Posted by Adam Jacobi
Football fans like to boo. It's in their nature, and it's something that's borne out in the stands of nearly every college football stadium every fall (IMPORTANT EXCEPTION: universities with Top 20 law schools. Stanford, Michigan, Duke... yes, they'd just never). Football is such a full-throttle expression of physical potential that as we watch it, our emotions follow those same extremes. Sure, people boo at baseball games, but it's far less, well, lusty, and baseball players never get the sense that they may attacked and killed by fans. Football, though--how there's never been an all-out prison-style riot at a football game is just mind-boggling.
So when a team makes the token effort to discourage booing, usually with posted reminders and maybe a pre-game announcement about sponsorship, the concern is noted and then immediately discarded and set ablaze the first time the home team gets called for pass interference. It's football; we ignore politeness. Boooooooo.
Ah, but when the cry for fans' sportsmanship comes from demi-god Nick Saban? That gets noticed awfully quick:
"Our football program and our stadium is probably the largest window that anyone looks at in the state of Alabama and maybe the University of Alabama," he said. "And I just don't think there's any place for booing anywhere in college football, and that includes booing the other team. ..."
Penn State "is a class program with class people that have been there for 45 years and done wonderful things for college football, the game of football, and a lot of people over a 45-year period," Saban continued. "And I think it would be a (bleep) crying-(bleep) shame if we booed 'em when they come into the stadium like we did last week's team. I just don't understand that."
Saban's concern is meritous, to be sure, and the best way to express dominance has always been through the power of setting an example, not following one.
And yet, Saban's never tailgated 3/4 of the way to blindness and then sat in stands, unable to directly communicate with that jerk of a ref who just called another phantom hold and whose side is he on anyway, hey? So Saban's asking favors of people whose situation he's somewhat unfamiliar with, and that's a tenuous proposition at best. Perhaps the fans obey Saban's wishes and don't boo JoePa and his charges before the game. Perhaps. But man, if those Nittany Lions actually win down there this weekend....