What happened to college football in the Northeast? | Page 3 | Syracusefan.com

What happened to college football in the Northeast?

javadoc

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Long story long: a family was moving from Conn. to Houston. The realtor asked which sport the kids played. The parents asked why? Because that would influence the school choice. If they were going to play FB, the coach would identify them by 5th grade as Varsity material.
(The kids were tennis players, so that was how the realtor chose the district.)
The parents and coaches in the Milton feeder program are in contact with families around the country. Folks move here to get their kids into the development program of their choice, and not just local U-haul moves.
 

sufandu

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Back in the 50's I was an Air Force brat living on Barksdale AFB in Bossier City, LA. Organized scholastic football and basketball started in the 5th grade. We played football in full pads. That's part of it.

In the Northeast you don't have the big state programs save PSU. That's what happened.
Yeah, as football became big business and the Harvard's and Yales that had been powers maintained their academic focus while letting sports stay in their proper place, the northeast began its fade. New York not investing in sports at the university level the way other states did left it behind. And now they lack tradition that they'll likely never have that's needed to be considered a real player.
 

sufandu

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Having lived substantially in both the north and south, I can also point out that in the north, kids play several sports. In the south, kids pick a sport (or dad pucks a sport) and the kid sticks with it year round, year in and year out. Few are multi-sport athletes in the south, most coaches forbid it. Off season workouts and the seasons manage to take up about 10 months per year.
And that's why we can say hello to youth overuse injuries and burnout. It's a shame that kids sports can't just be for fun anymore.
 
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Everything everyone is saying is true.
  • There is more time and more emphasis on youth and secondary football in the south.
  • Rural areas that have no professional rooting interest find their fandom in the high school and college teams nearby.
  • Since football is not embedded into the mindset of those in the Northeast from birth, the CTE stuff becomes more troublesome and it's easier to choose other sports.
But, I think it's also important to look at the outlier in the Northeast, not the norm. That outlier is Penn State. Yes, it's more rural than Rutgers, Pitt, BC, and even Syracuse - but it's still quite close (closer in fact) to NFL teams than SU is.

The difference is JoePa. I don't like the dude and anything that he stands for, but his rise started in 1966 and stayed pretty much unmatched until his horrific and disgusting downfall in 2011. He is the SOLE reason Penn State football is what it is. His winning, and his cult of personality centered around "doing it the right way" enveloped the entire university and region.

A quote from James Franklin stood out in that article. He said:

"If you want to win at the very highest level, there's really not one area that you can say, well, we don't have to compete in that area. You have to compete in every area -- facilities, recruiting, coaching salaries, staff size. Every single area. You have to be willing to roll your sleeves up and fight in every area."

While SU went through Schwartzwalder, Maloney, Coach Mac, Coach P., Greg Robinson, and then Doug Marrone, Penn State had one singular driving force: Joe Paterno. He eclipsed everyone at Penn State. Anything he needed, he got. He was the institution.

Despite all the things happening around the Northeast at that time as the populace gravitated slowly away from college football, JoePa wielded unrivaled power, and through that power created an empire that survived the sea change.

SU was lucky that it invested in the dome, and then had a run of two very solid coaches in the 80s and 90s. The rotting foundation went unnoticed and the coaches didn't exert or have enough political will to get the university to invest significantly in the product. They didn't do everything on every level as Franklin alludes to above. JoePa did.

There are certainly parallels to be explored between Paterno's force of will and Coach Boeheim's on the basketball side. In the end though, while I hate JoePa with every ounce of my being, he is the architect of Penn State's rabid following and continued relevance in college football. In an alternate universe he would have been fired in 1969 and the Penn State we know today would not exist.
 

elimunelson

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Everything everyone is saying is true.
  • There is more time and more emphasis on youth and secondary football in the south.
  • Rural areas that have no professional rooting interest find their fandom in the high school and college teams nearby.
  • Since football is not embedded into the mindset of those in the Northeast from birth, the CTE stuff becomes more troublesome and it's easier to choose other sports.
But, I think it's also important to look at the outlier in the Northeast, not the norm. That outlier is Penn State. Yes, it's more rural than Rutgers, Pitt, BC, and even Syracuse - but it's still quite close (closer in fact) to NFL teams than SU is.

