the school’s first Detroit Public School League title (they went on to lose to powerhouse Jackson Lumen Christi in the state semifinals). The areas where Crockett lacked, they used as motivation and found ways to compensate. That sounds a lot like Graham’s current team, which has overcome the loss of a starting quarterback, starting left tackle, top linebacker, most versatile running back, core special-teamer, etc., to nonetheless reach the Super Bowl.</p><p>“I remember the grind and how we were a tight-knit family because of the numbers we had at Crockett,” Graham wrote over social media. “It taught me to appreciate everything because we didn’t have much, but we maximized what we had to accomplish so much.”</p><p>Crockett relocated to an old middle school building for Graham’s senior year, and closed its doors altogether in 2012. That building now stands vacant and overgrown, a visible reminder of Detroit’s struggling public school system. Nearby in the east Detroit neighborhood where Graham grew up, though, is East English Preparatory Academy, which opened after Crockett closed and is where Oden now coaches.</p><p>Graham never walked these hallways, but the school is a few blocks from where he used to live, and he makes a point to visit several times a year. He hosts summer sports camps for both boys and girls with his wife, Carlyne, whom he met at Crockett; he’ll sometimes even work out with the football players in their gym where not all the dumbbells have a match. A few years ago, Graham surprised the East English team with new home and away uniforms; last year, he donated 60 helmets from Xenith, a Detroit-based company that has produced several of the top-performing helmets on the market.</p><p>“Brandon doesn’t fill up his camps with the kids that are super studs,” Oden says. “He wants the kids who will sign up on their own, get up at 8 a.m. and come here and give a great effort, regardless of skill level.”</p><p>Graham didn’t enter the NFL as an underdog, but when the first-round draft pick out of Michigan in 2010 struggled with injuries and scheme changes his first few years in the league, he took on the “bust” label as a personal challenge. He’s flourished the past two seasons as a 4-3 defensive end in Jim Schwartz’s system, but that proverbial chip on his shoulder that he’s carried in different ways his entire career is quite befitting of an Eagles team that cut through the NFC playoffs as a rare home ‘dog.</p><p>This weekend, against Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and the heavily favored, five-time champion New England Patriots, Graham's former coaches are expecting to see that old Crockett mindset rear itself in the trenches. Hopkins got choked up while pulling up to that old Crockett field where the players would run so hard the goose droppings would become mulch and they’d go home after practices and games with dirt in their noses.</p><p>“New England in Brandon’s mind is like playing King or Cass,” Hopkins says. “There’s so much synergy in the fact that the Eagles are using that underdog mantra to catapult themselves to the Super Bowl. That team is taking on the façade of a Crockett team.”</p><p>Graham, who was back in Philadelphia preparing for the team’s charter flight to Minneapolis, agreed with this premise. “That’s exactly right,” he wrote. Graham and the Eagles know that if they win this weekend, they can no longer claim that underdog status; but, they only need it for one more game.</p>
Brandon Graham, an Underdog Since His High School Years in Detroit

The MMQB is on the road to Super Bowl 52. Follow along on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and find all of our road trip content here.

DETROIT — The only sign that this was once a football field, let alone one that produced a player headed for the Super Bowl, is a solitary goalpost. It’s standing alone in a city park that’s more dirt than grass, covered with goose droppings and discarded tires, just off I-75 about a mile from Ford Field. Even when football was played here, the grass was mostly gone before football season; at the 2-yard line was a block of cement, the leftover base of an old pole, which they’d push some dirt on top of every time they took the field.

This was the old site of Crockett Tech High School, the school itself consisting of a portable trailer. In the afternoons, students would walk across the parking lot to take classes at the adjacent vo-tech center. There were no lights surrounding the dirt field, so football games were usually played at 3:30 p.m.; when practices ran past sunset as the fall days grew shorter, parents would help light the field with the headlights of their cars.

“This produced teachers, lawyers, accountants, a host of college players, NFL players … from a trailer park,” says Tim Hopkins, a former associate head coach and defensive coordinator for Crockett, gesturing out over on the field on a Saturday morning in January. “The little engine that could. That was the backdrop for where Brandon Graham played.”

Graham is now a pillar of an Eagles team riding its underdog status to Super Bowl LII, a playmaking defensive end who has lent both his ability (9.5 sacks) and his mentality to a team that hasn’t been favored to win any game this postseason. Years earlier, Graham was the heart of another underdog squad—the Crockett Rockets. Most of his old field is gone now, the space mostly occupied by an indoor cycling track. But enough remains for it to be a time capsule of the years that helped produce one of the most impactful Eagles players.

“Wow,” Graham wrote in reply to a photo of the field posted on The MMQB’s Instagram stories, “that brought back memories right there.”

Crockett had been open less than 10 years when Graham enrolled in 2002; its football program had only been around six years. In Detroit, many ninth-graders choose to still play with their little league teams. But as a freshman, Graham had long since outgrown the level of competition of the Eastside Giants. After his father, Darrick Walton, brought him to meet with the high school coaches, Graham joined Crockett’s varsity squad.

A high school operating out of a trailer certainly didn’t have football facilities. Players changed for practices and games in a hallway located in the basement of the middle school next door. They had a few rows of bleachers around the field, but no way to fence them off, so they couldn’t charge admission for the games.

“Today’s players would never survive what he had to go through just a little over 10 years ago,” says Rod Oden, an assistant who took over as Crockett’s head coach for Graham’s senior season.

The roster was thin, around 25 players, barely enough to run 11-on-11 drills in practice. Everyone played both ways. Graham was a middle linebacker, offensive guard, placekicker and punter. Knowing opponents would be afraid to tackle him, the coaches would wink his direction when they wanted to send him on a fake punt. It’s an impossible stat to verify now, but Hopkins reports that Graham scored on the fakes “about 98% of the time.”

Crockett’s fledgling football program didn’t attract top colleges early on. Hopkins jokes that the recruiters from bigtime programs would get off I-75 to go to the McDonald’s catty-cornered to Crockett, then get back on the interstate and drive off to Cass Tech or King High School, the more established programs nearby with better resources. By the time Graham got there, that was just beginning to change. There was a group of D1 recruits a few years ahead of him; Hopkins recalls the late Joe Paterno sitting in a tiny room in that infamous Crockett trailer pitching a defensive lineman named Ed Johnson to come to Penn State. A few years later, Michigan’s Lloyd Carr came calling for Graham.

Graham blossomed into the top-ranked player in the state his junior season, a 6' 2", 240-pound linebacker who could out-run most of the running backs they faced (he would later be clocked at 4.43 seconds in the 40-yard dash at a Nike summer camp). The Crockett coaches had a policy that each season the players had to earn the “C” they wore on their helmets, by meeting certain performance or effort benchmarks. These were marks Graham would easily meet, but one year, he told his teammates that neither he nor anyone else on defense would wear the emblem until everyone earned it. So for the first couple games of the season, the best high-school player in Michigan played with a blank helmet.

In 2004, Graham led Crockett to an undefeated regular season and the school’s first Detroit Public School League title (they went on to lose to powerhouse Jackson Lumen Christi in the state semifinals). The areas where Crockett lacked, they used as motivation and found ways to compensate. That sounds a lot like Graham’s current team, which has overcome the loss of a starting quarterback, starting left tackle, top linebacker, most versatile running back, core special-teamer, etc., to nonetheless reach the Super Bowl.

“I remember the grind and how we were a tight-knit family because of the numbers we had at Crockett,” Graham wrote over social media. “It taught me to appreciate everything because we didn’t have much, but we maximized what we had to accomplish so much.”

Crockett relocated to an old middle school building for Graham’s senior year, and closed its doors altogether in 2012. That building now stands vacant and overgrown, a visible reminder of Detroit’s struggling public school system. Nearby in the east Detroit neighborhood where Graham grew up, though, is East English Preparatory Academy, which opened after Crockett closed and is where Oden now coaches.

Graham never walked these hallways, but the school is a few blocks from where he used to live, and he makes a point to visit several times a year. He hosts summer sports camps for both boys and girls with his wife, Carlyne, whom he met at Crockett; he’ll sometimes even work out with the football players in their gym where not all the dumbbells have a match. A few years ago, Graham surprised the East English team with new home and away uniforms; last year, he donated 60 helmets from Xenith, a Detroit-based company that has produced several of the top-performing helmets on the market.

“Brandon doesn’t fill up his camps with the kids that are super studs,” Oden says. “He wants the kids who will sign up on their own, get up at 8 a.m. and come here and give a great effort, regardless of skill level.”

Graham didn’t enter the NFL as an underdog, but when the first-round draft pick out of Michigan in 2010 struggled with injuries and scheme changes his first few years in the league, he took on the “bust” label as a personal challenge. He’s flourished the past two seasons as a 4-3 defensive end in Jim Schwartz’s system, but that proverbial chip on his shoulder that he’s carried in different ways his entire career is quite befitting of an Eagles team that cut through the NFC playoffs as a rare home ‘dog.

This weekend, against Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and the heavily favored, five-time champion New England Patriots, Graham's former coaches are expecting to see that old Crockett mindset rear itself in the trenches. Hopkins got choked up while pulling up to that old Crockett field where the players would run so hard the goose droppings would become mulch and they’d go home after practices and games with dirt in their noses.

“New England in Brandon’s mind is like playing King or Cass,” Hopkins says. “There’s so much synergy in the fact that the Eagles are using that underdog mantra to catapult themselves to the Super Bowl. That team is taking on the façade of a Crockett team.”

Graham, who was back in Philadelphia preparing for the team’s charter flight to Minneapolis, agreed with this premise. “That’s exactly right,” he wrote. Graham and the Eagles know that if they win this weekend, they can no longer claim that underdog status; but, they only need it for one more game.

<p><em>The MMQB is on the road to Super Bowl 52. Follow along on <a href="https://twitter.com/theMMQB" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Twitter" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Twitter</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/TheMMQB/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Facebook" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Facebook</a> and <a href="https://www.instagram.com/themmqb/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Instagram" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Instagram</a> and find <a href="https://www.si.com/column/Road+to+Super+Bowl+52" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:all of our road trip content here" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">all of our road trip content here</a>.</em></p><p>DETROIT — The only sign that this was once a football field, let alone one that produced a player headed for the Super Bowl, is a solitary goalpost. It’s standing alone in a city park that’s more dirt than grass, covered with goose droppings and discarded tires, just off I-75 about a mile from Ford Field. Even when football was played here, the grass was mostly gone before football season; at the 2-yard line was a block of cement, the leftover base of an old pole, which they’d push some dirt on top of every time they took the field.</p><p>This was the old site of Crockett Tech High School, the school itself consisting of a portable trailer. In the afternoons, students would walk across the parking lot to take classes at the adjacent vo-tech center. There were no lights surrounding the dirt field, so football games were usually played at 3:30 p.m.; when practices ran past sunset as the fall days grew shorter, parents would help light the field with the headlights of their cars.</p><p>“This produced teachers, lawyers, accountants, a host of college players, NFL players … from a trailer park,” says Tim Hopkins, a former associate head coach and defensive coordinator for Crockett, gesturing out over on the field on a Saturday morning in January. “The little engine that could. That was the backdrop for where Brandon Graham played.”</p><p>Graham is now a pillar of an Eagles team riding its underdog status to Super Bowl LII, a playmaking defensive end who has lent both his ability (9.5 sacks) and his mentality to a team that hasn’t been favored to win any game this postseason. Years earlier, Graham was the heart of another underdog squad—the Crockett Rockets. Most of his old field is gone now, the space mostly occupied by an indoor cycling track. But enough remains for it to be a time capsule of the years that helped produce one of the most impactful Eagles players.</p><p>“Wow,” Graham wrote in reply to a photo of the field posted on The MMQB’s Instagram stories, “that brought back memories right there.”</p><p>Crockett had been open less than 10 years when Graham enrolled in 2002; its football program had only been around six years. In Detroit, many ninth-graders choose to still play with their little league teams. But as a freshman, Graham had long since outgrown the level of competition of the Eastside Giants. After his father, Darrick Walton, brought him to meet with the high school coaches, Graham joined Crockett’s varsity squad.</p><p>A high school operating out of a trailer certainly didn’t have football facilities. Players changed for practices and games in a hallway located in the basement of the middle school next door. They had a few rows of bleachers around the field, but no way to fence them off, so they couldn’t charge admission for the games.</p><p>“Today’s players would never survive what he had to go through just a little over 10 years ago,” says Rod Oden, an assistant who took over as Crockett’s head coach for Graham’s senior season.</p><p>The roster was thin, around 25 players, barely enough to run 11-on-11 drills in practice. Everyone played both ways. Graham was a middle linebacker, offensive guard, placekicker and punter. Knowing opponents would be afraid to tackle him, the coaches would wink his direction when they wanted to send him on a fake punt. It’s an impossible stat to verify now, but Hopkins reports that Graham scored on the fakes “about 98% of the time.”</p><p>Crockett’s fledgling football program didn’t attract top colleges early on. Hopkins jokes that the recruiters from bigtime programs would get off I-75 to go to the McDonald’s catty-cornered to Crockett, then get back on the interstate and drive off to Cass Tech or King High School, the more established programs nearby with better resources. By the time Graham got there, that was just beginning to change. There was a group of D1 recruits a few years ahead of him; Hopkins recalls the late Joe Paterno sitting in a tiny room in that infamous Crockett trailer pitching a defensive lineman named Ed Johnson to come to Penn State. A few years later, Michigan’s Lloyd Carr came calling for Graham.</p><p>Graham blossomed into the top-ranked player in the state his junior season, a 6' 2", 240-pound linebacker who could out-run most of the running backs they faced (he would later be clocked at 4.43 seconds in the 40-yard dash at a Nike summer camp). The Crockett coaches had a policy that each season the players had to earn the “C” they wore on their helmets, by meeting certain performance or effort benchmarks. These were marks Graham would easily meet, but one year, he told his teammates that neither he nor anyone else on defense would wear the emblem until everyone earned it. So for the first couple games of the season, the best high-school player in Michigan played with a blank helmet.</p><p>In 2004, Graham led Crockett to an undefeated regular season and the school’s first Detroit Public School League title (they went on to lose to powerhouse Jackson Lumen Christi in the state semifinals). The areas where Crockett lacked, they used as motivation and found ways to compensate. That sounds a lot like Graham’s current team, which has overcome the loss of a starting quarterback, starting left tackle, top linebacker, most versatile running back, core special-teamer, etc., to nonetheless reach the Super Bowl.</p><p>“I remember the grind and how we were a tight-knit family because of the numbers we had at Crockett,” Graham wrote over social media. “It taught me to appreciate everything because we didn’t have much, but we maximized what we had to accomplish so much.”</p><p>Crockett relocated to an old middle school building for Graham’s senior year, and closed its doors altogether in 2012. That building now stands vacant and overgrown, a visible reminder of Detroit’s struggling public school system. Nearby in the east Detroit neighborhood where Graham grew up, though, is East English Preparatory Academy, which opened after Crockett closed and is where Oden now coaches.</p><p>Graham never walked these hallways, but the school is a few blocks from where he used to live, and he makes a point to visit several times a year. He hosts summer sports camps for both boys and girls with his wife, Carlyne, whom he met at Crockett; he’ll sometimes even work out with the football players in their gym where not all the dumbbells have a match. A few years ago, Graham surprised the East English team with new home and away uniforms; last year, he donated 60 helmets from Xenith, a Detroit-based company that has produced several of the top-performing helmets on the market.</p><p>“Brandon doesn’t fill up his camps with the kids that are super studs,” Oden says. “He wants the kids who will sign up on their own, get up at 8 a.m. and come here and give a great effort, regardless of skill level.”</p><p>Graham didn’t enter the NFL as an underdog, but when the first-round draft pick out of Michigan in 2010 struggled with injuries and scheme changes his first few years in the league, he took on the “bust” label as a personal challenge. He’s flourished the past two seasons as a 4-3 defensive end in Jim Schwartz’s system, but that proverbial chip on his shoulder that he’s carried in different ways his entire career is quite befitting of an Eagles team that cut through the NFC playoffs as a rare home ‘dog.</p><p>This weekend, against Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and the heavily favored, five-time champion New England Patriots, Graham's former coaches are expecting to see that old Crockett mindset rear itself in the trenches. Hopkins got choked up while pulling up to that old Crockett field where the players would run so hard the goose droppings would become mulch and they’d go home after practices and games with dirt in their noses.</p><p>“New England in Brandon’s mind is like playing King or Cass,” Hopkins says. “There’s so much synergy in the fact that the Eagles are using that underdog mantra to catapult themselves to the Super Bowl. That team is taking on the façade of a Crockett team.”</p><p>Graham, who was back in Philadelphia preparing for the team’s charter flight to Minneapolis, agreed with this premise. “That’s exactly right,” he wrote. Graham and the Eagles know that if they win this weekend, they can no longer claim that underdog status; but, they only need it for one more game.</p>
Brandon Graham, an Underdog Since His High School Years in Detroit

The MMQB is on the road to Super Bowl 52. Follow along on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and find all of our road trip content here.

DETROIT — The only sign that this was once a football field, let alone one that produced a player headed for the Super Bowl, is a solitary goalpost. It’s standing alone in a city park that’s more dirt than grass, covered with goose droppings and discarded tires, just off I-75 about a mile from Ford Field. Even when football was played here, the grass was mostly gone before football season; at the 2-yard line was a block of cement, the leftover base of an old pole, which they’d push some dirt on top of every time they took the field.

This was the old site of Crockett Tech High School, the school itself consisting of a portable trailer. In the afternoons, students would walk across the parking lot to take classes at the adjacent vo-tech center. There were no lights surrounding the dirt field, so football games were usually played at 3:30 p.m.; when practices ran past sunset as the fall days grew shorter, parents would help light the field with the headlights of their cars.

“This produced teachers, lawyers, accountants, a host of college players, NFL players … from a trailer park,” says Tim Hopkins, a former associate head coach and defensive coordinator for Crockett, gesturing out over on the field on a Saturday morning in January. “The little engine that could. That was the backdrop for where Brandon Graham played.”

Graham is now a pillar of an Eagles team riding its underdog status to Super Bowl LII, a playmaking defensive end who has lent both his ability (9.5 sacks) and his mentality to a team that hasn’t been favored to win any game this postseason. Years earlier, Graham was the heart of another underdog squad—the Crockett Rockets. Most of his old field is gone now, the space mostly occupied by an indoor cycling track. But enough remains for it to be a time capsule of the years that helped produce one of the most impactful Eagles players.

“Wow,” Graham wrote in reply to a photo of the field posted on The MMQB’s Instagram stories, “that brought back memories right there.”

Crockett had been open less than 10 years when Graham enrolled in 2002; its football program had only been around six years. In Detroit, many ninth-graders choose to still play with their little league teams. But as a freshman, Graham had long since outgrown the level of competition of the Eastside Giants. After his father, Darrick Walton, brought him to meet with the high school coaches, Graham joined Crockett’s varsity squad.

A high school operating out of a trailer certainly didn’t have football facilities. Players changed for practices and games in a hallway located in the basement of the middle school next door. They had a few rows of bleachers around the field, but no way to fence them off, so they couldn’t charge admission for the games.

“Today’s players would never survive what he had to go through just a little over 10 years ago,” says Rod Oden, an assistant who took over as Crockett’s head coach for Graham’s senior season.

The roster was thin, around 25 players, barely enough to run 11-on-11 drills in practice. Everyone played both ways. Graham was a middle linebacker, offensive guard, placekicker and punter. Knowing opponents would be afraid to tackle him, the coaches would wink his direction when they wanted to send him on a fake punt. It’s an impossible stat to verify now, but Hopkins reports that Graham scored on the fakes “about 98% of the time.”

Crockett’s fledgling football program didn’t attract top colleges early on. Hopkins jokes that the recruiters from bigtime programs would get off I-75 to go to the McDonald’s catty-cornered to Crockett, then get back on the interstate and drive off to Cass Tech or King High School, the more established programs nearby with better resources. By the time Graham got there, that was just beginning to change. There was a group of D1 recruits a few years ahead of him; Hopkins recalls the late Joe Paterno sitting in a tiny room in that infamous Crockett trailer pitching a defensive lineman named Ed Johnson to come to Penn State. A few years later, Michigan’s Lloyd Carr came calling for Graham.

Graham blossomed into the top-ranked player in the state his junior season, a 6' 2", 240-pound linebacker who could out-run most of the running backs they faced (he would later be clocked at 4.43 seconds in the 40-yard dash at a Nike summer camp). The Crockett coaches had a policy that each season the players had to earn the “C” they wore on their helmets, by meeting certain performance or effort benchmarks. These were marks Graham would easily meet, but one year, he told his teammates that neither he nor anyone else on defense would wear the emblem until everyone earned it. So for the first couple games of the season, the best high-school player in Michigan played with a blank helmet.

In 2004, Graham led Crockett to an undefeated regular season and the school’s first Detroit Public School League title (they went on to lose to powerhouse Jackson Lumen Christi in the state semifinals). The areas where Crockett lacked, they used as motivation and found ways to compensate. That sounds a lot like Graham’s current team, which has overcome the loss of a starting quarterback, starting left tackle, top linebacker, most versatile running back, core special-teamer, etc., to nonetheless reach the Super Bowl.

“I remember the grind and how we were a tight-knit family because of the numbers we had at Crockett,” Graham wrote over social media. “It taught me to appreciate everything because we didn’t have much, but we maximized what we had to accomplish so much.”

Crockett relocated to an old middle school building for Graham’s senior year, and closed its doors altogether in 2012. That building now stands vacant and overgrown, a visible reminder of Detroit’s struggling public school system. Nearby in the east Detroit neighborhood where Graham grew up, though, is East English Preparatory Academy, which opened after Crockett closed and is where Oden now coaches.

