August 9, 2021
680 THE FAN, ATLANTA – I am not going to claim to be a Florida State fan. But, Bobby Bowden helped me fall in love with college football.
I remember watching those Thanksgiving weekend knock down, drag out fights that masqueraded as games between the Seminoles and Florida. It was Bowden versus Steve Spurrier. The names who went on to the NFL to have great careers seemed endless.
These games would soon lead to one of these two teams likely playing for the national championship at the end of the season. Would it be the Noles winning it all in the Sugar Bowl? Or would the Gators get their chance to seek revenger, after being beaten in their first meeting?
Who can forget about those contentious meetings between FSU and Miami? The Noles and Hurricanes! It almost immediately brings back memories of those heated competitions. It was the state of Florida against the “State of Miami.” Bragging rights lasted a lifetime in those games.
We got to see him win national titles. He beat Michael Vick, when it seemed like no one had the team that could do that.
The thing that I’ve come to really respect about Bowden as I’ve gotten older, is the genuine respect that people had for him. Usually such bitter rivalries can stick with people forever and they can never get over the vitriol they had for the other side. Bowden had his rivals, but that animosity was left on the field. That’s almost unheard of.
Bowden seemed to be anything but a phony as a person. He proclaimed his Christian faith and lived it. FSU defensive tackles coach/former Bowden player told reporters on Sunday in Tallahassee, that Bowden would tell the team before games that he was about “saving lives.” I took that to mean that he wanted them to be great men, more than just great football players.
Bobby Bowden won games and was Florida State Seminoles Football. More than that, he was a great man.
I never had the chance to meet Coach Bowden in person. I only got second-hand accounts of the man. There never seemed to be a terrible encounter with him. That’s almost impossible to be that genuine of a person, but he seemed to be that person.
People will for sure remember Bowden for the success that he had on the football fields. But he seemed to accomplish what he set out to do. He made people better. That’s the most important characteristic that anyone can have.
Chuck Oliver Show – Anchor/Fill-In Host
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