Mike Zimmer rips Bobby Petrino, Bobby Petrino backer rips Mike Zimmer, Anthony Stalter rips backer

NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 07:  Head coach Bobby Petrino stands on the sidelines with Joey Harrington #13 of the Atlanta Falcons after taking him out of the game against the Tennessee Titans during their game at LP Field on October 7, 2007 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

I remember when Bobby Petrino ditched Louisville to join the Atlanta Falcons in 2007. The writers for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution briefly mentioned Petrino’s penchant for leaving teams in the dust for bigger and brighter opportunities, then they moved right into breaking down his offense and how he could transform Michael Vick into an elite quarterback.

Not too long after Petrino left Atlanta in the middle of the night to go “Call Hogs” in Arkansas, those same writers ripped him for being a coward. He kind of has that way about him.

When he’s on your side (no matter how briefly), you want to overlook his many weaknesses. But as soon as he shows you his true colors, you hope he never wins another game.

Mike Zimmer, who was the Falcons’ defensive coordinator in Atlanta when Petrino performed his disappearing act, had some not-so-nice things to say about his former boss in a recent interview.

“I never even was there,” said Zimmer. “When a coach quits in the middle of the year and ruins a bunch of people’s families and doesn’t have enough guts to at least finish out the year … I am not a part of that.

“You can put that in the Arkansas News-Gazette. I don’t really give a (hooey). I am serious. He is a coward. Put that in quotes.”

“Most people in football have enough courage about them and enough fight to stick through something and not quit halfway through the year. It is cowardly,” said Zimmer. “He came in and said he resigned, he would talk to us all at a later date, walked out of the office and no one has ever talked to him since. Not that anybody wanted to.

“He’s a gutless (expletive). Quote that. I don’t give a (hooey).”

If you’re abreast of the situation, then you know that Zimmer spoke the truth. But apparently at least one writer in Arkansas is still blinded by Petrino’s lore and took exception to Zimmer’s comments.

These are excerpts from an article by Jim Harris of ArkansasSports360.com in reference to Zimmer’s comments:

Zimmer said earlier this week that Petrino ruined lives when he abruptly left Atlanta for Arkansas with three games left in the 2007 season. Please.

Zimmer’s had a very difficult four years of his life, both on the field and off it. Some of it tragic. His parting with Petrino was not among the tragic occurrences, as Zimmer had a contract and also was able to find work with Cincinnati.

Lives were ruined by Hurricane Katrina. Lives are ruined daily in Haiti, in the aftermath of an earthquake and now a cholera epidemic in a country with no money.

Harris’ mention of how Zimmer has “had a very difficult four years of his life” is in reference to the defensive coordinator finding his wife Vikki dead in their home in the middle of the football season. And while Harris has a good point about Hurricane Katrina and Haiti, let’s not mince words here.

I’m willing to bet that Harris doesn’t know Zimmer personally, so how would he know if the situation ruined Zimmer’s life or not? Besides, isn’t Harris being a little too literal here? I’m sure Zimmer would say that Hurricane Katrina was a bigger deal than Petrino leaving Atlanta, but the situation still affected his life in a profound way. It essentially cost him his job with the Falcons and while he still wound up on his feet in Cincinnati a year later, that doesn’t mean that Harris has the right to downplay the situation and go with the standard “life is bigger than sports” anecdote that some writers use these days.

Read the rest of this entry »

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

Fans played a hand in the firing of Jon Gruden

Apparently Bucs’ ownership took into account what the fans wanted when they fired head coach Jon Gruden two weeks ago.

Jon GrudenCo-owner Bryan Glazer stopped in at the Super Bowl media center today and elaborated on ownership’s decision-making process.

“We talked to a lot of people, but we not only talked to the players, but (also) out in the community getting a feel for the team,” Glazer said. “We get opinions and we mix them all together. We just took our time making that decision.”

Asked further about the community feedback, Glazer said, “Our fans are our stockholders. They’re what we play for — the people in our stadium and the ones that watch on TV. That’s what it’s all about: winning and how they feel about the team. If they don’t feel good about the team, then there’s something wrong. . . I think you all know the sense that’s out there. It was time for a change.”

It was impossible to ignore the venom from the fan base in the wake of the team’s late-season collapse, and many fans were outspoken and vehement in making their feelings known from the team’s own website to local talk radio. And Gruden, in particular, was never considered a very likable personality and had little relationship with the community despite being the face of the franchise, something the Glazers no doubt were sensitive to.

Falcons’ owner Arthur Blank also refers to fans as “stockholders”, which is definitely a unique way to view things. But the fact remains that fans should have zero input on what sports teams operate in terms of player and coaching personnel. Fans are irrational, emotional and often have no idea what’s really going on behind the scenes. (Not unlike sports writers.)

Not that the fans played a huge role in Gruden being fired, but they shouldn’t have been factored in at all. You want to keep your fans happy? Win. Ultimately, they don’t care if Raheem Morris, Jon Gruden or Sponge Bob Square Pants is running the team – as long as the team is winning, everything is copacetic.

Falcons owner wants Vick back in NFL…just nowhere near Atlanta

Michael VickAtlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank recently told ESPN that he would support the league’s decision to allow convicted felon Michael Vick back into the NFL. But also that his team is all set at quarterback.

“He’s written me and I’ve answered him,” Blank said. “I certainly wish Michael well in the future. I believe in second chances. I believe in third chances. That doesn’t mean I believe in forever chances. But I do believe he’s capable of redemption and learning from his mistakes.”

“We’re committed to Matt Ryan,” Blank said. “Even before his early success, we were committed to Matt Ryan. We made that decision when we drafted him. When you select someone in the draft at that level and pay him what we’re paying him, you expect him to be successful and you expect him to be a team leader.”

Copies were obtained of the letters that Blank and Vick wrote to each other:

Dear Mr. Blank,

If I promise to buy one puppy a month for the rest of my life and give it to a loving family, can I please come back into the NFL?

MiChAeL ViCk

Dear Michael,

I don’t care what the hell you do with the rest of your life. You can go play in the NFL, CFL, AFL or XFL for all I care – we have Matt Ryan. And the great thing about having Matt Ryan is that not only can the kid find open receivers on a consistent basis (something you failed to do even semi-regularly), but he also doesn’t own a dog. In fact, he doesn’t own any animals that we know of. And most importantly, he’s yet to give some chick the herp, he doesn’t own trick water bottles used to carry weed, and he doesn’t give our fans the double-fingered salute when he’s walking out of the Georgia Dome.

So go F-yourself Michael,

Related Posts