Graham never walked these hallways, but the school is a few blocks from where he used to live, and he makes a point to visit several times a year. He hosts summer sports camps for both boys and girls with his wife, Carlyne, whom he met at Crockett; he’ll sometimes even work out with the football players in their gym where not all the dumbbells have a match. A few years ago, Graham surprised the East English team with new home and away uniforms; last year, he donated 60 helmets from Xenith, a Detroit-based company that has produced several of the top-performing helmets on the market.

“Brandon doesn’t fill up his camps with the kids that are super studs,” Oden says. “He wants the kids who will sign up on their own, get up at 8 a.m. and come here and give a great effort, regardless of skill level.”

Graham didn’t enter the NFL as an underdog, but when the first-round draft pick out of Michigan in 2010 struggled with injuries and scheme changes his first few years in the league, he took on the “bust” label as a personal challenge. He’s flourished the past two seasons as a 4-3 defensive end in Jim Schwartz’s system, but that proverbial chip on his shoulder that he’s carried in different ways his entire career is quite befitting of an Eagles team that cut through the NFC playoffs as a rare home ‘dog.

This weekend, against Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and the heavily favored, five-time champion New England Patriots, Graham's former coaches are expecting to see that old Crockett mindset rear itself in the trenches. Hopkins got choked up while pulling up to that old Crockett field where the players would run so hard the goose droppings would become mulch and they’d go home after practices and games with dirt in their noses.

“New England in Brandon’s mind is like playing King or Cass,” Hopkins says. “There’s so much synergy in the fact that the Eagles are using that underdog mantra to catapult themselves to the Super Bowl. That team is taking on the façade of a Crockett team.”

Graham, who was back in Philadelphia preparing for the team’s charter flight to Minneapolis, agreed with this premise. “That’s exactly right,” he wrote. Graham and the Eagles know that if they win this weekend, they can no longer claim that underdog status; but, they only need it for one more game.

<p>The first trailer for <em>Paterno, </em>a biopic of former Penn State coach Joe Paterno, was released Friday. </p><p>The film will <a href="https://www.si.com/tech-media/2018/01/12/joe-paterno-biopic-al-pacino-hbo" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:debut on HBO this spring" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">debut on HBO this spring</a> with Academy Award-winning actor Al Pacino portraying the title character.</p><p>Paterno spent 46 years as Penn State's head coach and amassed 409 wins, the highest win total in NCAA FBS history. But his career ended ignominiously, as he was dismissed from the university for his failure to deal with the Jerry Sandusky child sex scandal properly. </p><p>The film, which was shot last summer, will apparently focus on the aftermath of that scandal. It is directed by Barry Levinson, who won the Academy Award for Best Director for his work on <em>Rain Man. </em></p><p>Paterno died of complications from lung cancer just two months after he was fired. He was 85. </p>
Watch: First Trailer for Joe Paterno Biopic Starring Al Pacino Released

The first trailer for Paterno, a biopic of former Penn State coach Joe Paterno, was released Friday.

The film will debut on HBO this spring with Academy Award-winning actor Al Pacino portraying the title character.

Paterno spent 46 years as Penn State's head coach and amassed 409 wins, the highest win total in NCAA FBS history. But his career ended ignominiously, as he was dismissed from the university for his failure to deal with the Jerry Sandusky child sex scandal properly.

The film, which was shot last summer, will apparently focus on the aftermath of that scandal. It is directed by Barry Levinson, who won the Academy Award for Best Director for his work on Rain Man.

Paterno died of complications from lung cancer just two months after he was fired. He was 85.

<p><em>Paterno, </em>a biopic of former Penn State coach Joe Paterno, will debut on HBO this spring with Academy Award-winning actor Al Pacino portraying the title character.</p><p>Paterno spent 46 years as Penn State's head coach and amassed 409 wins, the highest win total in NCAA FBS history. But his career ended ignominiously, as he was dismissed from the university for his failure to deal with the Jerry Sandusky child sex scandal properly. </p><p>The film, which was shot last summer, will apparently focus on the aftermath of that scandal. Here is the official tagline, which was released by HBO last summer.</p><p>“After becoming the winningest coach in college football history, Joe Paterno is embroiled in Penn State’s Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse scandal, challenging his legacy and forcing him to face questions of institutional failure on behalf of the victims.”</p><p>The film is directed by Barry Levinson, who won the Academy Award for Best Director for his work on <em>Rain Man. </em>Levinson also directed <em>The Natural, </em>a classic baseball movie, as well as <em>Wizard of Lies, </em>HBO's biopic of Bernie Madoff. </p><p>Paterno died of complications from lung cancer just two months after he was fired. He was 85. </p>
Joe Paterno Biopic Starring Al Pacino to Air on HBO in Spring 2018

Paterno, a biopic of former Penn State coach Joe Paterno, will debut on HBO this spring with Academy Award-winning actor Al Pacino portraying the title character.

Paterno spent 46 years as Penn State's head coach and amassed 409 wins, the highest win total in NCAA FBS history. But his career ended ignominiously, as he was dismissed from the university for his failure to deal with the Jerry Sandusky child sex scandal properly.

The film, which was shot last summer, will apparently focus on the aftermath of that scandal. Here is the official tagline, which was released by HBO last summer.

“After becoming the winningest coach in college football history, Joe Paterno is embroiled in Penn State’s Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse scandal, challenging his legacy and forcing him to face questions of institutional failure on behalf of the victims.”

The film is directed by Barry Levinson, who won the Academy Award for Best Director for his work on Rain Man. Levinson also directed The Natural, a classic baseball movie, as well as Wizard of Lies, HBO's biopic of Bernie Madoff.

Paterno died of complications from lung cancer just two months after he was fired. He was 85.

<p>1. I think Stanford’s David Shaw had better be in the top two, or one, for any NFL team looking for a head coach in 2018. But remember what he told me two years ago about having a better job than any NFL coach, and whoever wants him is going to have to convince his wife that it’s a better place than Palo Alto. Good luck. My sense is that Shaw will one day coach in the NFL, just not in the next couple of years. My early list of calls I’d make if I had a coach to hire, after I called Shaw:</p><p>• New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels<br>• Kansas City special teams coordinator Dave Toub<br>• Philadelphia defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz<br>• Detroit defensive coordinator Teryl Austin<br>• New England defensive coordinator Matt Patricia.</p><p>2. I think I also would fact-find about Carolina defensive coordinator Steve Wilks, University of Washington coach Chris Petersen (who likely wants to stay on the West Coast), Minnesota offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur and Houston defensive coordinator Mike Vrabel. I’d phone Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz; I don’t think he’d leave, but I’d make him tell me that. Finally, I don’t know Jacksonville defensive coordinator Todd Wash or Kansas City offensive coordinator Matt Nagy (just 39) but hear good things about them. And as for those who say the pool of available coaches is grim, I would remind you of three names:</p><p>• Chuck Noll was an unknown and a distant second to Joe Paterno when the Steelers hired him in 1969. Four Super Bowl wins followed. </p><p>• “An inspired choice or a real mistake?” the Philadelphia Inquirer wondered after the hire of Andy Reid in 1999—and he proceeded to win 74 more games than anyone else in club history.</p><p>• Robert Kraft told me earlier this year he was warned by former Browns owner Art Modell to stay far away from Bill Belichick—and all Belichick has done is win 235 games in New England.</p><p>Moral of the story: There are scores of good coaches out there. They need good quarterbacks and good organizations to succeed.</p><p>Last point to make: Jon Gruden might be interested in going back to the Raiders. I hear he loves Derek Carr and would like to see once in his career what he could do with a franchise quarterback. But I think it’s not likely Jack Del Rio gets fired.</p><p>3. I think this story about Greg Schiano having a deal to coach Tennessee, then having the deal walked back Sunday evening because of the outcry over what <em>might</em>have happened at Penn State connected to the Jerry Sandusky case, over what was <em>never proven and was denied by the relevant parties under oath</em>, over what Tennessee <em>never investigated thoroughly, </em>is a disgrace to thinking people. It also emboldens the screamers on social media, a nod to those who think if you scream loud enough in this current iteration of America you can overcome reason, and a totally unfair slap at a good man in Schiano. The pathetic result of this caper is that the social-media lynch mob won, and no matter how well Schiano does as an assistant at Ohio State, it may never be good enough for him to get a head-coaching job. The water has been poisoned by the crazies. In America today, that matters.</p><p>4. I think these are my quick thoughts on Week 12:</p><p>a. What a great game Green Bay-Pittsburgh was.</p><p>b. Man, Brett Hundley proved me wrong, at least this week. What a tremendous late-fourth-quarter drive, including 72 yards passing, moving the Packers for six first downs and the tying touchdowns—and converting a fourth down with under three minutes left to make the tying score possible.</p><p>c. Huge sack by T.J. Watt, nailing Hundley with a minute to go and enabling the Steelers to get the ball back with just enough time.</p><p>d. Russell Wilson: To have the Seahawks at 7-4, as beat up as the team is, is a tribute to a very good defense to be sure. But mostly it’s a tribute to you.</p><p>e. Thanks, Drew Bledsoe, for <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2017/11/20/terry-glenn-remembered-drew-bledsoe-patriots-cowboys" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:the terrific tribute written for The MMQB" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">the terrific tribute written for The MMQB</a>to the late Terry Glenn.</p><p>f. Good stats by Andrew Catalon on CBS: Zane Gonzalez of the Browns has missed five field goals this year, all wide left. Hope you’re renting, Zane.</p><p>g. Christian Jones, the Chicago middle linebacker no one knows, sure makes a lot of plays for an unknown guy.</p><p>h. When Keenan Allen next negotiates a contract with the Chargers, all he has to do is bring a tape of his last eight quarters in two must-wins for the Chargers, against Buffalo and Dallas, in a five-day span: 23 catches in 27 targets, 331 yards, three touchdowns.</p><p>i. The reception, run and stretch for the first down in the fourth quarter by Minnesota’s Stefon Diggs, making the first down by an inch, was a truly great awareness play by Diggs. Kudos to him.</p><p>j. Detroit’s Akeem Spence dropping Jerick McKinnon late in the first half for a loss was the kind of textbook run-stuff every defensive-line coach should show his players.</p><p>k. Kai Forbath makes me nervous. Very nervous. And if he makes me nervous, imagine what he does to that pepperpot Mike Zimmer.</p><p>l. Why, with the game on the line, on fourth-and-eight when the Lions needed a conversion, did Matthew Stafford throw to a blanketed receiver—covered by the Vikes’ best corner, Xavier Rhodes—with almost zero chance for completion?</p><p>m. Yikes: Dak Prescott’s passer rating this year with Zeke Elliott in the lineup: 97.9. Prescott without Elliott: 57.0.</p><p>n. Looks like Eli Apple is turning into a lost top pick for the Giants, <a href="https://nypost.com/2017/11/25/eli-apples-attitude-towards-criticism-led-to-near-walk-out/?utm_campaign=iosapp&utm_source=twitter_app" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:per Paul Schwartz" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">per Paul Schwartz</a> of the New York Post.</p><p>o. Prince Amukamara could take the video of his pass-breakup of the Carson Wentz-to-Torrey Smith throw in Philadelphia and show it to young corners everywhere. Perfect timing, mechanics of a pass breakup.</p><p>p. Gotta catch that ball, Austin Seferian-Jenkins. That drop of a first-quarter touchdown pass cost the Jets four points.</p><p>5. I think I do not mean to be cruel, but this is the truth: Brock Osweiler has gotten two offensive coordinators (George Godsey, Mike McCoy) fired from two teams (Houston, Denver) in consecutive seasons. Also:</p><p>• Osweiler has played so poorly in Houston that he had to be traded to Cleveland <em>along with a second-round pick so the Browns would take him. </em>He played so poorly in training camp in Cleveland that the Browns, desperate for a placeholder quarterback, fired him anyway. He played so poorly in Denver in relief of Trevor Siemian that he was demoted the other day from number one to number three quarterback.</p><p>• Osweiler is employed in the NFL today. Colin Kaepernick is not. It helps explain why so many people are rooting hard for Kaepernick’s longshot collusion case against the NFL.</p><p>6. I think it’s time to sound the TV ratings alarm—if you haven’t already heard it clanging from coast to coast. It looks even worse when considering that the NFL, perhaps rightfully, blamed last year’s ratings decline on the attention magnet that the 2016 presidential election was. But Thanksgiving week is two weeks clear of the election season. So let’s compare some of the numbers to each of the past two years to see where we are (thanks to Sports Media Watch for the ratings info):</p><p>• ESPN, Monday night, Atlanta at Seattle: 6.4 rating, a decline of 28.1 percent from Buffalo-New England in 2015 … a decline of 7.2 percent from Houston-Oakland last year.</p><p>• FOX, Thanksgiving Day, Minnesota at Detroit: 11.4 rating, a drop of 7.3 percent from Philadelphia-Detroit in 2015 … a drop of 12.3 percent from Minnesota-Detroit last year.</p><p>• CBS, Thanksgiving Day, Los Angeles Chargers at Dallas: 12.4 rating, a decrease of 19.0 percent from Dallas-Carolina in 2015 … a decrease of 20.5 percent from Dallas-Washington last year.</p><p>• NBC, Thanksgiving night, New York Giants at Washington: 9.7 rating, a drop of 33.6 percent from Chicago-Green Bay in 2015 … a drop of 10.2 percent from Indianapolis-Pittsburgh last year.</p><p>A bit of clarification: CBS did the early-window game from Detroit last year; FOX did the early game from Detroit this year. So the numbers on FOX and CBS are window versus window, not network versus network. But in window versus window, the numbers of ’17 versus ’16 were down 7.2, 12.3, 20.5 and 10.2 percent on Monday and Thursday of Thanksgiving week. Not good.</p><p>7. I think I don’t want to rain on the Matthew Stafford parade, and I get that he is struggling with a sore ankle, but man, that was an underwhelming performance Thursday in a game the Lions had to have.</p><p>8. I think the Eagles have a very interesting road trip coming up: at Seattle on Sunday night, against the beat-up but still dangerous Seahawks; then working out on Eagle season-ticket-holder Mike Trout’s baseball field in Anaheim for the following week; then playing the dangerous Rams (in a preview of my prospective NFC title game) the following Sunday.</p><p>9. I think <a href="http://m.fox8live.com/wvuefox8/db_344663/contentdetail.htm?contentguid=V4IAWNSY" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:congrats are in order" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">congrats are in order</a> for Archie and Olivia Manning’s grandson, Cooper Manning’s son, Peyton Manning’s nephew and Eli Manning’s nephew. A 70-percent passing day for Arch Manning in a big game. Heck of a game, kid. (And yes, the boy goes by “Arch.”)</p><p>10. I think these are my non-NFL thoughts of the week:</p><p>a. <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/21/opinion/kaepernick-negro-national-anthem.html?_r=0" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Op-Ed of the week" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Op-Ed of the week</a>: from Brent Staples of the New York Times<em>, </em>some good lessons on the legacy of national anthems in our country.</p><p>b. <a href="http://joeposnanski.com/kidney-stones-electric-cars-pixelbooks-and-twitter/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Internet column of the Week" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Internet column of the Week</a>: The great Joe Posnanski, on (mostly) quitting Twitter at the same time as he gets a kidney stone.</p><p>c. Have you considered the two might be related, Joe? That <em>not </em>being on Twitter may have caused this malady?</p><p>d. <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/alex-ovechkin-is-one-of-putins-biggest-fans-the-question-is-why/2017/11/25/c5f8bb2e-ce36-11e7-9d3a-bcbe2af58c3a_story.html?utm_term=.9c251dc9b82e" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Sports/politics story of the week" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Sports/politics story of the week</a>: by Rick Maese, Isabelle Khurshudyan and Andrew Roth of the Washington Post<em>, </em>on the bizarre intersection of a big hockey star and Vladimir Putin.</p><p>e. I looked the other day at SeatGeek just to see about the “Springsteen on Broadway” show, which of course intrigues me. Two tickets to a January show: $4,882. No thanks.</p><p>f. I read a book on the day after Thanksgiving. A whole book! <a href="http://amzn.to/2A7JjMR" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:“The Rooster Bar,” by John Grisham." class="link rapid-noclick-resp">“The Rooster Bar,” by John Grisham.</a> As usual, Grisham put his hooks in me, and I finished it in six hours. I had a couple of plot problems (I’m sure Mr. Grisham will call me to discuss), but it was easy and fun and the kind of book I love on off-time. It took me to a place and provided great entertainment and made me think.</p><p>g. I am nearly finished with another book I have enjoyed quite a bit: <a href="http://amzn.to/2zsgLdz" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:“Ballplayer,” by Chipper Jones, with Carroll Rodgers Walton" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">“Ballplayer,” by Chipper Jones, with Carroll Rodgers Walton</a>. Good job by Jones talking about life invading his professional space. Funny how that happens.</p><p>h. Annual question: Why are college coaching contracts so incredibly one-way in favor of the coaches?</p><p>i. I cannot believe anyone in the Ohio State athletic department looked at that team on the field Saturday and said, “I really love those uniforms.” Black and white? In the game against Michigan?</p><p>j. Wow. Michigan 1-5 versus Ohio State and Michigan State, its two big rivals, under Jim Harbaugh?</p><p>k. That Auburn-Alabama crowd was ridiculously loud. What a home-field advantage for Auburn. Nick Saban struggled to hear Allie LaForce for the halftime on-field interview. At halftime. When no football was being played.</p><p>l. Coffeenerdness: <a href="https://www.davescoffee.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Dave’s Coffee" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Dave’s Coffee</a> of Rhode Island—you’ve got a good thing going. The stronger the better.</p><p>m. Beernerdness: My wife and I spent a couple of days away in Westerly, R.I., over Thanksgiving, and we gave thanks not only for the time away but for our time at <a href="http://greysailbrewing.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Gray Sail Brewery" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Gray Sail Brewery</a> on a quiet street not far from the Amtrak station and a very cute downtown Westerly. The little brew pub next to the brewery is in a 90-year-old home with original murals on the wall, painted by an Italian artist of lovely scenes in the old country. And on the main floor of the house, locals and tourists lounge around drinking good beer. My pick: The Gray Sail Flagship cream ale, easy to drink and light. Lovely. We got a tour of the brewery (a former macaroni factory, of all things) and a T-shirt, and were on our way. How great is it that in cute little towns all over America local breweries are popping up and thriving? Gray Sail is six years old, and the folks there Friday evening included two families in the converted den, with a couple of tykes running around. Strongly recommend that on your trip up I-95 along the New England coast, just over the border from Connecticut into Rhode Island, you stop there and have a beer.</p><p>n. I’m not sure of this, and maybe it’s because we had to wait so long for it to come, but this season of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” has been fairly meh. Even with the fatwa on Larry. Some of the stuff is more than slightly preposterous. More Susie. More Jeff. More Funkhauser.</p><p>o. Happy 64th birthday (Sunday) to one of the best people I’ve covered, Hall of Fame Giants linebacker Harry Carson.</p><p>p. Happy 44th birthday (today) to Renaissance man Jon Runyan, the former tackle and Jersey congressman and current NFL exec.</p><h3>Who I Like Tonight</h3><p><strong>Baltimore 17, Houston 9. </strong>The Ravens have three shutouts this year, and the Texans have allowed 22 touchdown passes and a passer rating of 98.9. If Baltimore, at home, can’t win a game it absolutely has to have (next two games: Detroit, at Pittsburgh) to go to 6-5, the Ravens will soon be playing for 2018.</p><h3>The Adieu Haiku</h3><p>Schiano got jobbed.<br>The moral of the story?<br>Scream loudest, you win.</p><p><strong><em>• We have a newsletter, and you can subscribe, and it’s free</em></strong>. Get “The Morning Huddle” delivered to your inbox first thing each weekday, by <a href="https://www.si.com/static/newsletter/signup" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:going here and checking The MMQB newsletter box." class="link rapid-noclick-resp"><em>going here and checking The MMQB newsletter box.</em></a> Start your day with the best of the NFL, from The MMQB.</p><p><strong>•<em>Question or comment? Story idea?</em></strong> Email us at <span><em>talkback@themmqb.com</em></span>.</p>
Ten Things I Think I Think: On NFL Coaching Candidates, Week 12 Reactions, TV Ratings

1. I think Stanford’s David Shaw had better be in the top two, or one, for any NFL team looking for a head coach in 2018. But remember what he told me two years ago about having a better job than any NFL coach, and whoever wants him is going to have to convince his wife that it’s a better place than Palo Alto. Good luck. My sense is that Shaw will one day coach in the NFL, just not in the next couple of years. My early list of calls I’d make if I had a coach to hire, after I called Shaw:

• New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels
• Kansas City special teams coordinator Dave Toub
• Philadelphia defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz
• Detroit defensive coordinator Teryl Austin
• New England defensive coordinator Matt Patricia.

2. I think I also would fact-find about Carolina defensive coordinator Steve Wilks, University of Washington coach Chris Petersen (who likely wants to stay on the West Coast), Minnesota offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur and Houston defensive coordinator Mike Vrabel. I’d phone Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz; I don’t think he’d leave, but I’d make him tell me that. Finally, I don’t know Jacksonville defensive coordinator Todd Wash or Kansas City offensive coordinator Matt Nagy (just 39) but hear good things about them. And as for those who say the pool of available coaches is grim, I would remind you of three names:

• Chuck Noll was an unknown and a distant second to Joe Paterno when the Steelers hired him in 1969. Four Super Bowl wins followed.

