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Bobby Petrino tries to sell a new image during ESPN interview

Bobby Petrino AP

You can put a lot of labels on former Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino. 

Liar; cheater; jerk; snake oil salesman; a few others I can’t repeat here. You get the point. Most, if not all, of the adjectives used to describe Petrino are inherently negative because, well, he’s done a thing or two during his carousel of a coaching career to merit them.

He left the Atlanta Falcons organization in 2007 before the end of the regular season without even so much as a personal goodbye to take the job at Arkansas. Not five years later, he was fired from that job for committing a quid pro quo with former UA football office employee Jessica Dorrell and then lying to his boss about her presence during his motorcycle accident in April.

Everything I’ve ever been told about Petrino is the same: he’s a first class you-know-what and nobody enjoyed working with him.

But, he’s one hell of a college football coach, and he wants the chance to be on the sidelines again. What do coaches do? They coach. What do they know? Coaching. That’s why Petrino really agreed to an exclusive interview with Joe Schad of ESPN, the World Wide Leader in sports. He wants to sell his repaired, softer image so that someone in some athletic department will say “Boy, that Bobby Petrino… he’s a changed man.”

That’s what coaches do: they sell. All the time. Not to you and me — you really think Petrino cares about what we think of him now? — but to his future employer.

So is Petrino really remorseful for his affair with Dorrell, for the pain he caused his family? I don’t know and I don’t care. He’s not my father and he’s certainly not my role model. He’s a college football coach who gives great quotes so that I can feed the beast.

Which is funny, because some of the quotes Petrino gave Schad were as scripted as the Sugar Bowl hat he wore during  his initial press conference following his motorcycle accident.

On why he hired Dorrell: 

“There’s no justification, no excuse for having her in the interview pool. Having her on the back of the motorcycle. When I look back on it, there is no good answer.”

(Well, there is. He just didn’t give it.)

On what his biggest weakness is: 

“How could I possibly do this? How could I drift away from what was important to me. I made mistakes and I’m going to be a better person because of it. I’m going to keep a better balance. I think I’ll be a better coach.”

(There it is!)

Look, I’m not typing all of this like I’m offended by Petrino’s interview or anything. That would imply I had expectations for him to begin with. Petrino is a coach to me. Nothing more, nothing less. What he does privately is of no concern to me. But, there is a lesson to be learned from Petrino’s mistake: he’s human, and humans by nature are flawed. Thinking your coach or players are otherwise is setting yourself up for massive disappointment.

Not that Petrino was glorified by anybody, of course, but it’s easy to dismiss the shortcomings of a successful coach.

What Petrino did today was essentially a job interview. It was unnecessary for most of us, but to the people who matter to Petrino (future employers), he probably did well enough to merit another one down the road.

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29 Responses to “Bobby Petrino tries to sell a new image during ESPN interview”
  1. foreverlsu says: Aug 9, 2012 12:56 PM

    Petrino will end up at Arkansas State after Gus Malzahn takes the Arkansas job …after John L suffers through an 8-4 season.

  2. steeler1nation says: Aug 9, 2012 1:01 PM

    Bobby P: simple — do what the “Ladies Man” does…blame it all on the fault of “The wang”.

  3. southernpatriots says: Aug 9, 2012 1:07 PM

    Petrino sure brought alot of pain to those around him, those he professed to care alot about, those he even claimed to love.

    Remorse…maybe, repentance…doubtful.

  4. woebegong says: Aug 9, 2012 1:13 PM

    Cry me a river of Crocodile tears Bobby. I would tend to believe you about as far as I can throw you, and that’s not too far. You cheated the city of Atlanta and left like a moving van in the middle of the night, like the old Baltimore Colts team.
    You reap what you sow.

  5. foreverlsu says: Aug 9, 2012 1:13 PM

    Pigtrino is remorseful of one thing and one thing only …he got caught.

  6. ningenito78 says: Aug 9, 2012 1:34 PM

    Hes a first class scumbag that knows how to recruit good football players. He’ll get another shot and leave whoever gives it to him in the lurch. One thing football programs can’t see past: wins.

  7. thepancreas says: Aug 9, 2012 1:40 PM

    Who is buying this?

    He just happens to conduct an interview the first week of college football practice, falling on his sword—

    He would have been better off buying commercial time during the Olympics, “I’d like to address every university president and athletic director looking at hiring a football coach…”

    That wouldn’t have been more obvious that this P.R. campaign he’s on.

    Oh, did he mention a book release? That has to be close.

