Found December 21, 2011 on Fox Sports:
Capital_one_bowl_6e2c
Never has the salutation "happy birthday" rung more hollow than it does today for Joe Paterno. What is happy about it? The former Penn State coach marks his 85th birthday Wednesday, but what do you give the man who has lost almost everything that meant anything to him, outside of his family, in just the past eight weeks? Another pair of khakis? If only the Jerry Sandusky scandal and its collateral damage were as easy to extinguish as the four score and five candles on Paterno's birthday cake. If only Paterno had done the right thing in the defining moment of his career, which as it turns out transpired far from any football stadium. Since the release of the grand jury report on Nov. 4, the past several weeks of Joe Paterno's life have played out like a Shakespearean tragedy rendered on a sports tableau. On Oct. 29, Paterno stood on the field inside Beaver Stadium, snow swirling around his black shoes and white socks, as the fans cheered him for breaking Eddie Robinson's major-college wins mark of 408. On that day, he also tied Amos Alonzo Stagg's record for most games coached (548), though few seemed to notice. Paterno has lost so, so much since becoming his sport's winningest coach. Begin with the seasonal routine. No head coach has devoted more Decembers to preparing his team for bowl games than Paterno. In his 45-plus seasons as the Nittany Lions' CEO, he led them to an FBS-record 37 bowl games. In those years, especially in the Decembers of 1982, '86 and '93, when a national title was at stake, Paterno's birthday was probably little more than an annoying distraction to him. While Penn State is headed to the Ticket City Bowl in Dallas on Jan. 2, he will play no role. Since Paterno fielded that eerily terse phone call on the night of Nov. 9 -- "You are relieved of your duties" -- he has lost so much more. Besides his job, Paterno has lost his relationship with his employer of more than 60 years. Penn State recently announced that it would no longer license the name, likeness or image of Paterno, which is akin to the United States cutting all ties with George Washington. Paterno's health appears to be rapidly deteriorating. Fewer than 10 days after his termination, it was disclosed that Paterno has been undergoing treatments for lung cancer. Last week, he was admitted to the hospital after breaking his pelvis in a fall at home, the second time he has suffered that injury. Worst of all, Paterno has lost hope of redemption. Time, after all, is the only commodity. At his age and with his health in decline, Paterno will exit the stage as an abject figure, a cautionary tale of how an entire life's reputation can be destroyed in a few fleeting moments. Unlike Jim Tressel, for example, Paterno cannot afford to sit out five years for a show-cause penalty and launch a redemption tour at age 64. He is finished. Paterno's first act had such an incredibly extended run that the parameters of mortality leave him no chance for a second act. For all that Paterno accomplished, and for all that he gave -- and the tally on both amounts is substantial -- he will be remembered as much for how his career ignominiously ended, and for all the alleged cases of sexual abuse of children that he might have prevented. Joe Paterno turns 85 today. Tomorrow is the first day of winter. As is every day for the remainder of Paterno's life.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Paterno elicits ambivalence on birthday

Wednesday marked Joe Paterno's 85th birthday, a milestone moment for a legendary sports figure. Seven weeks ago, this would have been a big day. People would have been talking about his great accomplishments throughout the years. Instead? Crickets. It's hard to know what to do, or how to take it, really. Someone at USA Today wrote, "For one day, we can forget about...

Report: Joe Paterno Released From Hospital, Condition Improving

Joe Paterno's health was reported to be in "rapid decline" recently. But the former Penn State head coach has reportedly been released from the hospital and has shown improvement. Paterno was released from the hospital on Sunday, according to ESPN.com's Joe Schad. JoePa is reportedly resting at home, but also continuing rehab for a pelvis injury he suffered in a...

Penn State fans serenade Paterno for 85th birthday

About two dozen fans gathered briefly outside Joe Paterno's home Wednesday night to wish the former Penn State coach a happy 85th birthday and sing a Christmas carol.

Penn St AD: 'Deliberate, measured' coach search

The Penn State committee searching for a new football coach is taking what acting athletic director David Joyner called a very deliberate and measured approach in finding Joe Paterno's replacement. Joyner in a statement Thursday said the school is ''continuing to talk with individuals that we're interested in and work through the interview process.'' School...

Fans sing Happy Birthday in front of Paterno home

About two dozen fans gathered outside Joe Paterno's home Wednesday night to wish the former Penn State coach a happy 85th birthday and sing a Christmas carol.

Fans sing birthday tribute outside Paterno's home

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) -- About two dozen fans gathered briefly outside Joe Paterno's home Wednesday night to wish the former Penn State coach a happy 85th birthday and sing a Christmas carol.

Fans wish Paterno a happy birthday at his home

About two dozen fans gathered outside Joe Paterno's home Wednesday night to wish the former Penn State coach a happy 85th birthday and sing a Christmas carol.

Source: Paterno out of hospital, improving after treatment

A person close to Joe Paterno's family says the former Penn State coach is out of the hospital and showing improvement after being treated for lung cancer.

Source: Paterno improving following hospital stay

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) -- A person close to Joe Paterno's family says the former Penn State coach is out of the hospital and showing improvement after being treated for lung cancer.

AP source: Paterno out of hospital, improving

A person close to Joe Paterno's family says the former Penn State coach is out of the hospital and showing improvement after being treated for lung cancer.

CFT: Penn St. scandal is AP sports story of year

CFT: The ouster of one of America's most revered coaches, Penn State's Joe Paterno, after shocking child sex abuse charges against his former assistant was overwhelmingly voted the sports story of the year by members of The Associated Press.

Former PSU players show support for JoePa

More than 340 players once coached by Joe Paterno have shown support for their former Penn State coach through a letter released in time for his 85th birthday Wednesday.

Penn State: 'Deliberate, measured' coach search

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) -- The Penn State committee searching for a new football coach is taking what acting athletic director David Joyner called a very deliberate and measured approach in finding Joe Paterno's replacement.

Penn St. 'deliberate' in coaching search (AP)

The Penn State committee searching for a new football coach is taking what acting athletic director David Joyner called a very deliberate and measured approach in finding Joe Paterno's replacement. Joyner in a statement Thursday said the school is "continuing to talk with individuals that we're interested in and work through the interview process." School president Rodney...
Nittany Lions News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.