• “An inspired choice or a real mistake?” the Philadelphia Inquirer wondered after the hire of Andy Reid in 1999—and he proceeded to win 74 more games than anyone else in club history.

• Robert Kraft told me earlier this year he was warned by former Browns owner Art Modell to stay far away from Bill Belichick—and all Belichick has done is win 235 games in New England.

Moral of the story: There are scores of good coaches out there. They need good quarterbacks and good organizations to succeed.

Last point to make: Jon Gruden might be interested in going back to the Raiders. I hear he loves Derek Carr and would like to see once in his career what he could do with a franchise quarterback. But I think it’s not likely Jack Del Rio gets fired.

3. I think this story about Greg Schiano having a deal to coach Tennessee, then having the deal walked back Sunday evening because of the outcry over what mighthave happened at Penn State connected to the Jerry Sandusky case, over what was never proven and was denied by the relevant parties under oath, over what Tennessee never investigated thoroughly, is a disgrace to thinking people. It also emboldens the screamers on social media, a nod to those who think if you scream loud enough in this current iteration of America you can overcome reason, and a totally unfair slap at a good man in Schiano. The pathetic result of this caper is that the social-media lynch mob won, and no matter how well Schiano does as an assistant at Ohio State, it may never be good enough for him to get a head-coaching job. The water has been poisoned by the crazies. In America today, that matters.

4. I think these are my quick thoughts on Week 12:

a. What a great game Green Bay-Pittsburgh was.

b. Man, Brett Hundley proved me wrong, at least this week. What a tremendous late-fourth-quarter drive, including 72 yards passing, moving the Packers for six first downs and the tying touchdowns—and converting a fourth down with under three minutes left to make the tying score possible.

c. Huge sack by T.J. Watt, nailing Hundley with a minute to go and enabling the Steelers to get the ball back with just enough time.

d. Russell Wilson: To have the Seahawks at 7-4, as beat up as the team is, is a tribute to a very good defense to be sure. But mostly it’s a tribute to you.

e. Thanks, Drew Bledsoe, for the terrific tribute written for The MMQBto the late Terry Glenn.

f. Good stats by Andrew Catalon on CBS: Zane Gonzalez of the Browns has missed five field goals this year, all wide left. Hope you’re renting, Zane.

g. Christian Jones, the Chicago middle linebacker no one knows, sure makes a lot of plays for an unknown guy.

h. When Keenan Allen next negotiates a contract with the Chargers, all he has to do is bring a tape of his last eight quarters in two must-wins for the Chargers, against Buffalo and Dallas, in a five-day span: 23 catches in 27 targets, 331 yards, three touchdowns.

i. The reception, run and stretch for the first down in the fourth quarter by Minnesota’s Stefon Diggs, making the first down by an inch, was a truly great awareness play by Diggs. Kudos to him.

j. Detroit’s Akeem Spence dropping Jerick McKinnon late in the first half for a loss was the kind of textbook run-stuff every defensive-line coach should show his players.

k. Kai Forbath makes me nervous. Very nervous. And if he makes me nervous, imagine what he does to that pepperpot Mike Zimmer.

l. Why, with the game on the line, on fourth-and-eight when the Lions needed a conversion, did Matthew Stafford throw to a blanketed receiver—covered by the Vikes’ best corner, Xavier Rhodes—with almost zero chance for completion?

m. Yikes: Dak Prescott’s passer rating this year with Zeke Elliott in the lineup: 97.9. Prescott without Elliott: 57.0.

n. Looks like Eli Apple is turning into a lost top pick for the Giants, per Paul Schwartz of the New York Post.

o. Prince Amukamara could take the video of his pass-breakup of the Carson Wentz-to-Torrey Smith throw in Philadelphia and show it to young corners everywhere. Perfect timing, mechanics of a pass breakup.

p. Gotta catch that ball, Austin Seferian-Jenkins. That drop of a first-quarter touchdown pass cost the Jets four points.

5. I think I do not mean to be cruel, but this is the truth: Brock Osweiler has gotten two offensive coordinators (George Godsey, Mike McCoy) fired from two teams (Houston, Denver) in consecutive seasons. Also:

• Osweiler has played so poorly in Houston that he had to be traded to Cleveland along with a second-round pick so the Browns would take him. He played so poorly in training camp in Cleveland that the Browns, desperate for a placeholder quarterback, fired him anyway. He played so poorly in Denver in relief of Trevor Siemian that he was demoted the other day from number one to number three quarterback.

• Osweiler is employed in the NFL today. Colin Kaepernick is not. It helps explain why so many people are rooting hard for Kaepernick’s longshot collusion case against the NFL.

6. I think it’s time to sound the TV ratings alarm—if you haven’t already heard it clanging from coast to coast. It looks even worse when considering that the NFL, perhaps rightfully, blamed last year’s ratings decline on the attention magnet that the 2016 presidential election was. But Thanksgiving week is two weeks clear of the election season. So let’s compare some of the numbers to each of the past two years to see where we are (thanks to Sports Media Watch for the ratings info):

• ESPN, Monday night, Atlanta at Seattle: 6.4 rating, a decline of 28.1 percent from Buffalo-New England in 2015 … a decline of 7.2 percent from Houston-Oakland last year.

• FOX, Thanksgiving Day, Minnesota at Detroit: 11.4 rating, a drop of 7.3 percent from Philadelphia-Detroit in 2015 … a drop of 12.3 percent from Minnesota-Detroit last year.

• CBS, Thanksgiving Day, Los Angeles Chargers at Dallas: 12.4 rating, a decrease of 19.0 percent from Dallas-Carolina in 2015 … a decrease of 20.5 percent from Dallas-Washington last year.

• NBC, Thanksgiving night, New York Giants at Washington: 9.7 rating, a drop of 33.6 percent from Chicago-Green Bay in 2015 … a drop of 10.2 percent from Indianapolis-Pittsburgh last year.

A bit of clarification: CBS did the early-window game from Detroit last year; FOX did the early game from Detroit this year. So the numbers on FOX and CBS are window versus window, not network versus network. But in window versus window, the numbers of ’17 versus ’16 were down 7.2, 12.3, 20.5 and 10.2 percent on Monday and Thursday of Thanksgiving week. Not good.

7. I think I don’t want to rain on the Matthew Stafford parade, and I get that he is struggling with a sore ankle, but man, that was an underwhelming performance Thursday in a game the Lions had to have.

8. I think the Eagles have a very interesting road trip coming up: at Seattle on Sunday night, against the beat-up but still dangerous Seahawks; then working out on Eagle season-ticket-holder Mike Trout’s baseball field in Anaheim for the following week; then playing the dangerous Rams (in a preview of my prospective NFC title game) the following Sunday.

9. I think congrats are in order for Archie and Olivia Manning’s grandson, Cooper Manning’s son, Peyton Manning’s nephew and Eli Manning’s nephew. A 70-percent passing day for Arch Manning in a big game. Heck of a game, kid. (And yes, the boy goes by “Arch.”)

10. I think these are my non-NFL thoughts of the week:

a. Op-Ed of the week: from Brent Staples of the New York Times, some good lessons on the legacy of national anthems in our country.

b. Internet column of the Week: The great Joe Posnanski, on (mostly) quitting Twitter at the same time as he gets a kidney stone.

c. Have you considered the two might be related, Joe? That not being on Twitter may have caused this malady?

d. Sports/politics story of the week: by Rick Maese, Isabelle Khurshudyan and Andrew Roth of the Washington Post, on the bizarre intersection of a big hockey star and Vladimir Putin.

e. I looked the other day at SeatGeek just to see about the “Springsteen on Broadway” show, which of course intrigues me. Two tickets to a January show: $4,882. No thanks.

f. I read a book on the day after Thanksgiving. A whole book! “The Rooster Bar,” by John Grisham. As usual, Grisham put his hooks in me, and I finished it in six hours. I had a couple of plot problems (I’m sure Mr. Grisham will call me to discuss), but it was easy and fun and the kind of book I love on off-time. It took me to a place and provided great entertainment and made me think.

g. I am nearly finished with another book I have enjoyed quite a bit: “Ballplayer,” by Chipper Jones, with Carroll Rodgers Walton. Good job by Jones talking about life invading his professional space. Funny how that happens.

h. Annual question: Why are college coaching contracts so incredibly one-way in favor of the coaches?

i. I cannot believe anyone in the Ohio State athletic department looked at that team on the field Saturday and said, “I really love those uniforms.” Black and white? In the game against Michigan?

j. Wow. Michigan 1-5 versus Ohio State and Michigan State, its two big rivals, under Jim Harbaugh?

k. That Auburn-Alabama crowd was ridiculously loud. What a home-field advantage for Auburn. Nick Saban struggled to hear Allie LaForce for the halftime on-field interview. At halftime. When no football was being played.

l. Coffeenerdness: Dave’s Coffee of Rhode Island—you’ve got a good thing going. The stronger the better.

m. Beernerdness: My wife and I spent a couple of days away in Westerly, R.I., over Thanksgiving, and we gave thanks not only for the time away but for our time at Gray Sail Brewery on a quiet street not far from the Amtrak station and a very cute downtown Westerly. The little brew pub next to the brewery is in a 90-year-old home with original murals on the wall, painted by an Italian artist of lovely scenes in the old country. And on the main floor of the house, locals and tourists lounge around drinking good beer. My pick: The Gray Sail Flagship cream ale, easy to drink and light. Lovely. We got a tour of the brewery (a former macaroni factory, of all things) and a T-shirt, and were on our way. How great is it that in cute little towns all over America local breweries are popping up and thriving? Gray Sail is six years old, and the folks there Friday evening included two families in the converted den, with a couple of tykes running around. Strongly recommend that on your trip up I-95 along the New England coast, just over the border from Connecticut into Rhode Island, you stop there and have a beer.

n. I’m not sure of this, and maybe it’s because we had to wait so long for it to come, but this season of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” has been fairly meh. Even with the fatwa on Larry. Some of the stuff is more than slightly preposterous. More Susie. More Jeff. More Funkhauser.

o. Happy 64th birthday (Sunday) to one of the best people I’ve covered, Hall of Fame Giants linebacker Harry Carson.

p. Happy 44th birthday (today) to Renaissance man Jon Runyan, the former tackle and Jersey congressman and current NFL exec.

Who I Like Tonight

Baltimore 17, Houston 9. The Ravens have three shutouts this year, and the Texans have allowed 22 touchdown passes and a passer rating of 98.9. If Baltimore, at home, can’t win a game it absolutely has to have (next two games: Detroit, at Pittsburgh) to go to 6-5, the Ravens will soon be playing for 2018.

The Adieu Haiku

Schiano got jobbed.
The moral of the story?
Scream loudest, you win.

• We have a newsletter, and you can subscribe, and it’s free. Get “The Morning Huddle” delivered to your inbox first thing each weekday, by going here and checking The MMQB newsletter box. Start your day with the best of the NFL, from The MMQB.

Question or comment? Story idea? Email us at talkback@themmqb.com.

<p>1. I think Stanford’s David Shaw had better be in the top two, or one, for any NFL team looking for a head coach in 2018. But remember what he told me two years ago about having a better job than any NFL coach, and whoever wants him is going to have to convince his wife that it’s a better place than Palo Alto. Good luck. My sense is that Shaw will one day coach in the NFL, just not in the next couple of years. My early list of calls I’d make if I had a coach to hire, after I called Shaw:</p><p>• New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels<br>• Kansas City special teams coordinator Dave Toub<br>• Philadelphia defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz<br>• Detroit defensive coordinator Teryl Austin<br>• New England defensive coordinator Matt Patricia.</p><p>2. I think I also would fact-find about Carolina defensive coordinator Steve Wilks, University of Washington coach Chris Petersen (who likely wants to stay on the West Coast), Minnesota offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur and Houston defensive coordinator Mike Vrabel. I’d phone Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz; I don’t think he’d leave, but I’d make him tell me that. Finally, I don’t know Jacksonville defensive coordinator Todd Wash or Kansas City offensive coordinator Matt Nagy (just 39) but hear good things about them. And as for those who say the pool of available coaches is grim, I would remind you of three names:</p><p>• Chuck Noll was an unknown and a distant second to Joe Paterno when the Steelers hired him in 1969. Four Super Bowl wins followed. </p><p>• “An inspired choice or a real mistake?” the Philadelphia Inquirer wondered after the hire of Andy Reid in 1999—and he proceeded to win 74 more games than anyone else in club history.</p><p>• Robert Kraft told me earlier this year he was warned by former Browns owner Art Modell to stay far away from Bill Belichick—and all Belichick has done is win 235 games in New England.</p><p>Moral of the story: There are scores of good coaches out there. They need good quarterbacks and good organizations to succeed.</p><p>Last point to make: Jon Gruden might be interested in going back to the Raiders. I hear he loves Derek Carr and would like to see once in his career what he could do with a franchise quarterback. But I think it’s not likely Jack Del Rio gets fired.</p><p>3. I think this story about Greg Schiano having a deal to coach Tennessee, then having the deal walked back Sunday evening because of the outcry over what <em>might</em>have happened at Penn State connected to the Jerry Sandusky case, over what was <em>never proven and was denied by the relevant parties under oath</em>, over what Tennessee <em>never investigated thoroughly, </em>is a disgrace to thinking people. It also emboldens the screamers on social media, a nod to those who think if you scream loud enough in this current iteration of America you can overcome reason, and a totally unfair slap at a good man in Schiano. The pathetic result of this caper is that the social-media lynch mob won, and no matter how well Schiano does as an assistant at Ohio State, it may never be good enough for him to get a head-coaching job. The water has been poisoned by the crazies. In America today, that matters.</p><p>4. I think these are my quick thoughts on Week 12:</p><p>a. What a great game Green Bay-Pittsburgh was.</p><p>b. Man, Brett Hundley proved me wrong, at least this week. What a tremendous late-fourth-quarter drive, including 72 yards passing, moving the Packers for six first downs and the tying touchdowns—and converting a fourth down with under three minutes left to make the tying score possible.</p><p>c. Huge sack by T.J. Watt, nailing Hundley with a minute to go and enabling the Steelers to get the ball back with just enough time.</p><p>d. Russell Wilson: To have the Seahawks at 7-4, as beat up as the team is, is a tribute to a very good defense to be sure. But mostly it’s a tribute to you.</p><p>e. Thanks, Drew Bledsoe, for <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2017/11/20/terry-glenn-remembered-drew-bledsoe-patriots-cowboys" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:the terrific tribute written for The MMQB" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">the terrific tribute written for The MMQB</a>to the late Terry Glenn.</p><p>f. Good stats by Andrew Catalon on CBS: Zane Gonzalez of the Browns has missed five field goals this year, all wide left. Hope you’re renting, Zane.</p><p>g. Christian Jones, the Chicago middle linebacker no one knows, sure makes a lot of plays for an unknown guy.</p><p>h. When Keenan Allen next negotiates a contract with the Chargers, all he has to do is bring a tape of his last eight quarters in two must-wins for the Chargers, against Buffalo and Dallas, in a five-day span: 23 catches in 27 targets, 331 yards, three touchdowns.</p><p>i. The reception, run and stretch for the first down in the fourth quarter by Minnesota’s Stefon Diggs, making the first down by an inch, was a truly great awareness play by Diggs. Kudos to him.</p><p>j. Detroit’s Akeem Spence dropping Jerick McKinnon late in the first half for a loss was the kind of textbook run-stuff every defensive-line coach should show his players.</p><p>k. Kai Forbath makes me nervous. Very nervous. And if he makes me nervous, imagine what he does to that pepperpot Mike Zimmer.</p><p>l. Why, with the game on the line, on fourth-and-eight when the Lions needed a conversion, did Matthew Stafford throw to a blanketed receiver—covered by the Vikes’ best corner, Xavier Rhodes—with almost zero chance for completion?</p><p>m. Yikes: Dak Prescott’s passer rating this year with Zeke Elliott in the lineup: 97.9. Prescott without Elliott: 57.0.</p><p>n. Looks like Eli Apple is turning into a lost top pick for the Giants, <a href="https://nypost.com/2017/11/25/eli-apples-attitude-towards-criticism-led-to-near-walk-out/?utm_campaign=iosapp&utm_source=twitter_app" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:per Paul Schwartz" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">per Paul Schwartz</a> of the New York Post.</p><p>o. Prince Amukamara could take the video of his pass-breakup of the Carson Wentz-to-Torrey Smith throw in Philadelphia and show it to young corners everywhere. Perfect timing, mechanics of a pass breakup.</p><p>p. Gotta catch that ball, Austin Seferian-Jenkins. That drop of a first-quarter touchdown pass cost the Jets four points.</p><p>5. I think I do not mean to be cruel, but this is the truth: Brock Osweiler has gotten two offensive coordinators (George Godsey, Mike McCoy) fired from two teams (Houston, Denver) in consecutive seasons. Also:</p><p>• Osweiler has played so poorly in Houston that he had to be traded to Cleveland <em>along with a second-round pick so the Browns would take him. </em>He played so poorly in training camp in Cleveland that the Browns, desperate for a placeholder quarterback, fired him anyway. He played so poorly in Denver in relief of Trevor Siemian that he was demoted the other day from number one to number three quarterback.</p><p>• Osweiler is employed in the NFL today. Colin Kaepernick is not. It helps explain why so many people are rooting hard for Kaepernick’s longshot collusion case against the NFL.</p><p>6. I think it’s time to sound the TV ratings alarm—if you haven’t already heard it clanging from coast to coast. It looks even worse when considering that the NFL, perhaps rightfully, blamed last year’s ratings decline on the attention magnet that the 2016 presidential election was. But Thanksgiving week is two weeks clear of the election season. So let’s compare some of the numbers to each of the past two years to see where we are (thanks to Sports Media Watch for the ratings info):</p><p>• ESPN, Monday night, Atlanta at Seattle: 6.4 rating, a decline of 28.1 percent from Buffalo-New England in 2015 … a decline of 7.2 percent from Houston-Oakland last year.</p><p>• FOX, Thanksgiving Day, Minnesota at Detroit: 11.4 rating, a drop of 7.3 percent from Philadelphia-Detroit in 2015 … a drop of 12.3 percent from Minnesota-Detroit last year.</p><p>• CBS, Thanksgiving Day, Los Angeles Chargers at Dallas: 12.4 rating, a decrease of 19.0 percent from Dallas-Carolina in 2015 … a decrease of 20.5 percent from Dallas-Washington last year.</p><p>• NBC, Thanksgiving night, New York Giants at Washington: 9.7 rating, a drop of 33.6 percent from Chicago-Green Bay in 2015 … a drop of 10.2 percent from Indianapolis-Pittsburgh last year.</p><p>A bit of clarification: CBS did the early-window game from Detroit last year; FOX did the early game from Detroit this year. So the numbers on FOX and CBS are window versus window, not network versus network. But in window versus window, the numbers of ’17 versus ’16 were down 7.2, 12.3, 20.5 and 10.2 percent on Monday and Thursday of Thanksgiving week. Not good.</p><p>7. I think I don’t want to rain on the Matthew Stafford parade, and I get that he is struggling with a sore ankle, but man, that was an underwhelming performance Thursday in a game the Lions had to have.</p><p>8. I think the Eagles have a very interesting road trip coming up: at Seattle on Sunday night, against the beat-up but still dangerous Seahawks; then working out on Eagle season-ticket-holder Mike Trout’s baseball field in Anaheim for the following week; then playing the dangerous Rams (in a preview of my prospective NFC title game) the following Sunday.</p><p>9. I think <a href="http://m.fox8live.com/wvuefox8/db_344663/contentdetail.htm?contentguid=V4IAWNSY" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:congrats are in order" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">congrats are in order</a> for Archie and Olivia Manning’s grandson, Cooper Manning’s son, Peyton Manning’s nephew and Eli Manning’s nephew. A 70-percent passing day for Arch Manning in a big game. Heck of a game, kid. (And yes, the boy goes by “Arch.”)</p><p>10. I think these are my non-NFL thoughts of the week:</p><p>a. <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/21/opinion/kaepernick-negro-national-anthem.html?_r=0" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Op-Ed of the week" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Op-Ed of the week</a>: from Brent Staples of the New York Times<em>, </em>some good lessons on the legacy of national anthems in our country.</p><p>b. <a href="http://joeposnanski.com/kidney-stones-electric-cars-pixelbooks-and-twitter/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Internet column of the Week" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Internet column of the Week</a>: The great Joe Posnanski, on (mostly) quitting Twitter at the same time as he gets a kidney stone.</p><p>c. Have you considered the two might be related, Joe? That <em>not </em>being on Twitter may have caused this malady?</p><p>d. <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/alex-ovechkin-is-one-of-putins-biggest-fans-the-question-is-why/2017/11/25/c5f8bb2e-ce36-11e7-9d3a-bcbe2af58c3a_story.html?utm_term=.9c251dc9b82e" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Sports/politics story of the week" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Sports/politics story of the week</a>: by Rick Maese, Isabelle Khurshudyan and Andrew Roth of the Washington Post<em>, </em>on the bizarre intersection of a big hockey star and Vladimir Putin.</p><p>e. I looked the other day at SeatGeek just to see about the “Springsteen on Broadway” show, which of course intrigues me. Two tickets to a January show: $4,882. No thanks.</p><p>f. I read a book on the day after Thanksgiving. A whole book! <a href="http://amzn.to/2A7JjMR" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:“The Rooster Bar,” by John Grisham." class="link rapid-noclick-resp">“The Rooster Bar,” by John Grisham.</a> As usual, Grisham put his hooks in me, and I finished it in six hours. I had a couple of plot problems (I’m sure Mr. Grisham will call me to discuss), but it was easy and fun and the kind of book I love on off-time. It took me to a place and provided great entertainment and made me think.</p><p>g. I am nearly finished with another book I have enjoyed quite a bit: <a href="http://amzn.to/2zsgLdz" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:“Ballplayer,” by Chipper Jones, with Carroll Rodgers Walton" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">“Ballplayer,” by Chipper Jones, with Carroll Rodgers Walton</a>. Good job by Jones talking about life invading his professional space. Funny how that happens.</p><p>h. Annual question: Why are college coaching contracts so incredibly one-way in favor of the coaches?</p><p>i. I cannot believe anyone in the Ohio State athletic department looked at that team on the field Saturday and said, “I really love those uniforms.” Black and white? In the game against Michigan?</p><p>j. Wow. Michigan 1-5 versus Ohio State and Michigan State, its two big rivals, under Jim Harbaugh?</p><p>k. That Auburn-Alabama crowd was ridiculously loud. What a home-field advantage for Auburn. Nick Saban struggled to hear Allie LaForce for the halftime on-field interview. At halftime. When no football was being played.</p><p>l. Coffeenerdness: <a href="https://www.davescoffee.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Dave’s Coffee" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Dave’s Coffee</a> of Rhode Island—you’ve got a good thing going. The stronger the better.</p><p>m. Beernerdness: My wife and I spent a couple of days away in Westerly, R.I., over Thanksgiving, and we gave thanks not only for the time away but for our time at <a href="http://greysailbrewing.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Gray Sail Brewery" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Gray Sail Brewery</a> on a quiet street not far from the Amtrak station and a very cute downtown Westerly. The little brew pub next to the brewery is in a 90-year-old home with original murals on the wall, painted by an Italian artist of lovely scenes in the old country. And on the main floor of the house, locals and tourists lounge around drinking good beer. My pick: The Gray Sail Flagship cream ale, easy to drink and light. Lovely. We got a tour of the brewery (a former macaroni factory, of all things) and a T-shirt, and were on our way. How great is it that in cute little towns all over America local breweries are popping up and thriving? Gray Sail is six years old, and the folks there Friday evening included two families in the converted den, with a couple of tykes running around. Strongly recommend that on your trip up I-95 along the New England coast, just over the border from Connecticut into Rhode Island, you stop there and have a beer.</p><p>n. I’m not sure of this, and maybe it’s because we had to wait so long for it to come, but this season of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” has been fairly meh. Even with the fatwa on Larry. Some of the stuff is more than slightly preposterous. More Susie. More Jeff. More Funkhauser.</p><p>o. Happy 64th birthday (Sunday) to one of the best people I’ve covered, Hall of Fame Giants linebacker Harry Carson.</p><p>p. Happy 44th birthday (today) to Renaissance man Jon Runyan, the former tackle and Jersey congressman and current NFL exec.</p><h3>Who I Like Tonight</h3><p><strong>Baltimore 17, Houston 9. </strong>The Ravens have three shutouts this year, and the Texans have allowed 22 touchdown passes and a passer rating of 98.9. If Baltimore, at home, can’t win a game it absolutely has to have (next two games: Detroit, at Pittsburgh) to go to 6-5, the Ravens will soon be playing for 2018.</p><h3>The Adieu Haiku</h3><p>Schiano got jobbed.<br>The moral of the story?<br>Scream loudest, you win.</p><p><strong><em>• We have a newsletter, and you can subscribe, and it’s free</em></strong>. Get “The Morning Huddle” delivered to your inbox first thing each weekday, by <a href="https://www.si.com/static/newsletter/signup" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:going here and checking The MMQB newsletter box." class="link rapid-noclick-resp"><em>going here and checking The MMQB newsletter box.</em></a> Start your day with the best of the NFL, from The MMQB.</p><p><strong>•<em>Question or comment? Story idea?</em></strong> Email us at <span><em>talkback@themmqb.com</em></span>.</p>
Ten Things I Think I Think: On NFL Coaching Candidates, Week 12 Reactions, TV Ratings