The difference is JoePa. I don't like the dude and anything that he stands for, but his rise started in 1966 and stayed pretty much unmatched until his horrific and disgusting downfall in 2011. He is the SOLE reason Penn State football is what it is. His winning, and his cult of personality centered around "doing it the right way" enveloped the entire university and region.

A quote from James Franklin stood out in that article. He said:

"If you want to win at the very highest level, there's really not one area that you can say, well, we don't have to compete in that area. You have to compete in every area -- facilities, recruiting, coaching salaries, staff size. Every single area. You have to be willing to roll your sleeves up and fight in every area."

While SU went through Schwartzwalder, Maloney, Coach Mac, Coach P., Greg Robinson, and then Doug Marrone, Penn State had one singular driving force: Joe Paterno. He eclipsed everyone at Penn State. Anything he needed, he got. He was the institution.

Despite all the things happening around the Northeast at that time as the populace gravitated slowly away from college football, JoePa wielded unrivaled power, and through that power created an empire that survived the sea change.

SU was lucky that it invested in the dome, and then had a run of two very solid coaches in the 80s and 90s. The rotting foundation went unnoticed and the coaches didn't exert or have enough political will to get the university to invest significantly in the product. They didn't do everything on every level as Franklin alludes to above. JoePa did.

There are certainly parallels to be explored between Paterno's force of will and Coach Boeheim's on the basketball side. In the end though, while I hate JoePa with every ounce of my being, he is the architect of Penn State's rabid following and continued relevance in college football. In an alternate universe he would have been fired in 1969 and the Penn State we know today would not exist.

Or, in a more interesting sliding door scenario, Paterno takes over the Patriots in 1973.

I agree with you on the Paterno/Penn St dominance. He was Penn St football and was a damn good coach. The ending was horrific but he built that empire and it's sustained itself since his departure to some degree of success.

Syracuse football had their Paterno which was Mac but he actually took the Patriots job. He had the singular attention seeking attitude/persona to keep Syracuse relevant had he stayed through the 90s. P was a good coach (great some would say) but lacked the singular notoriety gene that the great football coaches have to make their program a national brand. Bowden, Paterno, Bo, etc. These guys were great at creating an image for their programs. I think Mac could have done that if he stayed.

1973: New England Patriots


Joe Paterno reportedly accepted the job as New England head coach and general manager before having second thoughts. In a syndicated column in the Patriot-News from 1973, is was reported that Paterno turned down a $1.3 million contract - more than $200,000 a year - to stay at Penn State. He was given a raise from $32,000 to $33,500 for his loyalty. "I feel better about the decision every day," he told Bob Oates of the Los Angeles Times. "The Penn State job, the university and the town are just right for me." When asked if he said it was true that he said nobody is worth $1 million, he replied. "I think I said no football coach is worth $1 million."
 

0.2 YNdeeR

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Everything everyone is saying is true.
  • There is more time and more emphasis on youth and secondary football in the south.
  • Rural areas that have no professional rooting interest find their fandom in the high school and college teams nearby.
  • Since football is not embedded into the mindset of those in the Northeast from birth, the CTE stuff becomes more troublesome and it's easier to choose other sports.
But, I think it's also important to look at the outlier in the Northeast, not the norm. That outlier is Penn State. Yes, it's more rural than Rutgers, Pitt, BC, and even Syracuse - but it's still quite close (closer in fact) to NFL teams than SU is.

The difference is JoePa. I don't like the dude and anything that he stands for, but his rise started in 1966 and stayed pretty much unmatched until his horrific and disgusting downfall in 2011. He is the SOLE reason Penn State football is what it is. His winning, and his cult of personality centered around "doing it the right way" enveloped the entire university and region.

A quote from James Franklin stood out in that article. He said:

"If you want to win at the very highest level, there's really not one area that you can say, well, we don't have to compete in that area. You have to compete in every area -- facilities, recruiting, coaching salaries, staff size. Every single area. You have to be willing to roll your sleeves up and fight in every area."

While SU went through Schwartzwalder, Maloney, Coach Mac, Coach P., Greg Robinson, and then Doug Marrone, Penn State had one singular driving force: Joe Paterno. He eclipsed everyone at Penn State. Anything he needed, he got. He was the institution.

Despite all the things happening around the Northeast at that time as the populace gravitated slowly away from college football, JoePa wielded unrivaled power, and through that power created an empire that survived the sea change.