  8. kozbee says: Aug 9, 2012 1:58 PM

    BP did a couple things wrong,hurt his family was the main issue imo.He didn`t walk away from Arkansas they fired him.BP is a great coach and what he did wasn`t to me even though the Razors are one of my favorite teams in the SEC.If he went back to Arkansas tomorrow i would care less cause when he`s coaching he`s coaching.Being with the young girl is his business and has to face his family on that issue but as long as he can coach then i hope him a good coaching job in college cause he is one of the best coaches there is.I`m sure his lesson was a good one and he redeemed himself from what went on,Goodluck Bobby and see you on the Sidelines soon i hope.

  9. honkerdawg says: Aug 9, 2012 2:11 PM

    I don’t know why ESPN doesn’t hire this idiot, he’s got ALL the qualifications to work at the Entertainmet Sports and Pandering Network

  10. cubano76 says: Aug 9, 2012 2:17 PM

    The only honest line in that entire post was, “He’s a college football coach who gives great quotes so that I can feed the beast.”

    We are quickly moving in a direction that a coaches ability to win games no longer over shadows the choices they make behind closed doors. Bad news travels faster than any one man can stop it these days. The media, and fan base have grown tired of being told “how it is” by these high profile coaches and AD’s.

    BP blew it. He had his shot at the big time. That time has passed. He’ll coach again, but not at the level his ego would like.

  11. parkcityute says: Aug 9, 2012 2:21 PM

    honkerdog:

    I would agree with your post, except wouldn’t Petrino leave ESPN in the middle of the night for CBS or Fox Sports? They all seem to want former college coaches for “analysts” (maybe just the first 4 letters).

    cubano76: I think you are right.

  12. usmutts says: Aug 9, 2012 2:40 PM

    Don’t forget Univ of Arkansas’ own complicity and hypocrisy in this ethics-free drama. After all, Petrino didn’t decide on his own to quit on his Falcon players during the season. He couldn’t have done it without the unethical conduct of the university in contacting him, offering him the money, and enabling him to quit Atlanta, and hold a press conference at Ark within 24 hours.

    Petrino and Ark did this TOGETHER. Birds of a feather. So it’s quite a hypocrisy for this deceitful, unethical school to deceitfully and unethically hire this well-known deceitful, unethical employee…and then fire him for – gasp! – being deceitful and unethical.

  13. originolefan says: Aug 9, 2012 2:59 PM

    Listen this is Arkansas we are talking about here the birthplace of Bill Clinton right??? and you are mad/ surprised the football coach cheated on his wife!!! Really??? Most of the people there and everywhere didn’t give a S*** when Bill THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA lied about it and now your mad at a coach give the dude a break he messed up and hes a jerk who cares he can coach and that is what he is paid to do. Lane Kiffin has been a jerk for many years and as long as you win people forget about it

  14. stairwayto7 says: Aug 9, 2012 3:01 PM

    Lack of institutional control! 3 year bowl ban!

  15. thraiderskin says: Aug 9, 2012 3:11 PM

    He is nothing but a selfish little man… he hosed the Falcons when they needed him most and he spat on Arkansas, with his actions, when the expectations were highest and the fans the most excited. I greatly hope he never sees the HC position again.

  16. Deb says: Aug 9, 2012 3:19 PM

    Very well-written article, Ben. One of your best!

    Of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but looking at Petrino’s photo above suggests an adjective for Dorrell: blind.

  17. houndofthebaskervols says: Aug 9, 2012 3:21 PM

    I’d be emotional too if I lost a job paying $3.5M because I was stoopid!

    New Mexico, Toledo, San Jose State maybe, never a major D1 school again. What a jagoff.

  18. coolhorn says: Aug 9, 2012 3:29 PM

    Anybody looking for a head coach to be a role model these days probably also believes in the yellow brick road.

    Bobby Petrino’s biggest sin, what sets him apart from other coaches, is he got caught in a particularly embarrassing faux pas, and coverage of it went viral. The Arkansas AD virtually had no choice but to hand Petrino his walking papers. Petrino wasn’t helped by his history of shady practices prior to arriving in Fayette Nam.

    An awful lot of people could care less what a head coach does with his private life, as long as he keeps it mostly undercover, and can recruit stud athletes and coach them up to win championships. It helps if the coach can schmooze with the wealthiest supporters…but in the end, most people subscribe to the old Al Davis axiom…”Just win, Baby.”