1. I think Stanford’s David Shaw had better be in the top two, or one, for any NFL team looking for a head coach in 2018. But remember what he told me two years ago about having a better job than any NFL coach, and whoever wants him is going to have to convince his wife that it’s a better place than Palo Alto. Good luck. My sense is that Shaw will one day coach in the NFL, just not in the next couple of years. My early list of calls I’d make if I had a coach to hire, after I called Shaw:

• New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels
• Kansas City special teams coordinator Dave Toub
• Philadelphia defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz
• Detroit defensive coordinator Teryl Austin
• New England defensive coordinator Matt Patricia.

2. I think I also would fact-find about Carolina defensive coordinator Steve Wilks, University of Washington coach Chris Petersen (who likely wants to stay on the West Coast), Minnesota offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur and Houston defensive coordinator Mike Vrabel. I’d phone Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz; I don’t think he’d leave, but I’d make him tell me that. Finally, I don’t know Jacksonville defensive coordinator Todd Wash or Kansas City offensive coordinator Matt Nagy (just 39) but hear good things about them. And as for those who say the pool of available coaches is grim, I would remind you of three names:

• Chuck Noll was an unknown and a distant second to Joe Paterno when the Steelers hired him in 1969. Four Super Bowl wins followed.

• “An inspired choice or a real mistake?” the Philadelphia Inquirer wondered after the hire of Andy Reid in 1999—and he proceeded to win 74 more games than anyone else in club history.

• Robert Kraft told me earlier this year he was warned by former Browns owner Art Modell to stay far away from Bill Belichick—and all Belichick has done is win 235 games in New England.

Moral of the story: There are scores of good coaches out there. They need good quarterbacks and good organizations to succeed.

Last point to make: Jon Gruden might be interested in going back to the Raiders. I hear he loves Derek Carr and would like to see once in his career what he could do with a franchise quarterback. But I think it’s not likely Jack Del Rio gets fired.

3. I think this story about Greg Schiano having a deal to coach Tennessee, then having the deal walked back Sunday evening because of the outcry over what mighthave happened at Penn State connected to the Jerry Sandusky case, over what was never proven and was denied by the relevant parties under oath, over what Tennessee never investigated thoroughly, is a disgrace to thinking people. It also emboldens the screamers on social media, a nod to those who think if you scream loud enough in this current iteration of America you can overcome reason, and a totally unfair slap at a good man in Schiano. The pathetic result of this caper is that the social-media lynch mob won, and no matter how well Schiano does as an assistant at Ohio State, it may never be good enough for him to get a head-coaching job. The water has been poisoned by the crazies. In America today, that matters.

4. I think these are my quick thoughts on Week 12:

a. What a great game Green Bay-Pittsburgh was.

b. Man, Brett Hundley proved me wrong, at least this week. What a tremendous late-fourth-quarter drive, including 72 yards passing, moving the Packers for six first downs and the tying touchdowns—and converting a fourth down with under three minutes left to make the tying score possible.

c. Huge sack by T.J. Watt, nailing Hundley with a minute to go and enabling the Steelers to get the ball back with just enough time.

d. Russell Wilson: To have the Seahawks at 7-4, as beat up as the team is, is a tribute to a very good defense to be sure. But mostly it’s a tribute to you.

e. Thanks, Drew Bledsoe, for the terrific tribute written for The MMQBto the late Terry Glenn.

f. Good stats by Andrew Catalon on CBS: Zane Gonzalez of the Browns has missed five field goals this year, all wide left. Hope you’re renting, Zane.

g. Christian Jones, the Chicago middle linebacker no one knows, sure makes a lot of plays for an unknown guy.

h. When Keenan Allen next negotiates a contract with the Chargers, all he has to do is bring a tape of his last eight quarters in two must-wins for the Chargers, against Buffalo and Dallas, in a five-day span: 23 catches in 27 targets, 331 yards, three touchdowns.

i. The reception, run and stretch for the first down in the fourth quarter by Minnesota’s Stefon Diggs, making the first down by an inch, was a truly great awareness play by Diggs. Kudos to him.

j. Detroit’s Akeem Spence dropping Jerick McKinnon late in the first half for a loss was the kind of textbook run-stuff every defensive-line coach should show his players.

k. Kai Forbath makes me nervous. Very nervous. And if he makes me nervous, imagine what he does to that pepperpot Mike Zimmer.

l. Why, with the game on the line, on fourth-and-eight when the Lions needed a conversion, did Matthew Stafford throw to a blanketed receiver—covered by the Vikes’ best corner, Xavier Rhodes—with almost zero chance for completion?

m. Yikes: Dak Prescott’s passer rating this year with Zeke Elliott in the lineup: 97.9. Prescott without Elliott: 57.0.

n. Looks like Eli Apple is turning into a lost top pick for the Giants, per Paul Schwartz of the New York Post.

o. Prince Amukamara could take the video of his pass-breakup of the Carson Wentz-to-Torrey Smith throw in Philadelphia and show it to young corners everywhere. Perfect timing, mechanics of a pass breakup.

p. Gotta catch that ball, Austin Seferian-Jenkins. That drop of a first-quarter touchdown pass cost the Jets four points.

5. I think I do not mean to be cruel, but this is the truth: Brock Osweiler has gotten two offensive coordinators (George Godsey, Mike McCoy) fired from two teams (Houston, Denver) in consecutive seasons. Also:

• Osweiler has played so poorly in Houston that he had to be traded to Cleveland along with a second-round pick so the Browns would take him. He played so poorly in training camp in Cleveland that the Browns, desperate for a placeholder quarterback, fired him anyway. He played so poorly in Denver in relief of Trevor Siemian that he was demoted the other day from number one to number three quarterback.

• Osweiler is employed in the NFL today. Colin Kaepernick is not. It helps explain why so many people are rooting hard for Kaepernick’s longshot collusion case against the NFL.

6. I think it’s time to sound the TV ratings alarm—if you haven’t already heard it clanging from coast to coast. It looks even worse when considering that the NFL, perhaps rightfully, blamed last year’s ratings decline on the attention magnet that the 2016 presidential election was. But Thanksgiving week is two weeks clear of the election season. So let’s compare some of the numbers to each of the past two years to see where we are (thanks to Sports Media Watch for the ratings info):

• ESPN, Monday night, Atlanta at Seattle: 6.4 rating, a decline of 28.1 percent from Buffalo-New England in 2015 … a decline of 7.2 percent from Houston-Oakland last year.

• FOX, Thanksgiving Day, Minnesota at Detroit: 11.4 rating, a drop of 7.3 percent from Philadelphia-Detroit in 2015 … a drop of 12.3 percent from Minnesota-Detroit last year.

• CBS, Thanksgiving Day, Los Angeles Chargers at Dallas: 12.4 rating, a decrease of 19.0 percent from Dallas-Carolina in 2015 … a decrease of 20.5 percent from Dallas-Washington last year.

• NBC, Thanksgiving night, New York Giants at Washington: 9.7 rating, a drop of 33.6 percent from Chicago-Green Bay in 2015 … a drop of 10.2 percent from Indianapolis-Pittsburgh last year.

A bit of clarification: CBS did the early-window game from Detroit last year; FOX did the early game from Detroit this year. So the numbers on FOX and CBS are window versus window, not network versus network. But in window versus window, the numbers of ’17 versus ’16 were down 7.2, 12.3, 20.5 and 10.2 percent on Monday and Thursday of Thanksgiving week. Not good.

7. I think I don’t want to rain on the Matthew Stafford parade, and I get that he is struggling with a sore ankle, but man, that was an underwhelming performance Thursday in a game the Lions had to have.

8. I think the Eagles have a very interesting road trip coming up: at Seattle on Sunday night, against the beat-up but still dangerous Seahawks; then working out on Eagle season-ticket-holder Mike Trout’s baseball field in Anaheim for the following week; then playing the dangerous Rams (in a preview of my prospective NFC title game) the following Sunday.

9. I think congrats are in order for Archie and Olivia Manning’s grandson, Cooper Manning’s son, Peyton Manning’s nephew and Eli Manning’s nephew. A 70-percent passing day for Arch Manning in a big game. Heck of a game, kid. (And yes, the boy goes by “Arch.”)

10. I think these are my non-NFL thoughts of the week:

a. Op-Ed of the week: from Brent Staples of the New York Times, some good lessons on the legacy of national anthems in our country.

b. Internet column of the Week: The great Joe Posnanski, on (mostly) quitting Twitter at the same time as he gets a kidney stone.

c. Have you considered the two might be related, Joe? That not being on Twitter may have caused this malady?

d. Sports/politics story of the week: by Rick Maese, Isabelle Khurshudyan and Andrew Roth of the Washington Post, on the bizarre intersection of a big hockey star and Vladimir Putin.

e. I looked the other day at SeatGeek just to see about the “Springsteen on Broadway” show, which of course intrigues me. Two tickets to a January show: $4,882. No thanks.

f. I read a book on the day after Thanksgiving. A whole book! “The Rooster Bar,” by John Grisham. As usual, Grisham put his hooks in me, and I finished it in six hours. I had a couple of plot problems (I’m sure Mr. Grisham will call me to discuss), but it was easy and fun and the kind of book I love on off-time. It took me to a place and provided great entertainment and made me think.

g. I am nearly finished with another book I have enjoyed quite a bit: “Ballplayer,” by Chipper Jones, with Carroll Rodgers Walton. Good job by Jones talking about life invading his professional space. Funny how that happens.

h. Annual question: Why are college coaching contracts so incredibly one-way in favor of the coaches?

i. I cannot believe anyone in the Ohio State athletic department looked at that team on the field Saturday and said, “I really love those uniforms.” Black and white? In the game against Michigan?

j. Wow. Michigan 1-5 versus Ohio State and Michigan State, its two big rivals, under Jim Harbaugh?

k. That Auburn-Alabama crowd was ridiculously loud. What a home-field advantage for Auburn. Nick Saban struggled to hear Allie LaForce for the halftime on-field interview. At halftime. When no football was being played.

l. Coffeenerdness: Dave’s Coffee of Rhode Island—you’ve got a good thing going. The stronger the better.

m. Beernerdness: My wife and I spent a couple of days away in Westerly, R.I., over Thanksgiving, and we gave thanks not only for the time away but for our time at Gray Sail Brewery on a quiet street not far from the Amtrak station and a very cute downtown Westerly. The little brew pub next to the brewery is in a 90-year-old home with original murals on the wall, painted by an Italian artist of lovely scenes in the old country. And on the main floor of the house, locals and tourists lounge around drinking good beer. My pick: The Gray Sail Flagship cream ale, easy to drink and light. Lovely. We got a tour of the brewery (a former macaroni factory, of all things) and a T-shirt, and were on our way. How great is it that in cute little towns all over America local breweries are popping up and thriving? Gray Sail is six years old, and the folks there Friday evening included two families in the converted den, with a couple of tykes running around. Strongly recommend that on your trip up I-95 along the New England coast, just over the border from Connecticut into Rhode Island, you stop there and have a beer.

n. I’m not sure of this, and maybe it’s because we had to wait so long for it to come, but this season of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” has been fairly meh. Even with the fatwa on Larry. Some of the stuff is more than slightly preposterous. More Susie. More Jeff. More Funkhauser.

o. Happy 64th birthday (Sunday) to one of the best people I’ve covered, Hall of Fame Giants linebacker Harry Carson.

p. Happy 44th birthday (today) to Renaissance man Jon Runyan, the former tackle and Jersey congressman and current NFL exec.

Who I Like Tonight

Baltimore 17, Houston 9. The Ravens have three shutouts this year, and the Texans have allowed 22 touchdown passes and a passer rating of 98.9. If Baltimore, at home, can’t win a game it absolutely has to have (next two games: Detroit, at Pittsburgh) to go to 6-5, the Ravens will soon be playing for 2018.

The Adieu Haiku

Schiano got jobbed.
The moral of the story?
Scream loudest, you win.

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Question or comment? Story idea? Email us at talkback@themmqb.com.

<p>Tennessee was finalizing a deal with Greg Schiano Sunday to become the team's new head coach and it did not go over too well with fans in Knoxville. The backlash eventually led to the Vols backing out of the deal, <a href="https://www.si.com/college-football/2017/11/26/tennessee-greg-schiano-deal-off-backlash" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:sources told SI.com's Bruce Feldman" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">sources told SI.com's Bruce Feldman</a>.</p><p>Schiano is currently serving as the defensive coordinator at Ohio State. He previously coached at Rutgers for 11 seasons and helped make the Scarlet Knights into a relevant football program in the Big East. He coached in the NFL for two seasons. </p><p>Schiano's time as an assistant under Joe Paterno at Penn State has been the subject of controversy and a source of Tennessee fans' unrest. Documents released in July 2016 contain testimony that alleges Schiano had knowledge of the sexual abuse that was perpetrated by defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky, who is serving a minimum 30-year sentence after his 2012 conviction on 45 charges of sexually abusing 10 boys. Schiano denies ever seeing any abuse or having any reason to suspect any abuse in his time at Penn State.</p><p><em>Here's what some notable figures and fans said about the potential deal:</em></p><p>Tennessee fired Butch Jones on Nov. 12 after they dropped to 0–6 in SEC play. He went 34–27 in his five seasons with the Vols.</p>
Tennessee Fans in Uproar Over Reports School Is Hiring Greg Schiano

Tennessee was finalizing a deal with Greg Schiano Sunday to become the team's new head coach and it did not go over too well with fans in Knoxville. The backlash eventually led to the Vols backing out of the deal, sources told SI.com's Bruce Feldman.

Schiano is currently serving as the defensive coordinator at Ohio State. He previously coached at Rutgers for 11 seasons and helped make the Scarlet Knights into a relevant football program in the Big East. He coached in the NFL for two seasons.

Schiano's time as an assistant under Joe Paterno at Penn State has been the subject of controversy and a source of Tennessee fans' unrest. Documents released in July 2016 contain testimony that alleges Schiano had knowledge of the sexual abuse that was perpetrated by defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky, who is serving a minimum 30-year sentence after his 2012 conviction on 45 charges of sexually abusing 10 boys. Schiano denies ever seeing any abuse or having any reason to suspect any abuse in his time at Penn State.

Here's what some notable figures and fans said about the potential deal:

Tennessee fired Butch Jones on Nov. 12 after they dropped to 0–6 in SEC play. He went 34–27 in his five seasons with the Vols.

