This news was absolutely heartbreaking to my family and myself. My dad texted me the second he heard and we shared a lil moment for one of our sports heroes. Most of you are probably wondering why Bobby Bowden means so much to an Ohio State alum and my family that has lived in NY for our entire lives. Well I’ll tell you why. My grandfather on my dads side was a massive Bobby Bowden fan. Loved everything about him so because of that he became a Florida State football fan. He passed that down to my father and my father and grandfather passed that on to me. So in probably shocking news I was a Florida State football fan growing up. NFL may dominate college football in the northeast but due to my Florida State fandom I was a massive fan of both pro and college football. The NFL is awesome but College football has a certain charm, pageantry and tradition to it that I think is unmatched anywhere in the world when it comes to passion for the sport. I fell in love with it immediately and never looked back.
Obviously as I got older and eventually took my talents to Ohio State things changed in terms of fandom. I loved Florida State but I am a Buckeye and that can never be taken from me (I have the degree to prove it). With that being said that doesn’t take away some of the amazing memories that Florida State and Bobby Bowden gave to me as a kid. Hanging out on the couch with my dad on Saturdays and watching the Seminoles are memories that I’ll cherish forever. All those great matchups with Miami were legendary. A lot of them didn’t go Florida State‘s way but when they finally did it in 2005 and 2006 after losing 6 years in a row it was amazing. My fondest memory as a Florida State fan probably being after he retired and Florida State won the national championship with Jameis Winston in 2013, but that moment doesn’t happen without Bobby Bowden. It was after I had been kicked out of Coastal Carolina and my father and I had to go back down to South Carolina to meet with my lawyer and clear out the rest of my apartment. The day we were taking our final trek from Myrtle Beach back to New York for good was the day of that national championship game. We stopped at a hotel in Virginia that night because there was no way in hell we weren’t watching the game. It was a magical season where the team was undefeated, borderline untested and Jameis Winston was looking like one of the best college QBs we had ever seen at the time. I’ll never forget calling my dad after their first game of the year against Pitt and calling my shot saying “Jameis is gonna win the Heisman and Florida State is gonna win the national championship.” I swear on everything I love I said that after Game 1 of that season, my dad will confirm it. He was incredible in that game. Every pass was pinpoint accurate and he could move. He went 25/27, threw for 4 TDs and ran for another one. I just knew right away we were seeing someone special. His NFL career is a whole other story but that first year as the starter at FSU that team was untouchable. One of my favorite sports moments of all time was celebrating that championship in the hotel room with my dad. We drank tequila and watched Florida State pull off an all-time comeback and win the title with that last minute TD pass from Jameis to skinny Kelvin Benjamin. Remember when he was skinny? What a monster he was. That team was awesome. Devonta Freeman at RB, Kelvin Benjamin and Rashad Greene paired with Nick “No Gloves” O’Leary at TE. What a team. What a season. It all doesn’t happen without Bobby Bowden.
He took a team that was a combined 4-29 the three years prior to his arrival and turned them into a perennial powerhouse football program. Thank god I didn’t have to deal with the bad years but I thank my grandfather for knowing a good football coach and a good man when he saw one. You can take my word for it but who’s better to listen to on the matter than my co worker and former player for Bobby Bowden, COACH PRIME aka Deion Sanders.
Every time I’ve heard Coach Prime speak about Bobby Bowden it’s nothing but the upmost love and respect. I think a true test of the quality of a coach’s character is the way his players talk/feel about him and on all accounts his players absolutely adore him. The news of his terminal illness is tragic and heartbreaking but at 91 what a life he’s lived. He’s accomplished more than many could even dream of and he did it with respect and class. I love that man for being the reason I was introduced to my favorite thing on this planet, college football. Doing college football talk shows and content is a dream come true for me and it would have never happened without the legend Bobby Bowden. I’m gonna have to pour a drink this week with my father and celebrate the amazing life that Bobby Bowden has lived while he’s still here. God bless him and his family. Hopefully Florida State can get back to where they belong. The place that Coach Bowden built them up to be.