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&#39; 2&quot;, 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&#39;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&#39; 2&quot;, 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&#39;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&#39; 2&quot;, 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&#39;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&#39;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&#39;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&#39;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&#38;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&#38;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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