RIP Joe Paterno: In the end, the child sexual-abuse scandal and dismissal made the first paragraph of Paterno's obituary, right alongside sweeping declarations about the scope and success of his legendary (if tarnished) career.
I'm left feeling bad for him that his final months were so painful -- while still reserving the right to begrudge him the way he handled the Sandusky situation. As fans, we can feel both things for him, and his legacy should consider both.
It remains a sad day for his family, for Penn State fans and for college football fans everywhere -- my condolences are with the Paternos and JoePa's vastly larger Penn State family.
*There is an incredible collection of Paterno obituaries, analysis and reflection at Quickish. Click here to check it out.
Super Bowl: Pats vs. Giants. Yes, the rematch. Yes, Tom Brady vs. Eli Manning. Yes, Bill Belichick against Tom Coughlin, who foiled the perfect season. And, yes, Boston versus New York, which should send the rest of the country scurrying for cover.
NFC: Giants escape San Francisco in OT. Others have said it, and it's worth repeating -- so the NFC title came down to the 49ers not having Ted Ginn available? This doesn't take away from Jim Harbaugh's first season as an NFL head coach -- the most brilliant NFL debut by a head coach in recent memory. The Giants put together the least impressive regular season of any team ever to get to the Super Bowl -- far less qualified than a 6-seed Wild Card like the Steelers a few years ago. Then again, the Giants have played brilliantly in the postseason and more than earned their way with wins over the Falcons, Packers and 49ers -- the final two on the road -- in consecutive weeks. They are worthy conference champs.
AFC: Ravens choke against the Pats. Let's stipulate that even if Billy Cundiff had made the field goal, there is no guarantee the Ravens win in OT. But let's say the win the toss, then kick a FG, then hold the Pats to a FG, then kick another FG. The point is that if you hate the Patriots, this was a tough loss. But if you like the idea that the league's best coach and the league's best QB earned their way back into the Super Bowl for the 5th time in the past decade with a win over a very good conference foe, you're happy enough. (But you're probably feeling a bit like you did a few years ago -- hoping they'll lose to the Giants in an upset.)
*Again, there is an incredible collection of NFL analysis this morning at Quickish. Click here to check it out.
CFB: Oregon's Chip Kelly reportedly leaving for NFL's Bucs, then flips around and stays at Oregon. As a Florida fan, this is reminiscent of when Billy Donovan left after the back-to-back championships for the Magic, only to come back to Florida the next day. Kelly didn't go quite that far -- his interest in the NFL is clear (I think he'd be an excellent NFL coach, way more Harbaugh than Spurrier), but he's got a good thing going in Eugene... arguably as good of a thing as any coach in the country, including Saban at Alabama (which feels like the gold standard). Too bad for the Bucs -- great news for college football in '12, where the budding Oregon-USC rivalry should be the marquee showdown of the season.
College hoops this weekend: I watched most of Mizzou's win over Baylor in Waco, and I'm ready to hop on the Tigers' bandwagon as a very legitimate Final Four team, size issues be damned.