FILE - In this Sept. 9, 2017, file photo, Penn State head coach James Franklin, left, celebrates with tight end Mike Gesicki (88) after Gesicki scored a touchdown against Pittsburgh during the first half of an NCAA college football game in State College, Pa. In his fourth season as Penn State coach, James Franklin has the No. 2 team in the country. He has not just restored the pride in Penn State football to pre-Sandusky scandal levels, the Nittany Lions are playing as well as they did during Joe Paterno's prime. (AP Photo/Chris Knight, File)
Franklin leads Penn State with grand vision, big personality
FILE - In this Sept. 9, 2017, file photo, Penn State head coach James Franklin, left, celebrates with tight end Mike Gesicki (88) after Gesicki scored a touchdown against Pittsburgh during the first half of an NCAA college football game in State College, Pa. In his fourth season as Penn State coach, James Franklin has the No. 2 team in the country. He has not just restored the pride in Penn State football to pre-Sandusky scandal levels, the Nittany Lions are playing as well as they did during Joe Paterno's prime. (AP Photo/Chris Knight, File)
FILE - In this Sept. 16, 2017, file photo, Penn State head coach James Franklin stands on the sidelines as the team takes on Georgia State during the first half of an NCAA college football game in State College, Pa. In his fourth season as Penn State coach, James Franklin has the No. 2 team in the country. He has not just restored the pride in Penn State football to pre-Sandusky scandal levels, the Nittany Lions are playing as well as they did during Joe Paterno's prime. (AP Photo/Chris Knight, File)
Franklin leads Penn State with grand vision, big personality
FILE - In this Sept. 16, 2017, file photo, Penn State head coach James Franklin stands on the sidelines as the team takes on Georgia State during the first half of an NCAA college football game in State College, Pa. In his fourth season as Penn State coach, James Franklin has the No. 2 team in the country. He has not just restored the pride in Penn State football to pre-Sandusky scandal levels, the Nittany Lions are playing as well as they did during Joe Paterno's prime. (AP Photo/Chris Knight, File)
<p><em>Sports Illustrated is celebrating Penn State’s last quarter-century of Big Ten play with a special issue, honoring the school’s greatest players and games from the era. <a href="https://backissues.si.com/storefront/2017/penn-state-25-years-in-the-big-10/prodSI20171020SPEC.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:You can get your copy at newsstands now, or order it online here." class="link rapid-noclick-resp">You can get your copy at newsstands now, or order it online here.</a></em></p><p>The new era began with a secret dinner.</p><p>In the spring of 1989, a delegation from Penn State, including football coach Joe Paterno, flew to Champaign, Ill., in a private plane to not draw attention. The president of the University of Illinois, Stanley Ikenberry, sent a driver to the airport but didn’t go himself to avoid being seen. Back at the President’s House on campus, just a single staff member was asked to work that night.</p><p>The purpose of the dinner was to discuss the possibility of Penn State’s joining the Big Ten. They didn’t want anybody to know, in case it didn’t work out.</p><p>At that point Penn State was competing as an independent in football, as it had done for a century, but going it alone was becoming less desirable. In 1981, Paterno had worked to establish an Eastern sports conference, but Penn State was left out in the cold as Syracuse and other basketball-centric schools joined the Big East. And, while it certainly didn’t turn out this way, Paterno at the time had said he planned to retire at 65, which was just a few years off. His expected departure was another reason the university longed for the stability of a conference affiliation.</p><p>Penn State’s president, Bryce Jordan, was the one who had contacted Ikenberry. As chairman of the Council of 10, the Big Ten’s governing body, Ikenberry held considerable influence—and he was also a former Penn State senior vice president. “What would you think about Penn State joining the Big Ten?” Jordan asked him. Ikenberry agreed to meet with Paterno et al., before raising the topic with the other nine university presidents.</p><p>Several months after the dinner, word reached the media that an invitation had been extended to Penn State to join the Big Ten. In June 1990, the Council of 10 convened in Iowa City for the official vote while Penn State administrators waited apprehensively in Old Main. After two days of deliberations, the conference presidents voted the Nittany Lions in 7–3, the minimum margin needed to pass. (Indiana was the only school to state publicly it had voted against the move.) The 1993 season was Penn State football’s first as a member of the Big Ten. Today it is hard to imagine the Big Ten without Penn State, and vice versa.</p><p>• <strong><a href="https://www.si.com/college-football/photo/2017/10/20/penn-state-nittany-lions-lavar-arrington-whiteout" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Vault: Classic Penn State photos" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Vault: Classic Penn State photos</a> | <a href="https://www.si.com/college-football/2017/10/23/penn-state-offense-michigan-ohio-state" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:STAPLES: How Joe Moorhead messed with Michigan" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">STAPLES: How Joe Moorhead messed with Michigan</a></strong></p><p>“I don’t think there’s any doubt that it was the right decision then, the right decision now,” says Jim Delany, who has been Big Ten commissioner since 1989, “and that while there has been a lot of conference expansion since, I’m not sure there has ever been a better fit or match.”</p><p>Pennsylvania was a contiguous state to Big Ten territory, and Penn State was a land-grant institution like many of the conference’s members, but its most appealing attributes were ones that would help the Big Ten grow: Its football team brought the conference a third national brand, along with Ohio State and Michigan, and Penn State was also a bridge to the East, opening up a larger media audience, a broader recruiting base and the potential for expansion.</p><p>The reception at first, however, could be generously described as lukewarm. Traditionalists didn’t like the fact that the Big Ten now had 11 teams; others grumbled that tiny State College was inaccessible. Among the discontented was Indiana basketball coach Bobby Knight, who said, “I’ve been to Penn State, and Penn State is a camping trip. There is nothing for 100 miles.” Northwestern, meanwhile, feared that it was about to be pushed out. Penn State, which had won two national titles in the previous decade, also figured to make the football competition stiffer—not necessarily good news for all.</p><p>Penn State won its first Big Ten title in its second season in the conference, but memories of that undefeated 1994 team inspire ire as well as awe. The Lions headed to the Rose Bowl knowing that a victory over a three-loss Oregon team might not earn the poll votes needed to be named national champions—and that is exactly what happened. Had we still been an independent, fans griped, the Lions could have had the chance to play fellow undefeated—and eventual national champion—Nebraska, in the Orange Bowl, and win the title on the field.</p><p>Over the years the changes in major college football have confirmed the original analysis: joining a conference was a business necessity, as well as a competitive one. (Penn State’s other sports have benefitted, too: The Big Ten era hastened the construction of a new basketball arena, named after Bryce Jordan; and the Olympic sports have combined for 30 NCAA championships, more than any other Big Ten school.)</p><p>The move meant that regional rivalries like Pitt–Penn State went on hiatus for 15 years, but the Big Ten schedule quickly became the tablet on which Lions history was written. The LaVar Leap happened against Illinois; Larry Johnson broke the 2,000-yard rushing mark against Michigan State; and no matter their records, <a href="https://www.si.com/college-football/2017/09/24/penn-state-iowa-last-second-touchdown" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:the Hawkeyes always seem to give the Lions trouble" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">the Hawkeyes always seem to give the Lions trouble</a>. After losing seasons in the early 2000s, Penn State declared its comeback on an October night in 2005 when defensive end Tamba Hali upended Buckeyes quarterback Troy Smith to seal a victory against Ohio State. Were it not for a mysterious two seconds added back to the clock at Michigan Stadium the following week, the Lions would have been unbeaten. In 2016, when Penn State won its fourth Big Ten football championship, the season turned with an underdog win against the No. 2 Buckeyes, delivered on a blocked field goal returned for a game-winning touchdown.</p><p>The 2016 season was a comeback for Lions football, but Penn State had to return from a place no school ever had before. The program and community had been stunned by the November 2011 indictment of Jerry Sandusky, who had retired as defensive coordinator in 1999 after 32 years in State College. Sandusky was charged with sexually abusing boys he had met through his charity for at-risk youth. The arrest was the first in a series of shocks. Paterno was fired after Sandusky’s arrest, and the Big Ten decided to remove his name from the conference championship trophy; Paterno died from lung cancer two months later. Sandusky was found guilty of 45 counts of child sex abuse and will spend the rest of his life in prison. In 2017 three university officials, including former president Graham Spanier, were sentenced to jail time for failing to alert authorities to allegations against Sandusky.</p><p>The NCAA issued a four-year postseason ban to Penn State, reduced scholarships and vacated wins from 14 seasons. Bill O’Brien in 2012 and then James Franklin in ’14 were brought in to lead the football program as the first new head football coaches in Happy Valley since 1966. In ’14 penalties were rolled back, gradually returning scholarships and lifting the postseason ban, and Paterno was later restored in the record books as the winningest coach in major college football history. In ’16 the team again earned an invitation to the Rose Bowl.</p><p>At the Big Ten media days in the summer of 2017, Delany called the Sandusky case and its aftermath the “most difficult set of circumstances” he’d been confronted with, but he also commended Penn State’s road back. “They’ve got great leadership, great players,” he said, “and we’re really happy that they’ve gotten to the other side, if you will, after five years.”</p><p>Today, in the age of super-conferences, the Big Ten’s further expansion seems inevitable. But for two decades, Penn State had stood alone as the 11th and final member of the Big Ten. There had been a temporary moratorium on further expansion after Penn State was added, but in 2011, Nebraska joined. In ’14 came two more Eastern neighbors, Rutgers and Maryland. The clever Big Ten logo the conference commissioned when Penn State joined—the one with the “11” tucked in—was replaced with “B1G.”</p><p>Each subsequent expansion of the Big Ten may have been easier—but in the landscape of college football, not more significant than adding Penn State 25 years ago.</p><p><em>Jenny Vrentas, a writer for The MMQB, grew up in State College and graduated from Penn State in 2006.</em></p>
Twenty-Five Seasons Later, Penn State and the Big Ten Remain a Perfect Match

Sports Illustrated is celebrating Penn State’s last quarter-century of Big Ten play with a special issue, honoring the school’s greatest players and games from the era. You can get your copy at newsstands now, or order it online here.

The new era began with a secret dinner.

In the spring of 1989, a delegation from Penn State, including football coach Joe Paterno, flew to Champaign, Ill., in a private plane to not draw attention. The president of the University of Illinois, Stanley Ikenberry, sent a driver to the airport but didn’t go himself to avoid being seen. Back at the President’s House on campus, just a single staff member was asked to work that night.

The purpose of the dinner was to discuss the possibility of Penn State’s joining the Big Ten. They didn’t want anybody to know, in case it didn’t work out.

At that point Penn State was competing as an independent in football, as it had done for a century, but going it alone was becoming less desirable. In 1981, Paterno had worked to establish an Eastern sports conference, but Penn State was left out in the cold as Syracuse and other basketball-centric schools joined the Big East. And, while it certainly didn’t turn out this way, Paterno at the time had said he planned to retire at 65, which was just a few years off. His expected departure was another reason the university longed for the stability of a conference affiliation.

Penn State’s president, Bryce Jordan, was the one who had contacted Ikenberry. As chairman of the Council of 10, the Big Ten’s governing body, Ikenberry held considerable influence—and he was also a former Penn State senior vice president. “What would you think about Penn State joining the Big Ten?” Jordan asked him. Ikenberry agreed to meet with Paterno et al., before raising the topic with the other nine university presidents.

Several months after the dinner, word reached the media that an invitation had been extended to Penn State to join the Big Ten. In June 1990, the Council of 10 convened in Iowa City for the official vote while Penn State administrators waited apprehensively in Old Main. After two days of deliberations, the conference presidents voted the Nittany Lions in 7–3, the minimum margin needed to pass. (Indiana was the only school to state publicly it had voted against the move.) The 1993 season was Penn State football’s first as a member of the Big Ten. Today it is hard to imagine the Big Ten without Penn State, and vice versa.

Vault: Classic Penn State photos | STAPLES: How Joe Moorhead messed with Michigan

“I don’t think there’s any doubt that it was the right decision then, the right decision now,” says Jim Delany, who has been Big Ten commissioner since 1989, “and that while there has been a lot of conference expansion since, I’m not sure there has ever been a better fit or match.”

Pennsylvania was a contiguous state to Big Ten territory, and Penn State was a land-grant institution like many of the conference’s members, but its most appealing attributes were ones that would help the Big Ten grow: Its football team brought the conference a third national brand, along with Ohio State and Michigan, and Penn State was also a bridge to the East, opening up a larger media audience, a broader recruiting base and the potential for expansion.

The reception at first, however, could be generously described as lukewarm. Traditionalists didn’t like the fact that the Big Ten now had 11 teams; others grumbled that tiny State College was inaccessible. Among the discontented was Indiana basketball coach Bobby Knight, who said, “I’ve been to Penn State, and Penn State is a camping trip. There is nothing for 100 miles.” Northwestern, meanwhile, feared that it was about to be pushed out. Penn State, which had won two national titles in the previous decade, also figured to make the football competition stiffer—not necessarily good news for all.

Penn State won its first Big Ten title in its second season in the conference, but memories of that undefeated 1994 team inspire ire as well as awe. The Lions headed to the Rose Bowl knowing that a victory over a three-loss Oregon team might not earn the poll votes needed to be named national champions—and that is exactly what happened. Had we still been an independent, fans griped, the Lions could have had the chance to play fellow undefeated—and eventual national champion—Nebraska, in the Orange Bowl, and win the title on the field.

Over the years the changes in major college football have confirmed the original analysis: joining a conference was a business necessity, as well as a competitive one. (Penn State’s other sports have benefitted, too: The Big Ten era hastened the construction of a new basketball arena, named after Bryce Jordan; and the Olympic sports have combined for 30 NCAA championships, more than any other Big Ten school.)

The move meant that regional rivalries like Pitt–Penn State went on hiatus for 15 years, but the Big Ten schedule quickly became the tablet on which Lions history was written. The LaVar Leap happened against Illinois; Larry Johnson broke the 2,000-yard rushing mark against Michigan State; and no matter their records, the Hawkeyes always seem to give the Lions trouble. After losing seasons in the early 2000s, Penn State declared its comeback on an October night in 2005 when defensive end Tamba Hali upended Buckeyes quarterback Troy Smith to seal a victory against Ohio State. Were it not for a mysterious two seconds added back to the clock at Michigan Stadium the following week, the Lions would have been unbeaten. In 2016, when Penn State won its fourth Big Ten football championship, the season turned with an underdog win against the No. 2 Buckeyes, delivered on a blocked field goal returned for a game-winning touchdown.

The 2016 season was a comeback for Lions football, but Penn State had to return from a place no school ever had before. The program and community had been stunned by the November 2011 indictment of Jerry Sandusky, who had retired as defensive coordinator in 1999 after 32 years in State College. Sandusky was charged with sexually abusing boys he had met through his charity for at-risk youth. The arrest was the first in a series of shocks. Paterno was fired after Sandusky’s arrest, and the Big Ten decided to remove his name from the conference championship trophy; Paterno died from lung cancer two months later. Sandusky was found guilty of 45 counts of child sex abuse and will spend the rest of his life in prison. In 2017 three university officials, including former president Graham Spanier, were sentenced to jail time for failing to alert authorities to allegations against Sandusky.

The NCAA issued a four-year postseason ban to Penn State, reduced scholarships and vacated wins from 14 seasons. Bill O’Brien in 2012 and then James Franklin in ’14 were brought in to lead the football program as the first new head football coaches in Happy Valley since 1966. In ’14 penalties were rolled back, gradually returning scholarships and lifting the postseason ban, and Paterno was later restored in the record books as the winningest coach in major college football history. In ’16 the team again earned an invitation to the Rose Bowl.

At the Big Ten media days in the summer of 2017, Delany called the Sandusky case and its aftermath the “most difficult set of circumstances” he’d been confronted with, but he also commended Penn State’s road back. “They’ve got great leadership, great players,” he said, “and we’re really happy that they’ve gotten to the other side, if you will, after five years.”

Today, in the age of super-conferences, the Big Ten’s further expansion seems inevitable. But for two decades, Penn State had stood alone as the 11th and final member of the Big Ten. There had been a temporary moratorium on further expansion after Penn State was added, but in 2011, Nebraska joined. In ’14 came two more Eastern neighbors, Rutgers and Maryland. The clever Big Ten logo the conference commissioned when Penn State joined—the one with the “11” tucked in—was replaced with “B1G.”

Each subsequent expansion of the Big Ten may have been easier—but in the landscape of college football, not more significant than adding Penn State 25 years ago.

Jenny Vrentas, a writer for The MMQB, grew up in State College and graduated from Penn State in 2006.

<p>A Pennsylvania judge rejected former Penn State football assistant coach Jerry Sandusky's request for a new trial and dismissal of sexual abuse charges.</p><p>Sandusky is serving 30 to 60 years in prison for his 2012 conviction on charges he molested several boys he met through The Second Mile, a charity he founded.</p><p>Sandusky, 73, has said that he did not receive a proper defense during his trial.</p><p>The case led to the firing of head coach Joe Paterno and several high ranking administrators also lost their jobs.</p><p>The school's former president, Graham Spanier, and two other former administrators, Tim Curley and Gary Schultz, were sentenced for child endangerment for their handling of a report that Sandusky acted inappropriately with a young boy.</p><p>Spanier was found guilty during his trial and is free on bail while he is appealing his case.</p><p>The fallout from the scandal cost the school tens of millions of dollars in fines and lawsuits. The football program was banned from postseason play, fined $60 million and stripped of scholarships.</p><p>Sandusky will have 30 days to appeal his to the state Superior Court.</p>
Jerry Sandusky Denied New Trial on Child Sex Abuse Charges

A Pennsylvania judge rejected former Penn State football assistant coach Jerry Sandusky's request for a new trial and dismissal of sexual abuse charges.

Sandusky is serving 30 to 60 years in prison for his 2012 conviction on charges he molested several boys he met through The Second Mile, a charity he founded.

Sandusky, 73, has said that he did not receive a proper defense during his trial.

The case led to the firing of head coach Joe Paterno and several high ranking administrators also lost their jobs.

The school's former president, Graham Spanier, and two other former administrators, Tim Curley and Gary Schultz, were sentenced for child endangerment for their handling of a report that Sandusky acted inappropriately with a young boy.

Spanier was found guilty during his trial and is free on bail while he is appealing his case.

The fallout from the scandal cost the school tens of millions of dollars in fines and lawsuits. The football program was banned from postseason play, fined $60 million and stripped of scholarships.

Sandusky will have 30 days to appeal his to the state Superior Court.

A police report suggests that the late former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno knew that Jerry Sandusky may have been molesting children years before Sandusky's arrest.
Report: Joe Paterno May Have Known About Earlier Sandusky Abuse Claim
A police report suggests that the late former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno knew that Jerry Sandusky may have been molesting children years before Sandusky's arrest.
A police report suggests that the late former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno knew that Jerry Sandusky may have been molesting children years before Sandusky's arrest.
Report: Joe Paterno May Have Known About Earlier Sandusky Abuse Claim
A police report suggests that the late former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno knew that Jerry Sandusky may have been molesting children years before Sandusky's arrest.
A police report suggests that the late former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno knew that Jerry Sandusky may have been molesting children years before Sandusky's arrest.
Report: Joe Paterno May Have Known About Earlier Sandusky Abuse Claim
A police report suggests that the late former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno knew that Jerry Sandusky may have been molesting children years before Sandusky's arrest.
A police report suggests that the late former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno knew that Jerry Sandusky may have been molesting children years before Sandusky's arrest.
Report: Joe Paterno May Have Known About Earlier Sandusky Abuse Claim
A police report suggests that the late former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno knew that Jerry Sandusky may have been molesting children years before Sandusky's arrest.
Joe Paterno knew of Jerry Sandusky accusations before 2001, assistant told police
Joe Paterno knew of Jerry Sandusky accusations before 2001, assistant told police
Joe Paterno knew of Jerry Sandusky accusations before 2001, assistant told police
Joe Paterno knew of Jerry Sandusky accusations before 2001, assistant told police
Joe Paterno knew of Jerry Sandusky accusations before 2001, assistant told police
Joe Paterno knew of Jerry Sandusky accusations before 2001, assistant told police
<p>A police report <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2017/09/09/us/penn-state-paterno-sandusky-police-report/index.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:obtained by CNN" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">obtained by CNN</a> suggests that the late former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno knew that Jerry Sandusky may have been molesting children years before Sandusky's arrest. </p><p>The report says that when whistleblower and former Penn State assistant coach Mike McQueary told Paterno in 2001 that he'd witnessed Sandusky performing a lewd sexual act with a young boy, Paterno allegedly told McQueary that his was the second such claim against Sandusky. </p><p>"Paterno, upon hearing the news, sat back in his chair with a dejected look on his face," the report states.</p><p>"Then he made the comment to McQueary this was the second complaint of this nature he had received about Sandusky." </p><p>That contradicts Paterno's and his family's vehement denial—and Paterno's sworn testimony—that the coach knew of Sandusky's abuses before McQueary alerted him. </p><p>Paterno coached Penn State for 45 years before his contract was terminated in November 2011. He died on Jan. 22, 2012 from complications from lung cancer. </p><p>The Penn State child sex abuse case, which came to light in 2011, rocked the State College, Pa. campus and the rest of the world. Due to their failure to properly follow up on McQueary's accusations, university president Graham Spanier and athletic director Timothy Curley were fired.</p><p>Sandusky was convicted of using his charity, The Second Mile, to gain access to young boys whom he molested and raped. He was convicted of 45 chargers of sexual abuse in June 2012 and is currently serving a minimum of 30 years in prison. He has maintained his innocence throughout the entire process and has appealed his conviction. </p>
Report: Joe Paterno May Have Known of Earlier Sandusky Abuse Claim

A police report obtained by CNN suggests that the late former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno knew that Jerry Sandusky may have been molesting children years before Sandusky's arrest.

The report says that when whistleblower and former Penn State assistant coach Mike McQueary told Paterno in 2001 that he'd witnessed Sandusky performing a lewd sexual act with a young boy, Paterno allegedly told McQueary that his was the second such claim against Sandusky.

"Paterno, upon hearing the news, sat back in his chair with a dejected look on his face," the report states.

"Then he made the comment to McQueary this was the second complaint of this nature he had received about Sandusky."

That contradicts Paterno's and his family's vehement denial—and Paterno's sworn testimony—that the coach knew of Sandusky's abuses before McQueary alerted him.

Paterno coached Penn State for 45 years before his contract was terminated in November 2011. He died on Jan. 22, 2012 from complications from lung cancer.

The Penn State child sex abuse case, which came to light in 2011, rocked the State College, Pa. campus and the rest of the world. Due to their failure to properly follow up on McQueary's accusations, university president Graham Spanier and athletic director Timothy Curley were fired.

Sandusky was convicted of using his charity, The Second Mile, to gain access to young boys whom he molested and raped. He was convicted of 45 chargers of sexual abuse in June 2012 and is currently serving a minimum of 30 years in prison. He has maintained his innocence throughout the entire process and has appealed his conviction.

