In Bo Pelini’s tenure as the University of Nebraska Cornhusker football coach it doesn’t take a whole lot of imagination to realize that those are not prayers he is screaming on the sidelines. Any person—including me, with trifocal glasses—can pretty well read his lips. The man has been known to blow a few gaskets in his time of coaching Big Red . . . easily caught on camera countless times over the years. Of course, the descriptions used to describe him often mention the word “fiery” and “profane” . . . what can anyone say, he is originally from Ohio . . . a blue collar state. So, why is there such an uproar being made over an audio tape from two years ago when he was screaming a blue streak to some acquaintances after staging what has been called one of the biggest comeback victories every in Memorial Stadium over Ohio State . . . who had a 21 point lead late in the third quarter?
Was it because he pointed his profanity-filled, f-bomb laced remarks at the Big Red Nation? The Big Red Nation that has so often been touted as being among college football’s best fans? The Big Red Nation who claim a sense of loyalty and faithfulness unmatched in college football . . . who stand by their team no matter whether they win or lose? The same Big Red fans who started streaming out of the stadium—thinking all was lost, while the team was staging one of the greatest comebacks in Cornhusker history? The faithful leaving the stadium partially filled? Yep, that is pretty much the foundation of the complaining . .. Bo cussed out the faithful . . . profanely describing them as blankety blank fair weather fans. That is what he did.
Now, mind you, he also cussed out the sports staff of the Omaha World Herald newspaper, but no one was in disagreement with that part of the rant. Shoot, you can hear that happening in just about every little town in Nebraska on Monday mornings during the football season. No one really cared that Bo cursed the Omaha World Herald sports department and writers . . . it was a consensual agreement across the state that they probably deserved it. No, it was over the fact that Bo swore at the Husker faithful in some mighty fine blue language that made the paint peel. Big Red Nation got its feelings hurt and cried foul.
Big Red Nation should not have been surprised by Bo’s rant . . . unless they were blind and sitting in the nose-bleed section of section of Memorial Stadium . . . everyone in Big Red Nation knows that Bo is a colorful, feisty, fiery sort of guy who likes to use a lot of profane language during the games. Ask any Big 12 of Big 10 official. Just about everyone in Huskerland knows that Bo has a temper that is on a really, really short fuse. Just about everyone in the land of corn has seen his storming and swearing during a game . . . either in person or on television. Those are not sweet nothings he is uttering to the officials. So, why the mock surprise? Again, because Bo hurt everyone’s feelings.
I don’t agree with Bo’s behavior a lot of the time when he goes off on one of his temper tantrums . . . doesn’t quite fit the image that the legendary coach Tom Osborne spent years building for the University of Nebraska football program. Yeah, Bo can be a little embarrassing . . . and, to be honest, I have been amazed that he hasn’t had a heart attack while ranting and raving on the sidelines . . . the man does get red! The man reminds me of Bobby Knight when he used to coach the Hoosiers at Indiana in basketball. At least Bo hasn’t thrown a bench on the field yet. Yes, Bo loses it at least once a game, acts like a two-year old throwing a tantrum, and it does get old and embarrassing . . . but . . .
. . . who among us has not blown our caps, cursed, stomped, called names, turned red, and bitten the hand that feeds us? Who among us has not gone off on some profanity-laced tirade when we have been hurt? Who among us has not lost it and flipped someone off while driving? Who among us has not lost it, said things that we regretted as soon as they left our lips, and knew that it was wrong? Who among us has not pulled a “Bo”—of some degree—in all the years of our lives? Who among us has been super human . . . walks on water . . . and, is, well . . . perfect? Been without sin?
I’ll wait while you consider your answer . . . but, I might be waiting a long, long time. The point is, as human beings, we have all blown it at some point in our lives . . . that we will blow it again . . . that we will pull a “Bo”. We all do it. Sometimes it is witnessed by those we wish didn’t see it, other times it is in the privacy of our own little world. But, the bottom line is that we have all acted just as Bo acted. And, we have been on both sides of it when it happens. We have been the perpetrator and the victim. We have done the hurting, and we have been hurt. Unfortunately, we just don’t want to admit that we are like Bo . . . that we are frail humans that are prone to get frustrated, angry, and blow up.
The incident happened two years ago . . . it didn’t happen after the whooping UCLA put on the Huskers this past Saturday . . . which it very easily could have. Bo apologized. He publicly apologized . . . said he was sorry. The president and athletic director of the university said that he was sincere in his apology. God . . . I mean, Tom Osborne . . . said that he believed that he was sincere. Bo said he was sincere . . . and, that he loved Big Red Nation . . . best gig he has ever had. But the lament is still going on . . . wah, wah, wah, cry a portion of the faithful. I think it was the third of the stadium that left early in the third quarter.
It is done, but there are those cry out for justice . . . who cry out for acts of penitence . . . who want to see Bo pay for hurting their feelings. I don’t know what else the man can do. He is already paying a heavy price as the coach of Big Red. I wouldn’t want his job . . . I would be blowing up every ten minutes. Think about it . . . in is job he has to please several million fans of Big Red Nation who are among the best armchair quarterbacks in the world who question his every move . . . in his job he has to babysit over a hundred young men—ages 18 to 25ish, who think they know everything there is to know . . . plus, remember, they are all males—ever try to a male anything? He constantly hears that he is not a good coach despite the fact that he has averaged at least nine victories a year since taking over the Cornhuskers . . . only one of six coaches in the nation to do so in that time period. I wouldn’t want his job . . . would you?
The man apologized . . . it is over. It is time to move on. It is time that the faithful of the Big Red Nation start living up to their reputation . . . a reputation that is demonstrated when the fans stand at the end of a game and cheer for the visiting team—win or lose. It is time that the faithful start living up to what it is that they project as an image of the Cornhusker faithful. The history of Big Red football is filled with the faithful giving the fallen a second . . . and, even more . . . chance. Bo stumbled, admitted his mistake, apologized, and now it is time to move on. There is still a lot of football left to play. Oh, Bo . . .
. . . I feel for you. I know what you feel. I am a minister . . . but more importantly, I am a human being prone to making mistakes. Even God, a huge Notre Dame fan I am told, understands. It is tough being the coach of the beloved Huskers . . .