SU was lucky that it invested in the dome, and then had a run of two very solid coaches in the 80s and 90s. The rotting foundation went unnoticed and the coaches didn't exert or have enough political will to get the university to invest significantly in the product. They didn't do everything on every level as Franklin alludes to above. JoePa did.

There are certainly parallels to be explored between Paterno's force of will and Coach Boeheim's on the basketball side. In the end though, while I hate JoePa with every ounce of my being, he is the architect of Penn State's rabid following and continued relevance in college football. In an alternate universe he would have been fired in 1969 and the Penn State we know today would not exist.
No doubt JoPa was revered in Pa and had outsize influence in college sports. The question I have is why? What factors in the social environment in central Pa fed his rise and permitted the weird ascension of the program? Why would a fanbase elevate a coach to a level where the personnel and facilities of their state university FB team could be transformed, right under their noses, into a platform for mass-scale child molestation . . . not just for a month or a year, but for decades? How could the entire leadership structure of the institution look the other way? And what kind of psychosis still enables many in the PSU community to pretend this never happened?

Answers to these questions remain elusive . . . population demographics, dearth of non-sport cultural opportunities, economic despair, lack of education, machismo? Whatever the reason, it is clear that, no matter what savvy moves JoPa made to guide the program, there is something seriously evil in the PSU 'mentality'. And as this thread demonstrates, there is a connection between PSU and similar malignancies in the South.
 
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721Comstock

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It grows on you. Plus, no commercials!

Football is brutal to watch after soccer. So many breaks and stoppages, commercials, etc. slooooow. And less game action. Soccer is 2 hours long with 90 min of actual players, football is 3-4 hours with 45 min of actual action

actual action!

 
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SWC75

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- Firstly, let's not turn JoePa in a heroic visionary. There were proposals for an Eastern football conference for years before Joe's and he always said "No!" Why? "Because it wouldn't be good for Penn State." There were rumors of a national super conference of the top schools even then he didn't want Penn State dragged down by being through of as an 'eastern' team. When the Lions won a big intersectional game, he would always be asked if this "stuck a blow for eastern prestige" and he would respond by saying that "we don't think of ourselves as an eastern team. We think of ourselves as Penn State." Then the momentum for a national super-conference died down and he became athletic directors. Now he had to figure a way to pump up the basketball program's revenues. The opponents he dominated in football had formed the Big East basketball conference and were making big money off of that, (thank you, ESPN). He basically demanded to be let into the Big East but the basketball onlies turned him down. That's when he came up with his own plan for an eastern football conference and again basically demanded that State's traditional football rivals leave the Big East and joined the Paterno conference - for all sports. When they turned him down, that's when he demanded a 2 out of 3 set up where Penn State would get two home games and the rivals one, to make up for State's lack of basketball revenue. When that got turned down he contacted the Big Ten.

- Football started in the northeast, then spread in stages to the rest of the country over several decades. It became a national sport only in the 20's. Eastern schools were still prominent but declined when there was an academic reaction against football. When two platoon football came, the large state universities started to dominate it because they were in a better position to recruit the army of players it required. The eastern schools other than Penn State didn't have to resources or wish to commit them to football in the way the big state schools did.

- The fact that northern high schools play fewer games and, for the most part, don't seem to emphasize the sport as much as they do in the south is certainly a big factor. I think it's less that northern high schools lost interest than it is that high schools in the south turned it into a major source of revenue and they have produced more and more 'finished' players than the north can. I suspect they also force them to specialize in the sport more than is done in the north, (and I agree that that's not really a good thing.) Northern teams try to recruit in the south, but they are getting the southern 'C' listers and occasionally a 'B' lister while the southern schools get the 'A' listers and most of the 'B's.

- They always used to say "Recruit size and strength in the north and speed and agility in the south: northern athletes are indoors 6 months a year - they are going to be lifting weights. Southern athletes are running around outside 12 months a year." And it was true - northern teams then to be big, burly, grind-it-out teams while southern teams ran wide or passed the ball and gang-tackled on defense. But when two platoon football came in and rosters doubled in size, you could no longer just recruit players from your area who were always aware of your program, (Ben never had a key player who wasn't from New York or an adjacent state). You have to recruit nation-wide for unlimited substitution football. To do that, you have to dazzle recruits when you get them to take a visit. Facilities that were decades old, even if they were sufficient to prepare the team to play, didn't dazzle and the facilities wars began. A major part of it has been fancy weight rooms. Everyone has them now - and everyone has size and strength now. It's like giving everyone a million dollars - a million dollars wouldn't make anyone rich. It would just be a minimum amount needed to survive. it eliminated the north's advantage. The south's advantage - speed and agility - is still there.
 