<p><em>Welcome to Hype Week, our look at the teams fans and analysts seem to be especially excited about heading into the season. Some of these squads may turn out to be really good! Others, though, could drastically underperform expectations. Our goal is to examine why each of these teams is getting so much hype, and whether they can live up to it. First up is Penn State, <a href="https://www.si.com/college-football/2017/08/09/sports-illustrated-preseason-top-25-rankings-poll" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:which is ranked No. 8 in our preseason top 25" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">which is ranked No. 8 in our preseason top 25</a>.</em></p><p>The origin of the monsoon of hype surrounding Penn State entering this season is not difficult to identify. Less than a month after Penn State athletic director Sandy Barbour issued a public vote of confidence for head coach James Franklin amid a dismaying 2–2 start that included a 39-point smackdown at the hands of Michigan, the Nittany Lions stunned undefeated Ohio State, 24–21, before a Whiteout crowd at Beaver Stadium in primetime. The upset marked the first time Franklin had beaten a member of the Big Ten East power trio (the Buckeyes, Michigan and Michigan State), and the dramatic nature of its conclusion—Penn State won thanks to a 60-yard touchdown return on a blocked field goal late in the fourth quarter—added to the feeling that something momentous was taking place.</p><p>The Nittany Lions followed that up by running off six consecutive victories, a streak which was facilitated by a pair of games against Big Ten dregs Rutgers and Purdue, but which also included a stirring comeback to edge then No. 6 Wisconsin, 38–31, in the conference title game. Penn State was flying high, but its glorious ride was about to hit two speed bumps. First, the College Football Playoff selection committee chose a team Penn State beat head-to-head, Ohio State, for the national semifinals and excluded the Nittany Lions. Then Penn State traveled to Pasadena for its first Rose Bowl since 2008 and gave 9–3 USC everything it could handle, but came up just short after Trojans kicker Matt Boermeester drilled a 46-yard field goal as time expired to complete a 14-point fourth-quarter comeback and win 52–49.</p><p>The playoff snub and the Rose Bowl loss were frustrating in real time, but they did nothing to change the outlook for this season. The latter development actually lent credence to Penn State’s status as a contender for the former in 2017. By going blow-for-blow with a scorching-hot Trojans squad <a href="http://www.si.com/college-football/2017/08/07/sam-darnold-usc-trojans-heisman-nfl-draft" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:led by a future top-10 NFL draft pick at quarterback" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">led by a future top-10 NFL draft pick at quarterback</a>, the Nittany Lions squashed any skepticism that may have existed about their ability to grapple with the cream of the Power 5 crop. For anyone reading this who still harbors such skepticism, here’s some bad news: Penn State is very much worth the hype. Not only do the Nittany Lions have a legitimate shot to notch consecutive double-digit win seasons for the first time since the latter part of Joe Paterno’s tenure, but they’re more than capable of taking the Big Ten crown again and claiming a spot in the CFP.</p><p>The most obvious rebuttal: <a href="https://www.si.com/college-football/2017/07/27/big-ten-east-division-imbalance-media-days" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Penn State plays in arguably the toughest division in college football!" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Penn State plays in arguably the toughest division in college football!</a> That’s true, but it also misses the point if the Nittany Lions are the best team in that division. <a href="https://www.si.com/college-football/2017/08/09/sports-illustrated-preseason-top-25-rankings-poll" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Using our Top 25 as a guide" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Using our Top 25 as a guide</a>, their chief competitors in the East project to be Ohio State (No. 3) and Michigan (No. 11).</p><p>Let’s start with the Wolverines. They bring back just six starters from last season, including only one on defense, as well as only 34% of their production, third-lowest in the FBS, according to SB Nation’s Bill Connelly. <a href="http://www.si.com/college-football/2017/02/01/national-signing-day-2017-winners-losers" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Michigan has recruited really well" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Michigan has recruited really well</a> during Jim Harbaugh’s time in Ann Arbor, but he hasn’t earned the Nick Saban personnel-turnover benefit of the doubt yet. This program isn’t quite ready to sustain so much attrition without taking a step back. As for the Buckeyes, a host of NFL-related departures this offseason will sting, particularly in the secondary, but new offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson should quickly bury the memory of last season’s Fiesta Bowl debacle, a terrifying defensive line will head a reloaded defense and Urban Meyer’s track record is unimpeachable: He has lost two regular-season Big Ten games during his five-year tenure.</p><p>Of those two teams, the Buckeyes are clearly a bigger threat to steal the East from Penn State, and they’ll get a shot to avenge their loss in State College last year when they host the Nittany Lions in late October. Yet Penn State could make the CFP even if it loses that game. The Nittany Lions host Michigan, and their league slate is otherwise navigable, save for a pair of tricky-but-winnable road games against Northwestern and Iowa. Penn State need look no further than last year to see an example of the committee bucking its stated emphasis on league titles and head-to-head competition in the selection process. This time around, an Ohio State team with a regular-season win over the Nittany Lions could be left on the other side of the velvet rope, settling for a consolation bowl while Penn State heads to the Final Four.</p><p>Whether the Nittany Lions can actually pull that off will depend in large part on their ability to surmount significant talent disparities to Ohio State and Michigan. The Nittany Lions seem <a href="http://www.si.com/college-football/2017/07/26/penn-state-recruiting-class-2018-commits-rankings" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:well on their way to closing the gap" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">well on their way to closing the gap</a> with their 2018 recruiting class, but those prospects won’t be eligible until next season. This fall, the picture is pretty bleak for Penn State, at least as the major scouting services see it. Both the Buckeyes and Wolverines will have the Nittany Lions beat: According to Connelly, Penn State’s two-year recruiting average ranks 18th in the country and their five-year average ranks 21st. Ohio State’s two-year and five-year averages both come in second, behind only Alabama on both counts, and Michigan’s checks in at fourth and 19th with its two-year and four-year averages, respectively.</p><p>What those rankings don’t account for is the way Penn State’s players have developed since arriving on campus. Nor do they have anything to say about the arrival of a former FCS head coach with a devastatingly effective uptempo scheme and a plan to unlock the full potential of a <a href="https://www.si.com/college-football/2017/07/19/saquon-barkley-penn-state-heisman-trophy-campaign" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:world-beating bellcow back" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">world-beating bellcow back</a>. In his first season as Penn State’s offensive coordinator, Joe Moorhead turned Trace McSorley and Saquon Barkley into the nation’s most lethal backfield tandem, lifting the Nittany Lions from 62nd to 18th on offense, according to Football Outsiders S&P + ratings. Those two will be back in 2017, and so will Moorhead after he was mentioned in connection with multiple head coaching vacancies this offseason. It’s safe to assume Moorhead has come up with new ways to use McSorley and Barkley to torment opposing defensive coordinators.</p><p>Barkley and McSorley won’t be going at it alone. Even though Penn State loses top wide receiver Chris Godwin, every other player who recorded at least five catches last season is back, including stud tight end Mike Gesicki. A healthier offensive line would do wonders for Penn State’s offense more generally, and for Barkley in particular, and with former five-star recruit Miles Sanders available to take on part of the rushing workload, the Nittany Lions shouldn’t have to worry about Barkley wearing down over the course of the season. Penn State will have an easier time putting up points against opponents than preventing them, but a linebacking corps anchored by upperclassmen should be solid, and the secondary caught a break when playmaking safety Marcus Allen decided to return for his senior season.</p><p>Betting on a team coming off a major uptick in the win column to repeat it the following season almost always feels like a bad idea. And Penn State’s top-to-bottom talent deficit relative to East challengers Michigan and Ohio State can’t be glossed over. But those concerns shouldn’t outweigh everything the Nittany Lions have going for them. This is a team you can buy into without having second thoughts about falling for inflated expectations. Penn State deserves the preseason love it’s getting.</p>
Penn State Has the Horses to Back Up the Hype Entering Its Big Ten Title Defense

Welcome to Hype Week, our look at the teams fans and analysts seem to be especially excited about heading into the season. Some of these squads may turn out to be really good! Others, though, could drastically underperform expectations. Our goal is to examine why each of these teams is getting so much hype, and whether they can live up to it. First up is Penn State, which is ranked No. 8 in our preseason top 25.

The origin of the monsoon of hype surrounding Penn State entering this season is not difficult to identify. Less than a month after Penn State athletic director Sandy Barbour issued a public vote of confidence for head coach James Franklin amid a dismaying 2–2 start that included a 39-point smackdown at the hands of Michigan, the Nittany Lions stunned undefeated Ohio State, 24–21, before a Whiteout crowd at Beaver Stadium in primetime. The upset marked the first time Franklin had beaten a member of the Big Ten East power trio (the Buckeyes, Michigan and Michigan State), and the dramatic nature of its conclusion—Penn State won thanks to a 60-yard touchdown return on a blocked field goal late in the fourth quarter—added to the feeling that something momentous was taking place.

The Nittany Lions followed that up by running off six consecutive victories, a streak which was facilitated by a pair of games against Big Ten dregs Rutgers and Purdue, but which also included a stirring comeback to edge then No. 6 Wisconsin, 38–31, in the conference title game. Penn State was flying high, but its glorious ride was about to hit two speed bumps. First, the College Football Playoff selection committee chose a team Penn State beat head-to-head, Ohio State, for the national semifinals and excluded the Nittany Lions. Then Penn State traveled to Pasadena for its first Rose Bowl since 2008 and gave 9–3 USC everything it could handle, but came up just short after Trojans kicker Matt Boermeester drilled a 46-yard field goal as time expired to complete a 14-point fourth-quarter comeback and win 52–49.

The playoff snub and the Rose Bowl loss were frustrating in real time, but they did nothing to change the outlook for this season. The latter development actually lent credence to Penn State’s status as a contender for the former in 2017. By going blow-for-blow with a scorching-hot Trojans squad led by a future top-10 NFL draft pick at quarterback, the Nittany Lions squashed any skepticism that may have existed about their ability to grapple with the cream of the Power 5 crop. For anyone reading this who still harbors such skepticism, here’s some bad news: Penn State is very much worth the hype. Not only do the Nittany Lions have a legitimate shot to notch consecutive double-digit win seasons for the first time since the latter part of Joe Paterno’s tenure, but they’re more than capable of taking the Big Ten crown again and claiming a spot in the CFP.

The most obvious rebuttal: Penn State plays in arguably the toughest division in college football! That’s true, but it also misses the point if the Nittany Lions are the best team in that division. Using our Top 25 as a guide, their chief competitors in the East project to be Ohio State (No. 3) and Michigan (No. 11).

Let’s start with the Wolverines. They bring back just six starters from last season, including only one on defense, as well as only 34% of their production, third-lowest in the FBS, according to SB Nation’s Bill Connelly. Michigan has recruited really well during Jim Harbaugh’s time in Ann Arbor, but he hasn’t earned the Nick Saban personnel-turnover benefit of the doubt yet. This program isn’t quite ready to sustain so much attrition without taking a step back. As for the Buckeyes, a host of NFL-related departures this offseason will sting, particularly in the secondary, but new offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson should quickly bury the memory of last season’s Fiesta Bowl debacle, a terrifying defensive line will head a reloaded defense and Urban Meyer’s track record is unimpeachable: He has lost two regular-season Big Ten games during his five-year tenure.

Of those two teams, the Buckeyes are clearly a bigger threat to steal the East from Penn State, and they’ll get a shot to avenge their loss in State College last year when they host the Nittany Lions in late October. Yet Penn State could make the CFP even if it loses that game. The Nittany Lions host Michigan, and their league slate is otherwise navigable, save for a pair of tricky-but-winnable road games against Northwestern and Iowa. Penn State need look no further than last year to see an example of the committee bucking its stated emphasis on league titles and head-to-head competition in the selection process. This time around, an Ohio State team with a regular-season win over the Nittany Lions could be left on the other side of the velvet rope, settling for a consolation bowl while Penn State heads to the Final Four.

Whether the Nittany Lions can actually pull that off will depend in large part on their ability to surmount significant talent disparities to Ohio State and Michigan. The Nittany Lions seem well on their way to closing the gap with their 2018 recruiting class, but those prospects won’t be eligible until next season. This fall, the picture is pretty bleak for Penn State, at least as the major scouting services see it. Both the Buckeyes and Wolverines will have the Nittany Lions beat: According to Connelly, Penn State’s two-year recruiting average ranks 18th in the country and their five-year average ranks 21st. Ohio State’s two-year and five-year averages both come in second, behind only Alabama on both counts, and Michigan’s checks in at fourth and 19th with its two-year and four-year averages, respectively.

What those rankings don’t account for is the way Penn State’s players have developed since arriving on campus. Nor do they have anything to say about the arrival of a former FCS head coach with a devastatingly effective uptempo scheme and a plan to unlock the full potential of a world-beating bellcow back. In his first season as Penn State’s offensive coordinator, Joe Moorhead turned Trace McSorley and Saquon Barkley into the nation’s most lethal backfield tandem, lifting the Nittany Lions from 62nd to 18th on offense, according to Football Outsiders S&P + ratings. Those two will be back in 2017, and so will Moorhead after he was mentioned in connection with multiple head coaching vacancies this offseason. It’s safe to assume Moorhead has come up with new ways to use McSorley and Barkley to torment opposing defensive coordinators.

Barkley and McSorley won’t be going at it alone. Even though Penn State loses top wide receiver Chris Godwin, every other player who recorded at least five catches last season is back, including stud tight end Mike Gesicki. A healthier offensive line would do wonders for Penn State’s offense more generally, and for Barkley in particular, and with former five-star recruit Miles Sanders available to take on part of the rushing workload, the Nittany Lions shouldn’t have to worry about Barkley wearing down over the course of the season. Penn State will have an easier time putting up points against opponents than preventing them, but a linebacking corps anchored by upperclassmen should be solid, and the secondary caught a break when playmaking safety Marcus Allen decided to return for his senior season.

Betting on a team coming off a major uptick in the win column to repeat it the following season almost always feels like a bad idea. And Penn State’s top-to-bottom talent deficit relative to East challengers Michigan and Ohio State can’t be glossed over. But those concerns shouldn’t outweigh everything the Nittany Lions have going for them. This is a team you can buy into without having second thoughts about falling for inflated expectations. Penn State deserves the preseason love it’s getting.

<p><em>Welcome to Hype Week, our look at the teams fans and analysts seem to be especially excited about heading into the season. Some of these squads may turn out to be really good! Others, though, could drastically underperform expectations. Our goal is to examine why each of these teams is getting so much hype, and whether they can live up to it. First up is Penn State, <a href="https://www.si.com/college-football/2017/08/09/sports-illustrated-preseason-top-25-rankings-poll" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:which is ranked No. 8 in our preseason top 25" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">which is ranked No. 8 in our preseason top 25</a>.</em></p><p>The origin of the monsoon of hype surrounding Penn State entering this season is not difficult to identify. Less than a month after Penn State athletic director Sandy Barbour issued a public vote of confidence for head coach James Franklin amid a dismaying 2–2 start that included a 39-point smackdown at the hands of Michigan, the Nittany Lions stunned undefeated Ohio State, 24–21, before a Whiteout crowd at Beaver Stadium in primetime. The upset marked the first time Franklin had beaten a member of the Big Ten East power trio (the Buckeyes, Michigan and Michigan State), and the dramatic nature of its conclusion—Penn State won thanks to a 60-yard touchdown return on a blocked field goal late in the fourth quarter—added to the feeling that something momentous was taking place.</p><p>The Nittany Lions followed that up by running off six consecutive victories, a streak which was facilitated by a pair of games against Big Ten dregs Rutgers and Purdue, but which also included a stirring comeback to edge then No. 6 Wisconsin, 38–31, in the conference title game. Penn State was flying high, but its glorious ride was about to hit two speed bumps. First, the College Football Playoff selection committee chose a team Penn State beat head-to-head, Ohio State, for the national semifinals and excluded the Nittany Lions. Then Penn State traveled to Pasadena for its first Rose Bowl since 2008 and gave 9–3 USC everything it could handle, but came up just short after Trojans kicker Matt Boermeester drilled a 46-yard field goal as time expired to complete a 14-point fourth-quarter comeback and win 52–49.</p><p>The playoff snub and the Rose Bowl loss were frustrating in real time, but they did nothing to change the outlook for this season. The latter development actually lent credence to Penn State’s status as a contender for the former in 2017. By going blow-for-blow with a scorching-hot Trojans squad <a href="http://www.si.com/college-football/2017/08/07/sam-darnold-usc-trojans-heisman-nfl-draft" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:led by a future top-10 NFL draft pick at quarterback" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">led by a future top-10 NFL draft pick at quarterback</a>, the Nittany Lions squashed any skepticism that may have existed about their ability to grapple with the cream of the Power 5 crop. For anyone reading this who still harbors such skepticism, here’s some bad news: Penn State is very much worth the hype. Not only do the Nittany Lions have a legitimate shot to notch consecutive double-digit win seasons for the first time since the latter part of Joe Paterno’s tenure, but they’re more than capable of taking the Big Ten crown again and claiming a spot in the CFP.</p><p>The most obvious rebuttal: <a href="https://www.si.com/college-football/2017/07/27/big-ten-east-division-imbalance-media-days" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Penn State plays in arguably the toughest division in college football!" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Penn State plays in arguably the toughest division in college football!</a> That’s true, but it also misses the point if the Nittany Lions are the best team in that division. <a href="https://www.si.com/college-football/2017/08/09/sports-illustrated-preseason-top-25-rankings-poll" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Using our Top 25 as a guide" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Using our Top 25 as a guide</a>, their chief competitors in the East project to be Ohio State (No. 3) and Michigan (No. 11).</p><p>Let’s start with the Wolverines. They bring back just six starters from last season, including only one on defense, as well as only 34% of their production, third-lowest in the FBS, according to SB Nation’s Bill Connelly. <a href="http://www.si.com/college-football/2017/02/01/national-signing-day-2017-winners-losers" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Michigan has recruited really well" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Michigan has recruited really well</a> during Jim Harbaugh’s time in Ann Arbor, but he hasn’t earned the Nick Saban personnel-turnover benefit of the doubt yet. This program isn’t quite ready to sustain so much attrition without taking a step back. As for the Buckeyes, a host of NFL-related departures this offseason will sting, particularly in the secondary, but new offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson should quickly bury the memory of last season’s Fiesta Bowl debacle, a terrifying defensive line will head a reloaded defense and Urban Meyer’s track record is unimpeachable: He has lost two regular-season Big Ten games during his five-year tenure.</p><p>Of those two teams, the Buckeyes are clearly a bigger threat to steal the East from Penn State, and they’ll get a shot to avenge their loss in State College last year when they host the Nittany Lions in late October. Yet Penn State could make the CFP even if it loses that game. The Nittany Lions host Michigan, and their league slate is otherwise navigable, save for a pair of tricky-but-winnable road games against Northwestern and Iowa. Penn State need look no further than last year to see an example of the committee bucking its stated emphasis on league titles and head-to-head competition in the selection process. This time around, an Ohio State team with a regular-season win over the Nittany Lions could be left on the other side of the velvet rope, settling for a consolation bowl while Penn State heads to the Final Four.</p><p>Whether the Nittany Lions can actually pull that off will depend in large part on their ability to surmount significant talent disparities to Ohio State and Michigan. The Nittany Lions seem <a href="http://www.si.com/college-football/2017/07/26/penn-state-recruiting-class-2018-commits-rankings" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:well on their way to closing the gap" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">well on their way to closing the gap</a> with their 2018 recruiting class, but those prospects won’t be eligible until next season. This fall, the picture is pretty bleak for Penn State, at least as the major scouting services see it. Both the Buckeyes and Wolverines will have the Nittany Lions beat: According to Connelly, Penn State’s two-year recruiting average ranks 18th in the country and their five-year average ranks 21st. Ohio State’s two-year and five-year averages both come in second, behind only Alabama on both counts, and Michigan’s checks in at fourth and 19th with its two-year and four-year averages, respectively.</p><p>What those rankings don’t account for is the way Penn State’s players have developed since arriving on campus. Nor do they have anything to say about the arrival of a former FCS head coach with a devastatingly effective uptempo scheme and a plan to unlock the full potential of a <a href="https://www.si.com/college-football/2017/07/19/saquon-barkley-penn-state-heisman-trophy-campaign" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:world-beating bellcow back" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">world-beating bellcow back</a>. In his first season as Penn State’s offensive coordinator, Joe Moorhead turned Trace McSorley and Saquon Barkley into the nation’s most lethal backfield tandem, lifting the Nittany Lions from 62nd to 18th on offense, according to Football Outsiders S&P + ratings. Those two will be back in 2017, and so will Moorhead after he was mentioned in connection with multiple head coaching vacancies this offseason. It’s safe to assume Moorhead has come up with new ways to use McSorley and Barkley to torment opposing defensive coordinators.</p><p>Barkley and McSorley won’t be going at it alone. Even though Penn State loses top wide receiver Chris Godwin, every other player who recorded at least five catches last season is back, including stud tight end Mike Gesicki. A healthier offensive line would do wonders for Penn State’s offense more generally, and for Barkley in particular, and with former five-star recruit Miles Sanders available to take on part of the rushing workload, the Nittany Lions shouldn’t have to worry about Barkley wearing down over the course of the season. Penn State will have an easier time putting up points against opponents than preventing them, but a linebacking corps anchored by upperclassmen should be solid, and the secondary caught a break when playmaking safety Marcus Allen decided to return for his senior season.</p><p>Betting on a team coming off a major uptick in the win column to repeat it the following season almost always feels like a bad idea. And Penn State’s top-to-bottom talent deficit relative to East challengers Michigan and Ohio State can’t be glossed over. But those concerns shouldn’t outweigh everything the Nittany Lions have going for them. This is a team you can buy into without having second thoughts about falling for inflated expectations. Penn State deserves the preseason love it’s getting.</p>
Penn State Has the Horses to Back Up the Hype Entering Its Big Ten Title Defense

Welcome to Hype Week, our look at the teams fans and analysts seem to be especially excited about heading into the season. Some of these squads may turn out to be really good! Others, though, could drastically underperform expectations. Our goal is to examine why each of these teams is getting so much hype, and whether they can live up to it. First up is Penn State, which is ranked No. 8 in our preseason top 25.

The origin of the monsoon of hype surrounding Penn State entering this season is not difficult to identify. Less than a month after Penn State athletic director Sandy Barbour issued a public vote of confidence for head coach James Franklin amid a dismaying 2–2 start that included a 39-point smackdown at the hands of Michigan, the Nittany Lions stunned undefeated Ohio State, 24–21, before a Whiteout crowd at Beaver Stadium in primetime. The upset marked the first time Franklin had beaten a member of the Big Ten East power trio (the Buckeyes, Michigan and Michigan State), and the dramatic nature of its conclusion—Penn State won thanks to a 60-yard touchdown return on a blocked field goal late in the fourth quarter—added to the feeling that something momentous was taking place.

The Nittany Lions followed that up by running off six consecutive victories, a streak which was facilitated by a pair of games against Big Ten dregs Rutgers and Purdue, but which also included a stirring comeback to edge then No. 6 Wisconsin, 38–31, in the conference title game. Penn State was flying high, but its glorious ride was about to hit two speed bumps. First, the College Football Playoff selection committee chose a team Penn State beat head-to-head, Ohio State, for the national semifinals and excluded the Nittany Lions. Then Penn State traveled to Pasadena for its first Rose Bowl since 2008 and gave 9–3 USC everything it could handle, but came up just short after Trojans kicker Matt Boermeester drilled a 46-yard field goal as time expired to complete a 14-point fourth-quarter comeback and win 52–49.

