I heard the news last night when my brother, who lives in the state, called to tell this expat that Bobby Petrino had been fired and it was being announced by Jeff Long in a press conference. Though I had thought it could go either way, sorta 50/50, I still found myself stunned by the reality of it. In retrospect, I think it could have only gone the way it did. On the very afternoon when Petrino was taking the ill fated motorcycle ride outside of Fayetteville, I was on this blog writing absurd headlines for an Aprils' Fools Day post. How I wish now that all this was just some prolonged Aprils' Fools Day joke and that Bobby Petrino had always acted like a good employee and a good husband and not lied to us all.
For those of you who are not presidential trivia buffs like myself, today's headline is a reference to Richard Nixon who left the White House in disgrace on a helicopter that was one leg in his journey to exile in San Clemente, California. I had this visual image last night of Bobby Petrino getting on a helicopter out on the lawn in front of Old Main, doing one last wave of the hand, and flying off like Nixon. Maybe to Montana in his case? Like Nixon, he left us wondering why somebody so intelligent could be in essence so stupid to self-destruct in the way he did. In a Greek tragedy way of looking at things, you could say that part of his greatness, taking calculated risks on the football field, was part of his down fall, taking such risks off the field. As we all can see, the play he called with Jessica Dorrell was an interception, fumble, sack, and un-sportsman like conduct penalty all rolled into one.
I would like to echo Stephen's thoughts below. I had not thought much of Long until now. I saw him as a corporate suit more concerned with revenue streams and branding than what the Razorbacks actually mean to us. But to make another presidential analogy, Long deserves a chapter in Profiles in Courage. He upheld the law and fairness over possible wins and revenue. That type of action is too rare in our day and age. In yesterday's press conference, the dog for once in college sports actually wagged the tail. I tip my Hog hat to you, Jeff Long.
What's in store now for Bobby Petrino? I don't know. He's burned a lot of bridges. Maybe he should go to his version of San Clemente and like Nixon write a book, but a very contrite and humble book. His statement that came after the press conference would be a good start to such a book. As for coaching, what is left? Arena league? Maybe the CFL? Maybe, maybe, a job as a quarterbacks coach in the NFL? We all know the man can flat out coach. But lead by example, that's proven not to be the case.
What's in store for Jessica Dorrell? Twenty-five is very young and she has much of her life in front of her. I don't know if she is from Arkansas or not, but she would probably find life easier by becoming an expat herself and moving out of state. She is not singly at fault in all of this, but she will forever be known in Arkansas as the woman at the heart of Bobby Petrino's downfall at Arkansas. She could win the Nobel Prize, and that is still what she would be known for in the Natural State.
What's in store now for the Hogs? I am not a subscriber to doom and gloom. I think a good season is still ahead of us. The Razorbacks weren't fired. It was Bobby Petrino who was fired, and to repeat a point I made in an earlier post, the University of Arkansas and its football program are bigger than any one coach. I still look forward to seeing Tyler Wilson, Cobi Hamilton, and Knile Davis in action. I am still going to purchase tickets. I am still going to yell "Woo Pig Sooie!" Bobby Petrino's actions aren't going to rob me of those thrills. And neither should they rob you of them. We'll go forward with a new TBD leader who hopefully is as much of a leader as he is a football tactician. The Hogs are due for such a person, don't you think?
* I had the idea, how about just knocking Bobby Petrino down to offensive coordinator?
* Frank Broyles as interim head coach! Keep the staff on hand in place and let Frank sit in the cat bird's seat one last time. Wouldn't that be a scene?
* How can Bobby Petrino hire his brother like he did? He had a prior relationship with him that gave Paul Petrino an advantage over other possible applicants, right? Nepotism is okay?
* Will we learn more about the 20,000 dollars? Was Jessica blackmailing him, or was that, haha, a wedding gift?
* My brother asked if Sean Payton might be the interim head coach at Arkansas? Haha. I don't think so. But it sure has been a hell of a last two weeks for somebody like myself, a Saints and Hogs fan.
* I honestly didn't know Traver Johnson was on the staff until all this happened.
* Richard Nixon actually did visit the UofA for the Game of the Century in 1969. With our loss to Texas that day, did Nixon leave a dark cloud or curse over the UofA when he helicoptered off himself?