SU68

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Definitely doesn't help.;

My opinion is that HS football has never taken hold in the Northeast like it has in other areas of the country. With the exception of parts of Pennsylvania.

Kids don't grow up dreaming of playing in big football games for the local HS. Football is not especially cool to play. There isn't much interest in communities for the local HS football programs.

I don't think this is new and I don't think it is ever going to change. Schools in the Northeast are going to have to be good at identifying raw talent and have to rely on recruiting other areas of the country to fill out their rosters.

You need a good coaching staff that is willing to work harder to get the job done, and ideally has the charisma to galvanize the local community (and the whole state) and get them involved and enthusiastic. You need an administration at your college that is committed to football and willing to provide the facilities and staff needed to field competitive teams.

It is hard to get all this in place in the Northeast and ever harder to sustain it. But it is possible and I think there is generally going to be at least one program in the Northeast besides Penn State who will be really successful in a given year.

Just hope most years, that other team is Syracuse.
"My opinion is that HS football has never taken hold in the Northeast like it has in other areas of the country. With the exception of parts of Pennsylvania."
When I was at SU, 64-68, I recall some pretty good HS football in Syracuse. CBA and West Genesee come to mind. Now several schools in CNY don't even play 11-man football any more.
 

The Viking

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- Firstly, let's not turn JoePa in a heroic visionary. There were proposals for an Eastern football conference for years before Joe's and he always said "No!" Why? "Because it wouldn't be good for Penn State." There were rumors of a national super conference of the top schools even then he didn't want Penn State dragged down by being through of as an 'eastern' team. When the Lions won a big intersectional game, he would always be asked if this "stuck a blow for eastern prestige" and he would respond by saying that "we don't think of ourselves as an eastern team. We think of ourselves as Penn State." Then the momentum for a national super-conference died down and he became athletic directors. Now he had to figure a way to pump up the basketball program's revenues. The opponents he dominated in football had formed the Big East basketball conference and were making big money off of that, (thank you, ESPN). He basically demanded to be let into the Big East but the basketball onlies turned him down. That's when he came up with his own plan for an eastern football conference and again basically demanded that State's traditional football rivals leave the Big East and joined the Paterno conference - for all sports. When they turned him down, that's when he demanded a 2 out of 3 set up where Penn State would get two home games and the rivals one, to make up for State's lack of basketball revenue. When that got turned down he contacted the Big Ten.

- Football started in the northeast, then spread in stages to the rest of the country over several decades. It became a national sport only in the 20's. Eastern schools were still prominent but declined when there was an academic reaction against football. When two platoon football came, the large state universities started to dominate it because they were in a better position to recruit the army of players it required. The eastern schools other than Penn State didn't have to resources or wish to commit them to football in the way the big state schools did.

- The fact that northern high schools play fewer games and, for the most part, don't seem to emphasize the sport as much as they do in the south is certainly a big factor. I think it's less that northern high schools lost interest than it is that high schools in the south turned it into a major source of revenue and they have produced more and more 'finished' players than the north can. I suspect they also force them to specialize in the sport more than is done in the north, (and I agree that that's not really a good thing.) Northern teams try to recruit in the south, but they are getting the southern 'C' listers and occasionally a 'B' lister while the southern schools get the 'A' listers and most of the 'B's.