The playoff snub and the Rose Bowl loss were frustrating in real time, but they did nothing to change the outlook for this season. The latter development actually lent credence to Penn State’s status as a contender for the former in 2017. By going blow-for-blow with a scorching-hot Trojans squad led by a future top-10 NFL draft pick at quarterback, the Nittany Lions squashed any skepticism that may have existed about their ability to grapple with the cream of the Power 5 crop. For anyone reading this who still harbors such skepticism, here’s some bad news: Penn State is very much worth the hype. Not only do the Nittany Lions have a legitimate shot to notch consecutive double-digit win seasons for the first time since the latter part of Joe Paterno’s tenure, but they’re more than capable of taking the Big Ten crown again and claiming a spot in the CFP.

The most obvious rebuttal: Penn State plays in arguably the toughest division in college football! That’s true, but it also misses the point if the Nittany Lions are the best team in that division. Using our Top 25 as a guide, their chief competitors in the East project to be Ohio State (No. 3) and Michigan (No. 11).

Let’s start with the Wolverines. They bring back just six starters from last season, including only one on defense, as well as only 34% of their production, third-lowest in the FBS, according to SB Nation’s Bill Connelly. Michigan has recruited really well during Jim Harbaugh’s time in Ann Arbor, but he hasn’t earned the Nick Saban personnel-turnover benefit of the doubt yet. This program isn’t quite ready to sustain so much attrition without taking a step back. As for the Buckeyes, a host of NFL-related departures this offseason will sting, particularly in the secondary, but new offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson should quickly bury the memory of last season’s Fiesta Bowl debacle, a terrifying defensive line will head a reloaded defense and Urban Meyer’s track record is unimpeachable: He has lost two regular-season Big Ten games during his five-year tenure.

Of those two teams, the Buckeyes are clearly a bigger threat to steal the East from Penn State, and they’ll get a shot to avenge their loss in State College last year when they host the Nittany Lions in late October. Yet Penn State could make the CFP even if it loses that game. The Nittany Lions host Michigan, and their league slate is otherwise navigable, save for a pair of tricky-but-winnable road games against Northwestern and Iowa. Penn State need look no further than last year to see an example of the committee bucking its stated emphasis on league titles and head-to-head competition in the selection process. This time around, an Ohio State team with a regular-season win over the Nittany Lions could be left on the other side of the velvet rope, settling for a consolation bowl while Penn State heads to the Final Four.

Whether the Nittany Lions can actually pull that off will depend in large part on their ability to surmount significant talent disparities to Ohio State and Michigan. The Nittany Lions seem well on their way to closing the gap with their 2018 recruiting class, but those prospects won’t be eligible until next season. This fall, the picture is pretty bleak for Penn State, at least as the major scouting services see it. Both the Buckeyes and Wolverines will have the Nittany Lions beat: According to Connelly, Penn State’s two-year recruiting average ranks 18th in the country and their five-year average ranks 21st. Ohio State’s two-year and five-year averages both come in second, behind only Alabama on both counts, and Michigan’s checks in at fourth and 19th with its two-year and four-year averages, respectively.

What those rankings don’t account for is the way Penn State’s players have developed since arriving on campus. Nor do they have anything to say about the arrival of a former FCS head coach with a devastatingly effective uptempo scheme and a plan to unlock the full potential of a world-beating bellcow back. In his first season as Penn State’s offensive coordinator, Joe Moorhead turned Trace McSorley and Saquon Barkley into the nation’s most lethal backfield tandem, lifting the Nittany Lions from 62nd to 18th on offense, according to Football Outsiders S&P + ratings. Those two will be back in 2017, and so will Moorhead after he was mentioned in connection with multiple head coaching vacancies this offseason. It’s safe to assume Moorhead has come up with new ways to use McSorley and Barkley to torment opposing defensive coordinators.

Barkley and McSorley won’t be going at it alone. Even though Penn State loses top wide receiver Chris Godwin, every other player who recorded at least five catches last season is back, including stud tight end Mike Gesicki. A healthier offensive line would do wonders for Penn State’s offense more generally, and for Barkley in particular, and with former five-star recruit Miles Sanders available to take on part of the rushing workload, the Nittany Lions shouldn’t have to worry about Barkley wearing down over the course of the season. Penn State will have an easier time putting up points against opponents than preventing them, but a linebacking corps anchored by upperclassmen should be solid, and the secondary caught a break when playmaking safety Marcus Allen decided to return for his senior season.

Betting on a team coming off a major uptick in the win column to repeat it the following season almost always feels like a bad idea. And Penn State’s top-to-bottom talent deficit relative to East challengers Michigan and Ohio State can’t be glossed over. But those concerns shouldn’t outweigh everything the Nittany Lions have going for them. This is a team you can buy into without having second thoughts about falling for inflated expectations. Penn State deserves the preseason love it’s getting.

Through the underappreciated magic of makeup and costume design, Al Pacino has been transformed into Joe Paterno incarnate, ready to grab a clipboard and patrol the sidelines once more.
Al Pacino looks just like Joe Paterno in first look at HBO Films biopic
Through the underappreciated magic of makeup and costume design, Al Pacino has been transformed into Joe Paterno incarnate, ready to grab a clipboard and patrol the sidelines once more.
Through the underappreciated magic of makeup and costume design, Al Pacino has been transformed into Joe Paterno incarnate, ready to grab a clipboard and patrol the sidelines once more.
Al Pacino looks just like Joe Paterno in first look at HBO Films biopic
Through the underappreciated magic of makeup and costume design, Al Pacino has been transformed into Joe Paterno incarnate, ready to grab a clipboard and patrol the sidelines once more.
<p>The first look at Al Pacino playing former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno in an upcoming film has been <a href="http://variety.com/2017/tv/news/hbo-al-pacino-joe-paterno-barry-levinson-1202496995/amp/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:released" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">released</a> by <em>Variety</em>.</p><p>The film has not been titled but will be directed by Barry Levinson for HBO.</p><p>It was also revealed that Annie Parisse will play Paterno's daughter and Riley Keough will play Sara Ganim, the 23-year-old journalist who reported on the scandal.</p><p><em>Here's the photo from Variety:</em></p><p>“After becoming the winningest coach in college football history, Joe Paterno is embroiled in Penn State’s Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse scandal, challenging his legacy and forcing him to face questions of institutional failure on behalf of the victims,” the film's log line states.</p>
Photo released of Al Pacino as Joe Paterno in upcoming HBO movie

The first look at Al Pacino playing former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno in an upcoming film has been released by Variety.

The film has not been titled but will be directed by Barry Levinson for HBO.

It was also revealed that Annie Parisse will play Paterno's daughter and Riley Keough will play Sara Ganim, the 23-year-old journalist who reported on the scandal.

Here's the photo from Variety:

“After becoming the winningest coach in college football history, Joe Paterno is embroiled in Penn State’s Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse scandal, challenging his legacy and forcing him to face questions of institutional failure on behalf of the victims,” the film's log line states.

<p>Two former high-ranking Penn State administrators surrendered Saturday morning to serve jail sentences for how they responded to a 2001 complaint about Jerry Sandusky showering with a boy.</p><p>Former university vice president Gary Schultz and former athletic director Tim Curley turned themselves in, according to Lt. Michael Woods, the shift commander at the Centre County Correctional Facility. Wood confirmed their surrender, but said he was not authorized to release any other details from the jail, which is about 135 miles (217 kilometers) east of Pittsburgh. The lockup is about 7 miles (11 kilometers) northeast of Penn State's main campus.</p><p>Schultz and Curley pleaded guilty to misdemeanor child endangerment in March, leading prosecutors to drop three felony charges of child endangerment and conspiracy.</p><p>Curley, 63, must serve three months in jail, while Schultz, 67, has two months behind bars. Jail officials said they will be evaluated for participation in work release while incarcerated.</p><p>A co-defendant, former Penn State president Graham Spanier, 68, was convicted of the same offense and faces two months in jail. Spanier remains free on bail while he appeals to Superior Court.</p><p>Spanier continues to be a tenured faculty member and is on administrative leave. A deal with the university when he was forced out as president after Sandusky's arrest in November 2011 pays him $600,000 a year, ending this fall, after which he will receive a salary.</p><p>The three men received a complaint from a graduate assistant football coach in February 2001 who said he was highly disturbed by seeing Sandusky appear to sexually abuse the boy late on a Friday night in a team shower.</p><p>They told Sandusky not to bring children onto campus anymore, but prosecutors said the administrators had no plan to enforce that rule.</p><p>Police were not notified, and a criminal investigation into Sandusky did not begin until a Pennsylvania school district reported another complaint about him in 2008.</p><p>Sandusky was convicted in 2012 of 45 counts of child sexual abuse. He maintains his innocence and is appealing, while serving 30 to 60 years in state prison.</p><p>The scandal led the university to fire Hall of Fame football coach Joe Paterno, who was informed of the 2001 incident the next morning by the assistant, Mike McQueary. Paterno notified Curley but did not call police. He died in 2012, a few months after his firing, and was never charged with a crime.</p><p>An anonymous email in 2010 led investigators looking into Sandusky to contact McQueary, and he proved to be a critical witness at the criminal trials of both Sandusky and Spanier.</p><p>At sentencing for Curley, Schultz and Spanier last month, Judge John Boccabella did not spare Paterno, saying he "could have made that phone call without so much as getting his hands dirty. Why he didn't is beyond me."</p><p>He also questioned Curley's memory lapses while testifying for the prosecution at Spanier's trial.</p><p>"I find it really hard to believe that he doesn't remember every detail of the most serious mistake he ever made," Boccabella said.</p>
Two Penn State ex-officials begin jail terms in Sandusky case

Two former high-ranking Penn State administrators surrendered Saturday morning to serve jail sentences for how they responded to a 2001 complaint about Jerry Sandusky showering with a boy.

Former university vice president Gary Schultz and former athletic director Tim Curley turned themselves in, according to Lt. Michael Woods, the shift commander at the Centre County Correctional Facility. Wood confirmed their surrender, but said he was not authorized to release any other details from the jail, which is about 135 miles (217 kilometers) east of Pittsburgh. The lockup is about 7 miles (11 kilometers) northeast of Penn State's main campus.

Schultz and Curley pleaded guilty to misdemeanor child endangerment in March, leading prosecutors to drop three felony charges of child endangerment and conspiracy.

Curley, 63, must serve three months in jail, while Schultz, 67, has two months behind bars. Jail officials said they will be evaluated for participation in work release while incarcerated.

A co-defendant, former Penn State president Graham Spanier, 68, was convicted of the same offense and faces two months in jail. Spanier remains free on bail while he appeals to Superior Court.

Spanier continues to be a tenured faculty member and is on administrative leave. A deal with the university when he was forced out as president after Sandusky's arrest in November 2011 pays him $600,000 a year, ending this fall, after which he will receive a salary.

The three men received a complaint from a graduate assistant football coach in February 2001 who said he was highly disturbed by seeing Sandusky appear to sexually abuse the boy late on a Friday night in a team shower.

They told Sandusky not to bring children onto campus anymore, but prosecutors said the administrators had no plan to enforce that rule.

Police were not notified, and a criminal investigation into Sandusky did not begin until a Pennsylvania school district reported another complaint about him in 2008.

Sandusky was convicted in 2012 of 45 counts of child sexual abuse. He maintains his innocence and is appealing, while serving 30 to 60 years in state prison.

The scandal led the university to fire Hall of Fame football coach Joe Paterno, who was informed of the 2001 incident the next morning by the assistant, Mike McQueary. Paterno notified Curley but did not call police. He died in 2012, a few months after his firing, and was never charged with a crime.

An anonymous email in 2010 led investigators looking into Sandusky to contact McQueary, and he proved to be a critical witness at the criminal trials of both Sandusky and Spanier.

At sentencing for Curley, Schultz and Spanier last month, Judge John Boccabella did not spare Paterno, saying he "could have made that phone call without so much as getting his hands dirty. Why he didn't is beyond me."

He also questioned Curley's memory lapses while testifying for the prosecution at Spanier's trial.

"I find it really hard to believe that he doesn't remember every detail of the most serious mistake he ever made," Boccabella said.

Last-ditch effort to reframe Joe Paterno's legacy fizzles out
Last-ditch effort to reframe Joe Paterno's legacy fizzles out
Last-ditch effort to reframe Joe Paterno's legacy fizzles out
FILE - In this Oct. 23, 1999, file photo, Penn State coach Joe Paterno paces the sideline in the first quarter against Purdue in West Lafayette, Ind. The one constant in college football over the last 80 years has been the AP poll. It has helped link the past with the present and provided perspective. (AP Photo/Tom Strickland, File)
Paterno family drops lawsuit against NCAA over Freeh report
FILE - In this Oct. 23, 1999, file photo, Penn State coach Joe Paterno paces the sideline in the first quarter against Purdue in West Lafayette, Ind. The one constant in college football over the last 80 years has been the AP poll. It has helped link the past with the present and provided perspective. (AP Photo/Tom Strickland, File)
<p>HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) Late Penn State football coach Joe Paterno's family dropped a lawsuit Friday against the NCAA over its use of a report in the Jerry Sandusky child molestation scandal to punish Paterno and the university.</p><p>Paterno's estate, his son Jay and former assistant William Kenney discontinued their case. The NCAA called it a voluntary decision and said there was no payment involved.</p><p>NCAA chief legal officer Donald Remy claimed a total victory for his organization, which he said acted reasonably in adopting conclusions from a university-commissioned report authored by a team led by former FBI director Louis Freeh.</p><p>''The Paterno family characterized this case as a `search for the truth,''' Remy said. ''Its decision today, after years of investigation and discovery, to abandon its lawsuit rather than subject those facts to courtroom examination is telling.''</p><p>He said the Paterno family wasted time, effort and money in the case.</p><p>In response to a text message from AP, Jay Paterno referred to a one-page statement released by his mother and Joe's widow, Sue Paterno. In it, she said the family had accomplished its goals and continuing litigation would not yield anything new.</p><p>''In the fallout from the Sandusky tragedy and the subsequent mishandling of the investigation by the board and Louis Freeh, I was determined to do everything in my power to defend the honor of Penn State and set the record straight on Joe,'' Sue Paterno said. ''Although the fight has been long and difficult, enormous progress has been made. The unprecedented sanctions imposed on the University were reversed. The wins, which were unjustly stripped from the players, were reinstated. And even Mr. Freeh has stated under oath that his many alleged `findings' were, in fact, merely his opinions.''</p><p>The lawsuit had claimed that college sports' governing body damaged the Paterno estate's commercial interests through its use of the Freeh report. Kenney and Jay Paterno alleged the Freeh report rendered them unable to find comparable coaching work.</p><p>The Freeh report concluded Joe Paterno and other administrators hushed up a 2001 complaint against Sandusky showering with a boy, for fear of bad publicity.</p><p>Paterno, who died in early 2012, was never charged criminally, but three others who were at high-ranking jobs when he was coach are expected to soon report to jail to serve criminal sentences for their response to the 2001 complaint.</p><p>Former Penn State president Graham Spanier was convicted in March of misdemeanor child endangerment for his failure to report the complaint about Sandusky apparently sexually abusing a boy on campus. Former athletic director Tim Curley and former vice president Gary Schultz had earlier pleaded guilty to the same charge.</p><p>The judge who sentenced Curley, Schultz and Spanier did not spare Paterno, saying he could have called police ''without so much as getting his hands dirty. Why he didn't is beyond me.''</p><p>The three are expected to report to county prison July 15 to serve two or three months.</p><p>The Paterno family and his legion of supporters have long objected bitterly to the Freeh report's depiction of the hall of fame coach as having failed to do the right thing in 2001. Sandusky had been one of Joe Paterno's top assistants for decades before his 1999 retirement.</p><p>Paterno told a grand jury in 2011 he did not know of child molestation allegations against Sandusky before 2001. But an insurer has alleged, a judge noted in a court document last year, that a child told Paterno in 1976 that Sandusky had molested him, a claim Paterno's family has strongly denied.</p><p>Jay Paterno, a Nittany Lions assistant coach for 17 years, was elected by alumni in May to a seat on the Penn State board. He starts as a trustee next month.</p><p>The university removed a statue of Joe Paterno from outside the football stadium in the wake of the Sandusky scandal, and it has not been replaced.</p><p>The NCAA also took away 111 of Paterno's wins, but they have since been restored, and with it his status as major college football's winningest coach with 409 victories.</p><p>Sandusky was convicted in 2012 of 45 counts of sexual abuse of 10 boys. He maintains his innocence while serving a 30- to 60-year sentence, and is appealing.</p>
Paterno family drops lawsuit against NCAA over Freeh report

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) Late Penn State football coach Joe Paterno's family dropped a lawsuit Friday against the NCAA over its use of a report in the Jerry Sandusky child molestation scandal to punish Paterno and the university.

Paterno's estate, his son Jay and former assistant William Kenney discontinued their case. The NCAA called it a voluntary decision and said there was no payment involved.

NCAA chief legal officer Donald Remy claimed a total victory for his organization, which he said acted reasonably in adopting conclusions from a university-commissioned report authored by a team led by former FBI director Louis Freeh.

''The Paterno family characterized this case as a `search for the truth,''' Remy said. ''Its decision today, after years of investigation and discovery, to abandon its lawsuit rather than subject those facts to courtroom examination is telling.''

He said the Paterno family wasted time, effort and money in the case.

In response to a text message from AP, Jay Paterno referred to a one-page statement released by his mother and Joe's widow, Sue Paterno. In it, she said the family had accomplished its goals and continuing litigation would not yield anything new.

''In the fallout from the Sandusky tragedy and the subsequent mishandling of the investigation by the board and Louis Freeh, I was determined to do everything in my power to defend the honor of Penn State and set the record straight on Joe,'' Sue Paterno said. ''Although the fight has been long and difficult, enormous progress has been made. The unprecedented sanctions imposed on the University were reversed. The wins, which were unjustly stripped from the players, were reinstated. And even Mr. Freeh has stated under oath that his many alleged `findings' were, in fact, merely his opinions.''

The lawsuit had claimed that college sports' governing body damaged the Paterno estate's commercial interests through its use of the Freeh report. Kenney and Jay Paterno alleged the Freeh report rendered them unable to find comparable coaching work.

The Freeh report concluded Joe Paterno and other administrators hushed up a 2001 complaint against Sandusky showering with a boy, for fear of bad publicity.

Paterno, who died in early 2012, was never charged criminally, but three others who were at high-ranking jobs when he was coach are expected to soon report to jail to serve criminal sentences for their response to the 2001 complaint.

Former Penn State president Graham Spanier was convicted in March of misdemeanor child endangerment for his failure to report the complaint about Sandusky apparently sexually abusing a boy on campus. Former athletic director Tim Curley and former vice president Gary Schultz had earlier pleaded guilty to the same charge.

The judge who sentenced Curley, Schultz and Spanier did not spare Paterno, saying he could have called police ''without so much as getting his hands dirty. Why he didn't is beyond me.''

The three are expected to report to county prison July 15 to serve two or three months.

The Paterno family and his legion of supporters have long objected bitterly to the Freeh report's depiction of the hall of fame coach as having failed to do the right thing in 2001. Sandusky had been one of Joe Paterno's top assistants for decades before his 1999 retirement.

Paterno told a grand jury in 2011 he did not know of child molestation allegations against Sandusky before 2001. But an insurer has alleged, a judge noted in a court document last year, that a child told Paterno in 1976 that Sandusky had molested him, a claim Paterno's family has strongly denied.

Jay Paterno, a Nittany Lions assistant coach for 17 years, was elected by alumni in May to a seat on the Penn State board. He starts as a trustee next month.

The university removed a statue of Joe Paterno from outside the football stadium in the wake of the Sandusky scandal, and it has not been replaced.

The NCAA also took away 111 of Paterno's wins, but they have since been restored, and with it his status as major college football's winningest coach with 409 victories.

Sandusky was convicted in 2012 of 45 counts of sexual abuse of 10 boys. He maintains his innocence while serving a 30- to 60-year sentence, and is appealing.

