Over the past year, it seems like every time I have written a long piece, I end up digressing into the money-hungry realities of major college football. I have beaten the subject of morality and ethics in football to a bloody pulp, and I even made the decision to tackle the whole idea of 'Football Culture' which is a big deal because I will be the first to admit that living in Nebraska, I am keenly aware of just how close we are to that truth. Still, three weeks ago football season began and my Husker Red was proudly waved and my allegiance to the cause was in full tow. It is just how these things tend to work out. Despite my knowledge of the audacity of this 'obsession' of sorts, I cannot help but be drawn back to the insanity surrounding Nebraska football year in and year out. Heck, I even bought into the hype after Week 1 that Nebraska might truly be an elite team.
Of course, I should have written an article then so that we could have an archive of my asinine behavior. UCLA came and went, and the Husker faithful turned into the foaming lunatics they generally resort to after every loss, and it felt like football was really back. Ted had a piece this week about Coaching Hot Seats... after three weeks. And you know what? Even though a lot of us said things like, "I mean, nobody is really on the hot seat, but if Coach X doesn't step it up, then he better be weary of what happens next," I think we all understood that this is a win now or forever hold your peace type of culture. With the obvious exceptions of Northwestern and Iowa who have somewhat unique coaching situations, there is a general feeling that coaches are here for our entertainment and they better damn well payout on that job.
But so what? Why do I bring this up after three weeks? Am I about to rant about FOOTBAWL CULTURE and then call the entire Southern United States insane? Well, no, not exactly. No, this is about the reality that these coaches are all real people and that reality hit home for me last week while watching the Arkansas State-Nebraska game. For those of you unaware, and if you're unaware, you were not watching football last weekend, Head Coach Bo Pelini was seen on the sideline getting his pulse taken as one of the Grad Assistants tried to block the cameras from seeing what exactly was going on. At halftime, Bo had a look of a man who was about to pass out, and reports of him leaving the stadium in an ambulance traveled quickly. Suddenly, football wasn't all that important. Well, at least it wasn't all that important to the man in the ambulance.
Long story short, Bo ended up coming out on the healthy side of this ordeal. Still, it was scary as Husker fans started hitting Twitter and Facebook to get any sort of heads up possible. Hell, we were hanging on the reports of ESPN's sideline reporter who was probably realizing just how obnoxious it is to have a light at every intersection on every road in Lincoln. Okay, no, no we were not hanging on these reports and ESPN needs to be berated a bit for their shoddy coverage, poor knowledge of the game, and ridiculous idea of ambulance chasing during the game. Yes, I know that this was a big story, but to drive around to hospitals during the game was a terrible decision and that producer should be fired for giving the green light on such a ridiculous idea. Anyhow, the point is that for a moment, even Iowa fans were talking about how scary it is for a coach to be taken away in an ambulance. For a moment we had perspective.
After the game, Pelini and Osborne had statements and it seemed like it was just a scare. Now, idiots like Gregg Doyle later made fools of themselves in basically calling Pelini a chicken for going to the hospital, but even Doyle had to recant after his baboonery was brought to light. Bo had a family history of potential heart problems and these symptoms were nothing to be trifled with. Bo did what any person who thinks he or she might be having a heart attack, he went to the hospital. And why? Because at the end of the day, it just doesn't matter. Football, records, championships, salaries. All of it becomes secondary when you are riding in the back of an ambulance thinking your life is taking a drastic hit for the worst.
Bo talked about life on Monday with the perspective of a man who truly cares about his family first. Coaching is a brutal and unforgiving job in a major conference. Think about all of the racket we made about coaches. Their jobs really should be to train young men to be better people, but since we do not live in a vacuum, their real job is to win games by any means possible. Need to only sleep four hours a night? Make it happen. Need to eat Burger King every day because you're on the road recruiting? Do it, because terrible food is better than no food. Need to ignore your health so that your career progresses? Well, coaches probably try to ride that line despite the support or lack of support from fans. Whether it's Coach Kill and his seizures, Urban and his stress, or even Bo and whatever it is that happened on Saturday, you can always point to the job as at least a little part of the issue.
So, Nebraska fans were a little more forgiving of Bo this week, but trust me... there will not be so much love if there are more losses. Coaches do not gain sympathy so much as they gain impatience. Nebraska already has one loss on the docket and a tough conference slate. I do not know what happens next, but I know this -- I think Bo has the right perspective still. When it was all said and done, Bo didn't just say he should have stayed. He does not regret going to the hospital. No, he talked about how he tries to stay healthy and that being there for his family is more important. Maybe it's more coach-speak, but I think I believe him in this instance and no matter what anyone says this week, I'm happy he's Nebraska's coach. Maybe under that crazy exterior, there is a man who knows more than we do.