    It’s not a question of IF Petrino will be a head coach again…just where, and when. The when is likely to be next year…some school desperately wanting a winning football team will reach out to Petrino. After all, that’s what he does…recruit stud athletes and win a lot more than he loses. He may have learned to keep his private life private after his easy rider episode…but I wouldn’t want to bet the rent on it.

  19. brewcrewfan54 says: Aug 9, 2012 3:40 PM

    That picture will always make me laugh

  20. pdcooper08 says: Aug 9, 2012 4:33 PM

    Usmutts: You hit it right on the head and I couldn’t agree more.

    Poor little Napoleon, he has no where to go now. I’m sure next year their will be an AD that sells his soul for this guy and brings him in.

  21. deadeye says: Aug 9, 2012 4:49 PM

    Petrino is unquestionably an insincere POS.

    But being a great coach has it’s perks. And as such he will be coaching in the SEC this time next season. My prediction is Dooley is handed his walkng papers and BP is hired to bring the Vols back from the dead.

  22. andrewproughcfe says: Aug 9, 2012 11:32 PM

    Well, one things for sure – no SEC school would ever hire an ethically challenged coach just to win football games…

    …at least not after he was caught the 2nd time… Or maybe the 3rd time… Or maybe the 4th time…

    OK, never mind. Just tell us when the bidding war for his services begins.

  23. bigdinla says: Aug 10, 2012 10:41 AM

    Best quote from the interview” I can’t put my finger on the why!” Really Bobby, sounds like that was the whole problem!

  24. florida727 says: Aug 10, 2012 11:19 AM

    houndofthebaskervols says:
    Aug 9, 2012 3:21 PM
    “What a jagoff.”

    As I understand the definition of the word, actually, no. (See Dorrell, Jessica.)

  25. southernpatriots says: Aug 10, 2012 12:08 PM

    florida727:

    That sense of humor you have is wonderful! I am chuckling and I needed that today. Some of the children are not doing well…it’s a waiting game to see if there are compatible donor lungs. Glad to see you are out there and very thankful for your contribution to this thread.

  26. lonespeed says: Aug 10, 2012 1:34 PM

    He has always gotten more than he deserved as a head coach, but he’ll likely get less than he deserves in punishment for his most recent actions.

    He deserves to be completely ostrocised from the sport.

  27. blastfurnaceknows says: Aug 10, 2012 2:25 PM

    Mr. Petrino seems to have an unhealthy and unseemly addiction. Maybe if he was to go into rehab, he’d get another shot at coaching.

    But, where exactly, does one go to cure themselves of an addiction to their own scumbaggery?

  28. markdamack says: Aug 10, 2012 2:35 PM

    usmutts says:
    Aug 9, 2012 2:40 PM
    Don’t forget Univ of Arkansas’ own complicity and hypocrisy in this ethics-free drama. After all, Petrino didn’t decide on his own to quit on his Falcon players during the season. He couldn’t have done it without the unethical conduct of the university in contacting him, offering him the money, and enabling him to quit Atlanta, and hold a press conference at Ark within 24 hours.

    Petrino and Ark did this TOGETHER. Birds of a feather. So it’s quite a hypocrisy for this deceitful, unethical school to deceitfully and unethically hire this well-known deceitful, unethical employee…and then fire him for – gasp! – being deceitful and unethical.

    ————————————————–

    First of all, I wish people would do some research. Nobody cares about the report that Arthur Blank gave BP full permission to leave. BP went to Blank, said “this isn’t for me, and i’m obviously not successful at it”…Arthur Blank gave BP permission to leave and apparently even thanked him for coming to him and being honest.

    Then….Mike Vick gets busted, Blank panics, renigs and says BP cant leave because he doesn’t want to hurt the image of the Falcons, BP leaves anyways (which is still a huge jerk move) and Blank paints him to be this horrible person who snuck out in the middle of the night and left his team with no clue what was going on.

    My point being, BP is a Jerk. Regardless of the circumstances, he bailed on his team. However, Blank gave them full permission. Do you honestly think their wouldn’t be any kind of punishment handed down for tampering with a pro teams coach in the middle of the season…if the owner didnt say it was ok?

    Arkansas did what they had to do and what they were told was ok to do. They didn’t “steal” Bobby Petrino. You calling the university a hypocrit is laughable, especially when they could’ve just brushed this whole thing off, “fined” Petrino, and kept him on as a coach and you guys would’ve forgotten about it already.

  29. materialman80 says: Aug 16, 2012 11:45 AM

    this guy is a sleeze and should not be in college football. just go away Bobby…..please

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