FILE - In this Dec. 24, 1977, file photo, Penn State's Joe Paterno, left, and Arizona State's Frank Kush, pose for pictures at the Fiesta Bowl luncheon in Phoenix. Kush, the fearsome coach who transformed Arizona State from a backwater football program into a powerhouse, has died, Arizona State confirmed, Thursday, June 22, 2017. He was 88. (AP Photo/Lennox McLendon, File)
Frank Kush, coach who built ASU into powerhouse, dies at 88
FILE - In this Dec. 24, 1977, file photo, Penn State's Joe Paterno, left, and Arizona State's Frank Kush, pose for pictures at the Fiesta Bowl luncheon in Phoenix. Kush, the fearsome coach who transformed Arizona State from a backwater football program into a powerhouse, has died, Arizona State confirmed, Thursday, June 22, 2017. He was 88. (AP Photo/Lennox McLendon, File)
Al Pacino will be playing Joe Paterno in an HBO TV movie based on the disgraced Penn State football coach and the Jerry Sandusky sexual assault case, adding another to the list of real-life characters the actor has played.
Al Pacino tapped to play Penn State coach Joe Paterno in new HBO movie
Al Pacino will be playing Joe Paterno in an HBO TV movie based on the disgraced Penn State football coach and the Jerry Sandusky sexual assault case, adding another to the list of real-life characters the actor has played.
Al Pacino will be playing Joe Paterno in an HBO TV movie based on the disgraced Penn State football coach and the Jerry Sandusky sexual assault case, adding another to the list of real-life characters the actor has played.
Al Pacino tapped to play Penn State coach Joe Paterno in new HBO movie
Al Pacino will be playing Joe Paterno in an HBO TV movie based on the disgraced Penn State football coach and the Jerry Sandusky sexual assault case, adding another to the list of real-life characters the actor has played.
Al Pacino's potential Joe Paterno movie faces plenty of challenges
Al Pacino's potential Joe Paterno movie faces plenty of challenges
Al Pacino's potential Joe Paterno movie faces plenty of challenges
Al Pacino is set to play Joe Paterno in an HBO movie about the Jerry Sandusky's sex abuse scandal.
Report: Al Pacino to play Joe Paterno in HBO movie about Penn State scandal
Al Pacino is set to play Joe Paterno in an HBO movie about the Jerry Sandusky's sex abuse scandal.
Al Pacino is set to play Joe Paterno in an HBO movie about the Jerry Sandusky's sex abuse scandal.
Report: Al Pacino to play Joe Paterno in HBO movie about Penn State scandal
Al Pacino is set to play Joe Paterno in an HBO movie about the Jerry Sandusky's sex abuse scandal.
Report: Al Pacino to play Joe Paterno in HBO movie about Penn State scandal
Report: Al Pacino to play Joe Paterno in HBO movie about Penn State scandal
Report: Al Pacino to play Joe Paterno in HBO movie about Penn State scandal
<p>Joe Paterno of Penn State, coach of the East All Stars, explains a play to quarterback Buster O’Brien, right, of Richmond, during Wednesday’s practice session for the Coaches All-America football game, June 26, 1969, in Atlanta. (Photo: Charles Kelly/AP) </p>
Retired Associated Press photographer Charles Kelly has died

Joe Paterno of Penn State, coach of the East All Stars, explains a play to quarterback Buster O’Brien, right, of Richmond, during Wednesday’s practice session for the Coaches All-America football game, June 26, 1969, in Atlanta. (Photo: Charles Kelly/AP)

Three Penn State players recruited by Joe Paterno want to end their strange time with the program with a victory in the Rose Bowl.
Three Penn State players recruited by Joe Paterno cap strange career
Three Penn State players recruited by Joe Paterno want to end their strange time with the program with a victory in the Rose Bowl.
Detroit Lions linebacker DeAndre Levy says he is proud of breaking former Penn State coach Joe Paterno's leg.
Lions' DeAndre Levy proud of breaking 'dirtbag' Joe Paterno's leg
Detroit Lions linebacker DeAndre Levy says he is proud of breaking former Penn State coach Joe Paterno's leg.
Detroit Lions linebacker DeAndre Levy says he is proud of breaking former Penn State coach Joe Paterno's leg.
Lions' DeAndre Levy proud of breaking 'dirtbag' Joe Paterno's leg
Detroit Lions linebacker DeAndre Levy says he is proud of breaking former Penn State coach Joe Paterno's leg.
Detroit Lions linebacker DeAndre Levy says he is proud of breaking former Penn State coach Joe Paterno's leg.
Lions' DeAndre Levy proud of breaking 'dirtbag' Joe Paterno's leg
Detroit Lions linebacker DeAndre Levy says he is proud of breaking former Penn State coach Joe Paterno's leg.
Detroit Lions linebacker DeAndre Levy says he is proud of breaking former Penn State coach Joe Paterno's leg.
Lions' DeAndre Levy proud of breaking 'dirtbag' Joe Paterno's leg
Detroit Lions linebacker DeAndre Levy says he is proud of breaking former Penn State coach Joe Paterno's leg.
DeAndre Levy says his 'proudest college moment' is breaking Joe Paterno's leg
DeAndre Levy says his 'proudest college moment' is breaking Joe Paterno's leg
DeAndre Levy says his 'proudest college moment' is breaking Joe Paterno's leg
DeAndre Levy is candid about the leg-breaking incident from college.
Breaking 'dirtbag' Joe Paterno's leg was DeAndre Levy's proudest moment
DeAndre Levy is candid about the leg-breaking incident from college.
Bricks are placed where a wall once stood honoring Penn State coach Joe Paterno wall once stood Saturday, Sept. 17, 2016, at State College, Pa. Penn State defeated Temple 34-27, and celebrated the 50th anniversary of former head coach Joe Paterno's first game by honoring members of the 1966 football team and showing video tributes on the scoreboard. (Phoebe Sheehan/Centre Daily Times via AP)
Despite criticism, Penn State honors Paterno during game
Bricks are placed where a wall once stood honoring Penn State coach Joe Paterno wall once stood Saturday, Sept. 17, 2016, at State College, Pa. Penn State defeated Temple 34-27, and celebrated the 50th anniversary of former head coach Joe Paterno's first game by honoring members of the 1966 football team and showing video tributes on the scoreboard. (Phoebe Sheehan/Centre Daily Times via AP)
A tribute to former Penn State American football coach Joe Paterno sparked protests. (AFP Photo/Justin K. Aller)
Amfoot - Tribute to Paterno sparks protest
A tribute to former Penn State American football coach Joe Paterno sparked protests. (AFP Photo/Justin K. Aller)
The fight for Joe Paterno's legacy isn't over
The fight for Joe Paterno's legacy isn't over
The fight for Joe Paterno's legacy isn't over
The fight for Joe Paterno's legacy isn't over
The fight for Joe Paterno's legacy isn't over
The fight for Joe Paterno's legacy isn't over
The fight for Joe Paterno's legacy isn't over
The fight for Joe Paterno's legacy isn't over
The fight for Joe Paterno's legacy isn't over
Protesters in the stadium turned their backs as a video montage was played honoring Paterno during the game against Temple.
Despite sexual abuse scandal, Penn State honors Joe Paterno with video tribute
Protesters in the stadium turned their backs as a video montage was played honoring Paterno during the game against Temple.
<p>Andrew Limauro, a sophomore from Pittsburgh Pa., stands outside Beaver Stadium protesting the school’s decision to honor former head coach Joe Paterno, before Penn State takes on Temple in an NCAA college football game in State College, Pa., Sept. 17, 2016. Paterno was fired in 2011 amid the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal. (Photo: Chris Knight/AP) </p>
Paterno protest

Andrew Limauro, a sophomore from Pittsburgh Pa., stands outside Beaver Stadium protesting the school’s decision to honor former head coach Joe Paterno, before Penn State takes on Temple in an NCAA college football game in State College, Pa., Sept. 17, 2016. Paterno was fired in 2011 amid the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal. (Photo: Chris Knight/AP)

STATE COLLEGE, PA - SEPTEMBER 17: Joe Paterno is seen on the scoreboard during a time out against the Temple Owls during the game on September 17, 2016 at Beaver Stadium in State College, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Temple v Penn State
STATE COLLEGE, PA - SEPTEMBER 17: Joe Paterno is seen on the scoreboard during a time out against the Temple Owls during the game on September 17, 2016 at Beaver Stadium in State College, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
STATE COLLEGE, PA - SEPTEMBER 17: Joe Paterno is seen on the scoreboard during a time out against the Temple Owls during the game on September 17, 2016 at Beaver Stadium in State College, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Temple v Penn State
STATE COLLEGE, PA - SEPTEMBER 17: Joe Paterno is seen on the scoreboard during a time out against the Temple Owls during the game on September 17, 2016 at Beaver Stadium in State College, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
STATE COLLEGE, PA - SEPTEMBER 17: Penn State students support Joe Paterno during the game against the Temple Owls on September 17, 2016 at Beaver Stadium in State College, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Temple v Penn State
STATE COLLEGE, PA - SEPTEMBER 17: Penn State students support Joe Paterno during the game against the Temple Owls on September 17, 2016 at Beaver Stadium in State College, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
STATE COLLEGE, PA - SEPTEMBER 17: Penn State fans gather around a memorial honoring Joe Paterno's 50 year anniversary of his first win as Penn State coach before the game against the Temple Owls on September 17, 2016 at Beaver Stadium in State College, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Temple v Penn State
STATE COLLEGE, PA - SEPTEMBER 17: Penn State fans gather around a memorial honoring Joe Paterno's 50 year anniversary of his first win as Penn State coach before the game against the Temple Owls on September 17, 2016 at Beaver Stadium in State College, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
STATE COLLEGE, PA - SEPTEMBER 17: Franco Harris looks on from a memorial honoring Joe Paterno's 50 year anniversary of his first win as Penn State coach before the game against the Temple Owls on September 17, 2016 at Beaver Stadium in State College, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Temple v Penn State
STATE COLLEGE, PA - SEPTEMBER 17: Franco Harris looks on from a memorial honoring Joe Paterno's 50 year anniversary of his first win as Penn State coach before the game against the Temple Owls on September 17, 2016 at Beaver Stadium in State College, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
STATE COLLEGE, PA - SEPTEMBER 17: A detailed view of the memorial honoring Joe Paterno's 50 year anniversary of his first win as Penn State coach during the game on September 17, 2016 at Beaver Stadium in State College, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Temple v Penn State
STATE COLLEGE, PA - SEPTEMBER 17: A detailed view of the memorial honoring Joe Paterno's 50 year anniversary of his first win as Penn State coach during the game on September 17, 2016 at Beaver Stadium in State College, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
STATE COLLEGE, PA - SEPTEMBER 17: Penn State fans take photos of a memorial honoring Joe Paterno's 50 year anniversary of his first win as Penn State coach before the game against the Temple Owls on September 17, 2016 at Beaver Stadium in State College, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Temple v Penn State
STATE COLLEGE, PA - SEPTEMBER 17: Penn State fans take photos of a memorial honoring Joe Paterno's 50 year anniversary of his first win as Penn State coach before the game against the Temple Owls on September 17, 2016 at Beaver Stadium in State College, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
STATE COLLEGE, PA - SEPTEMBER 17: A detailed view of the memorial honoring Joe Paterno's 50 year anniversary of his first win as Penn State coachduring the game on September 17, 2016 at Beaver Stadium in State College, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Temple v Penn State
STATE COLLEGE, PA - SEPTEMBER 17: A detailed view of the memorial honoring Joe Paterno's 50 year anniversary of his first win as Penn State coachduring the game on September 17, 2016 at Beaver Stadium in State College, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
STATE COLLEGE, PA - SEPTEMBER 17: Penn State fans gather around a memorial honoring Joe Paterno's 50 year anniversary of his first win as Penn State coach before the game against the Temple Owls on September 17, 2016 at Beaver Stadium in State College, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Temple v Penn State
STATE COLLEGE, PA - SEPTEMBER 17: Penn State fans gather around a memorial honoring Joe Paterno's 50 year anniversary of his first win as Penn State coach before the game against the Temple Owls on September 17, 2016 at Beaver Stadium in State College, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
wSTATE COLLEGE, PA - SEPTEMBER 17: A photo cut out of Joe Paterno is seen before the game against the Temple Owls on September 17, 2016 at Beaver Stadium in State College, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Temple v Penn State
wSTATE COLLEGE, PA - SEPTEMBER 17: A photo cut out of Joe Paterno is seen before the game against the Temple Owls on September 17, 2016 at Beaver Stadium in State College, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
STATE COLLEGE, PA - SEPTEMBER 17: A photo cut out of Joe Paterno is seen before the game against the Temple Owls on September 17, 2016 at Beaver Stadium in State College, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Temple v Penn State
STATE COLLEGE, PA - SEPTEMBER 17: A photo cut out of Joe Paterno is seen before the game against the Temple Owls on September 17, 2016 at Beaver Stadium in State College, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
STATE COLLEGE, PA - SEPTEMBER 17: A photo cut out of Joe Paterno is seen before the game against the Temple Owls on September 17, 2016 at Beaver Stadium in State College, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Temple v Penn State
STATE COLLEGE, PA - SEPTEMBER 17: A photo cut out of Joe Paterno is seen before the game against the Temple Owls on September 17, 2016 at Beaver Stadium in State College, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
STATE COLLEGE, PA - SEPTEMBER 17: A Penn State Nittany Lions fan poses with a photo cut out of Joe Paterno is seen before the game against the Temple Owls on September 17, 2016 at Beaver Stadium in State College, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Temple v Penn State
STATE COLLEGE, PA - SEPTEMBER 17: A Penn State Nittany Lions fan poses with a photo cut out of Joe Paterno is seen before the game against the Temple Owls on September 17, 2016 at Beaver Stadium in State College, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
FILE - In this Sept. 4, 2004 file photo, Penn State coach Joe Paterno leads his team onto the field before an NCAA college football game against Akron in State College, Pa. As Penn State's athletic department finalizes details for how to honor the 50th anniversary of Joe Paternos first win, hundreds of the late coachs former players were on their way to town to attend a private reunion planned for Friday at the schools baseball stadium. (AP Photo /Carolyn Kaster, File)
Ex-Paterno players reunite at Penn St amid scandal
FILE - In this Sept. 4, 2004 file photo, Penn State coach Joe Paterno leads his team onto the field before an NCAA college football game against Akron in State College, Pa. As Penn State's athletic department finalizes details for how to honor the 50th anniversary of Joe Paternos first win, hundreds of the late coachs former players were on their way to town to attend a private reunion planned for Friday at the schools baseball stadium. (AP Photo /Carolyn Kaster, File)
FILE - In this Jan. 1, 1972 file photo, Penn State football coach Joe Paterno is embraced by his wife, Sue, following Penn State's 30-6 victory over Texas in the Cotton Bowl in Dallas.As Penn State's athletic department finalizes details for how to honor the 50th anniversary of Joe Paternos first win, hundreds of the late coachs former players were on their way to town to attend a private reunion planned for Friday at the schools baseball stadium. (AP Photo/File)
Ex-Paterno players reunite at Penn St amid scandal
FILE - In this Jan. 1, 1972 file photo, Penn State football coach Joe Paterno is embraced by his wife, Sue, following Penn State's 30-6 victory over Texas in the Cotton Bowl in Dallas.As Penn State's athletic department finalizes details for how to honor the 50th anniversary of Joe Paternos first win, hundreds of the late coachs former players were on their way to town to attend a private reunion planned for Friday at the schools baseball stadium. (AP Photo/File)
The problematic legacy of Joe Paterno
The problematic legacy of Joe Paterno
The problematic legacy of Joe Paterno
The problematic legacy of Joe Paterno
The problematic legacy of Joe Paterno
The problematic legacy of Joe Paterno
Penn State AD gives details about Joe Paterno commemoration
Penn State AD gives details about Joe Paterno commemoration
Penn State AD gives details about Joe Paterno commemoration
The Penn State athletics department is officially “commemorating the 50th anniversary of coach Paterno’s first game as penn state head coach.”
Penn State to honor Joe Paterno before Sept. 17 game vs. Temple
The Penn State athletics department is officially “commemorating the 50th anniversary of coach Paterno’s first game as penn state head coach.”
The Penn State athletics department is officially “commemorating the 50th anniversary of coach Paterno’s first game as penn state head coach.”
Penn State to honor Joe Paterno before Sept. 17 game vs. Temple
The Penn State athletics department is officially “commemorating the 50th anniversary of coach Paterno’s first game as penn state head coach.”
The Penn State athletics department is officially “commemorating the 50th anniversary of coach Paterno’s first game as penn state head coach.”
Penn State to honor Joe Paterno before Sept. 17 game vs. Temple
The Penn State athletics department is officially “commemorating the 50th anniversary of coach Paterno’s first game as penn state head coach.”
The Penn State athletics department is officially “commemorating the 50th anniversary of coach Paterno’s first game as penn state head coach.”
Penn State to honor Joe Paterno before Sept. 17 game vs. Temple
The Penn State athletics department is officially “commemorating the 50th anniversary of coach Paterno’s first game as penn state head coach.”
Penn State to honor former head football coach Joe Paterno, after being fired amid the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal
Joe Paterno feted despite Sandusky child sex abuse scandal
Penn State to honor former head football coach Joe Paterno, after being fired amid the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal
Penn State to honor former head football coach Joe Paterno, after being fired amid the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal
Joe Paterno feted despite Sandusky child sex abuse scandal
Penn State to honor former head football coach Joe Paterno, after being fired amid the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal
Penn State to honor former head football coach Joe Paterno, after being fired amid the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal
Joe Paterno feted despite Sandusky child sex abuse scandal
Penn State to honor former head football coach Joe Paterno, after being fired amid the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal
Penn State to honor former head football coach Joe Paterno, after being fired amid the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal
Joe Paterno feted despite Sandusky child sex abuse scandal
Penn State to honor former head football coach Joe Paterno, after being fired amid the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal
Yahoo Sports recaps Thursday’s top sports headlines including Nike giving Serena a new title, Penn State to honor Joe Paterno, and Teddy Bridgewater vows to comeback healthy.
SportsFlash – Nike calls Serena Williams the greatest athlete ever
Yahoo Sports recaps Thursday’s top sports headlines including Nike giving Serena a new title, Penn State to honor Joe Paterno, and Teddy Bridgewater vows to comeback healthy.
Yahoo Sports recaps Thursday’s top sports headlines including Nike giving Serena a new title, Penn State to honor Joe Paterno, and Teddy Bridgewater vows to comeback healthy.
SportsFlash – Nike calls Serena Williams the greatest athlete ever
Yahoo Sports recaps Thursday’s top sports headlines including Nike giving Serena a new title, Penn State to honor Joe Paterno, and Teddy Bridgewater vows to comeback healthy.
Yahoo Sports recaps Thursday’s top sports headlines including Nike giving Serena a new title, Penn State to honor Joe Paterno, and Teddy Bridgewater vows to comeback healthy.
SportsFlash – Nike calls Serena Williams the greatest athlete ever
Yahoo Sports recaps Thursday’s top sports headlines including Nike giving Serena a new title, Penn State to honor Joe Paterno, and Teddy Bridgewater vows to comeback healthy.
Yahoo Sports recaps Thursday’s top sports headlines including Nike giving Serena a new title, Penn State to honor Joe Paterno, and Teddy Bridgewater vows to comeback healthy.
SportsFlash – Nike calls Serena Williams the greatest athlete ever
Yahoo Sports recaps Thursday’s top sports headlines including Nike giving Serena a new title, Penn State to honor Joe Paterno, and Teddy Bridgewater vows to comeback healthy.
The Internet Knows Penn State's Planned Joe Paterno Tribute Is A Very Bad Idea
The Internet Knows Penn State's Planned Joe Paterno Tribute Is A Very Bad Idea
The Internet Knows Penn State's Planned Joe Paterno Tribute Is A Very Bad Idea
The Internet Knows Penn State's Planned Joe Paterno Tribute Is A Very Bad Idea
The Internet Knows Penn State's Planned Joe Paterno Tribute Is A Very Bad Idea
The Internet Knows Penn State's Planned Joe Paterno Tribute Is A Very Bad Idea
Penn State to 'commemorate' 50th anniversary of Joe Paterno's first game
Penn State to 'commemorate' 50th anniversary of Joe Paterno's first game
Penn State to 'commemorate' 50th anniversary of Joe Paterno's first game
The university will honor the former coach during its second home game of the season.
Joe Paterno will be honored by Penn State at Temple game
The university will honor the former coach during its second home game of the season.
FILE - In this Oct. 10, 2009, file photo, Penn State coach Joe Paterno, right, and assistant coach Mike McQueary walk off the field together before an NCAA college football game against Eastern Illinois in State College, Pa. A proposed settlement, announced Friday, Jan. 16, 2015, by the NCAA, will give Penn State back 112 football team wins that were vacated two years ago in the Jerry Sandusky child molestation scandal. If approved, the new agreement also would restore former coach Paterno's status as the winningest coach in major college football history with 409 victories. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)
Trial set for McQueary whistleblower suit against Penn State
FILE - In this Oct. 10, 2009, file photo, Penn State coach Joe Paterno, right, and assistant coach Mike McQueary walk off the field together before an NCAA college football game against Eastern Illinois in State College, Pa. A proposed settlement, announced Friday, Jan. 16, 2015, by the NCAA, will give Penn State back 112 football team wins that were vacated two years ago in the Jerry Sandusky child molestation scandal. If approved, the new agreement also would restore former coach Paterno's status as the winningest coach in major college football history with 409 victories. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)
FILE - In this Aug. 6, 1999, file photo, Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno, right, poses with his defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky during Penn State Media Day at State College, Pa. Penn State President Eric Barron is decrying new allegations in a letter Sunday, May 8, 2016, that former coach Paterno was told that Sandusky had sexually abused a child as early as 1976 and that assistant coaches witnessed the abuse of other children. (AP Photo/Paul Vathis, File)
Sandusky emphatically denies he's guilty of abusing boys
FILE - In this Aug. 6, 1999, file photo, Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno, right, poses with his defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky during Penn State Media Day at State College, Pa. Penn State President Eric Barron is decrying new allegations in a letter Sunday, May 8, 2016, that former coach Paterno was told that Sandusky had sexually abused a child as early as 1976 and that assistant coaches witnessed the abuse of other children. (AP Photo/Paul Vathis, File)
FILE - In this Aug. 6, 1999, file photo, Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno, right, poses with his defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky during Penn State Media Day at State College, Pa. An amended complaint by the family and estate of Joe Paterno and others was filed Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014, in county court near State College that added Penn State as a "nominal defendant" in a lawsuit against the NCAA over the university's penalties for the Jerry Sandusky child molestation scandal. (AP Photo/Paul Vathis, File)
Judge: Ex-Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky may testify
FILE - In this Aug. 6, 1999, file photo, Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno, right, poses with his defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky during Penn State Media Day at State College, Pa. An amended complaint by the family and estate of Joe Paterno and others was filed Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014, in county court near State College that added Penn State as a "nominal defendant" in a lawsuit against the NCAA over the university's penalties for the Jerry Sandusky child molestation scandal. (AP Photo/Paul Vathis, File)

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