Joe Paterno Penn State

January 29, 2012 by staff 

Joe Paterno Penn State, Joe Paterno’s “Penn State Way” was the way football at so many levels operated in Pennsylvania for nearly half a century.
Today, the menu features black coaching shoes, high-water pants and black, horned-rimmed glasses and a dash of …

Got to thinking on a long ride down and back from Baltimore the other day just how much Joe Paterno had permeated my life as a football enthusiast who’s resided in Pennsylvania for a half century plus one year and 300 some days.

JoePa’s influence is significant, actually, though I only might’ve seen him in person twice in post-game interviews in the 1980s.

Coming of age in the late 1960s and early 1970s, we dreamed of playing for two schools: Penn State and Notre Dame. Lunchtime arguments in school were fueled by which team was better, Penn State or Notre Dame (the Irish were defended religiously by the Coyle clan of Avona Heights).

In the pre-ESPN days — yes, there was such an era — college football’s TV slate included select regional rivalries and Joe Paterno’s weekly football show “TV Quarterback” hosted by Fran Fisher and televised on PBS WLVT-39.

We hung on every word uttered by Paterno, watched him diagram plays and answer listeners’ questions from every backwater town in a 300-mile radius of State College.

Few college teams wore fancy uniforms or included players’ names on the back of their jerseys so Penn State’s really weren’t distinctive like they are now. But look around the state today, especially outside the Lehigh Valley, and see how so many high schools wear uniforms that are near replicas of the Nittany Lions’ blue and whites.

The way we were taught to play football mirrored the “Penn State Way,” with the emphasis on fundamentals, hard-hitting defenses, rugged ground attacks and a priority on ball security.

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