- They always used to say "Recruit size and strength in the north and speed and agility in the south: northern athletes are indoors 6 months a year - they are going to be lifting weights. Southern athletes are running around outside 12 months a year." And it was true - northern teams then to be big, burly, grind-it-out teams while southern teams ran wide or passed the ball and gang-tackled on defense. But when two platoon football came in and rosters doubled in size, you could no longer just recruit players from your area who were always aware of your program, (Ben never had a key player who wasn't from New York or an adjacent state). You have to recruit nation-wide for unlimited substitution football. To do that, you have to dazzle recruits when you get them to take a visit. Facilities that were decades old, even if they were sufficient to prepare the team to play, didn't dazzle and the facilities wars began. A major part of it has been fancy weight rooms. Everyone has them now - and everyone has size and strength now. It's like giving everyone a million dollars - a million dollars wouldn't make anyone rich. It would just be a minimum amount needed to survive. it eliminated the north's advantage. The south's advantage - speed and agility - is still there.
Thanks for the JoePa explanation. I never realized the nuance surrounding his Eastern FB proposal. Consequently it appeared to me SU missed an all-sports chance and lost Penn St to the Big. Thanks for clearing that up.
 

OrangeXtreme

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Thanks for the JoePa explanation. I never realized the nuance surrounding his Eastern FB proposal. Consequently it appeared to me SU missed an all-sports chance and lost Penn St to the Big. Thanks for clearing that up.

JoePa wanted an "All-Sports Conference" where every school would share ticket/concession revenue for hoops and olympic sports, but each school's football program would remain financially independent.

Every time Syracuse sold 20-25,000 tickets to a basketball game, we would be expected to "share the wealth" with the conference. But when PSU sold 110,000 tickets to a football game, Paterno wanted to keep every last nickel.

Easy to see why his idea didn't exactly fly. All for me and none for you.
 

CousCuse

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Penn State is very strong and has had a number if excellent seasons in the last 5 years, they have huge support and are what they always have been. PITT is having great success and won the ACC last year. BC plays as they usually do, tough and smart and are doing what is historically their average. Rutgers has never carried the banner for eastern football, they are the same old Rutgers. Syracuse has fallen into an abyss, if you want to know what ailes eastern football, Syracuse is the answer, sad but true.
 

Stevenson

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Thanks for the JoePa explanation. I never realized the nuance surrounding his Eastern FB proposal. Consequently it appeared to me SU missed an all-sports chance and lost Penn St to the Big. Thanks for clearing that up.
Even if PennState joined an Northeast conference in the 80s, they would have bolted anyway for the Big Ten, just at a later date.
 

SWC75

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JoePa wanted an "All-Sports Conference" where every school would share ticket/concession revenue between schools for hoops and olympic sports, but each school's football program would remain financially independent.

Every time Syracuse sold 20-25,000 tickets to a basketball game, we would be expected to "share the wealth" with the conference. But when PSU sold 110,000 tickets to a football game, Paterno wanted to keep every last nickel.

Easy to see why his idea didn't exactly fly. All for me and none for you.

That would be "good for Penn State".
 

Stevenson

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D1A8AAF1-34D2-4617-82F8-5DC7C938C289.jpeg
This just popped up on twitter.is it accurate?
 

JimBoston

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The Northeast has been wide open for a college team to break out in football. I think most of us thought bringing in Babers and his offense to the Dome would rejuvenate Syracuse football and it really hasn’t happened. There is an opportunity for Syracuse to be a consistent winner if they are able to attract top Northeastern football players, but that is not happening right now.

As for HS football in the Northeast, there are positive signs out there despite the tough demographics. There are now developed 7 on 7 competitions that are happening in the summer. The passing game is becoming more highly developed, but the Northeast does need some better coaches. Look around college football at the decent QBs coming out of CT, NY, NJ, and PA. We have Will Levis at Kentucky, Tyler Van Dyke at Miami, Devin Leary at NC St., Phil Jurkovec at BC, Drew Pyne at Notre Dame,Kenny Pickett at Pitt, Jack Coan at Wisconsin,… Unfortunately, none of them are at Syracuse. Why? Probably the recent record and it seems Babers has never really connected with the local recruiting area.

One more point on HS football. If your HS coach is still running the 3 downs and a cloud of dust offense, you are going to lose kids and fan interest. You need a good coach who will take the talent in your HS and create schemes to help them win.
 

Cusefan78

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If I’m not mistaken in the late 90s early 2000s ny and a lot of the northeast schools started limiting games and practices. I’m guessing this is a big contribution to why northeast players aren’t as developed
 

orangenauburn

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We are 110-156 since 2000. Can't speak for the other schools.
Well Greg accounts for 37 of the 156 in four years.

Still, that averages out to 5-7 over those years.

It has felt like we have been worse than 5-7 for a long long time.
 

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