Ann Bowden to FSU: You Need Us, We Don't Need You

Though there was a time this fall when I was so worried about Bobby Bowden's coaching future as to be worried about his health, those tensions seem to have been worked out by time. Or, well, they had: Today, the Florida Today has quotes from Ann Bowden, Bobby's wife of 60 years, that seem to suggest that it is Florida State, and not the house of Bowden, that needs to tread carefully. ↵
↵⇥The uncertainty irks Ann Bowden.⇥ ↵⇥

↵⇥"Years ago," she said of her husband, "I said 80 is probably a good year to cut it off. But he was going great, had a legacy going and everything. And then, we (the Seminoles) took that downturn. I said, 'Look, if you want to stay on and try to get that back . . . His quarterback's going to be a senior next year, and he wants to be there for his senior year. That's only right. And all those young kids are going to be a year older.⇥ ↵⇥

↵⇥

↵⇥"He's planning on another year."⇥ ↵⇥

↵⇥

↵⇥If FSU doesn't give it to him, she says, "You know, we don't need the university as much as they need us -- as much as they need him and his connections and reputation and everything. If they want to pull that trick, we'll just shake the dirt off our feet and go to Europe or go on a long cruise or something."⇥ ↵⇥

↵
↵

↵Those quotes transcend the normal "We mean a lot to this community" pleadings of coaches' families, mostly because Bowden is no average coach. Strategically, this seems more like an end run for undecided potentates in the Seminole universe, a signal to Bowden loyalists to start pressuring buddies to keep him around for another year by threatening to slow the flow of donations; it's another response to the clamor that came earlier this year, and a more pointed one. ↵

↵

↵Or, if we ignore the politics involved, this could just be a proposal for a move that makes sense for all sides involved. ↵

↵ ↵

↵That quarterback Ann Bowden mentions is Christian Ponder, who has been the lone bright spot for FSU at times this season before separating his shoulder against Clemson. And Ponder would be honored to be Bowden's last field general: "To be the quarterback for his last season would definitely be special. Hopefully, we'd be able to send him out on the right note. I think that would definitely be some motivation for us." ↵

↵

↵Ponder's the best player -- if not the most naturally talented one -- Bowden would have next year. Though he's the sort of savvy player unlikely to revolt on a team, why risk not being able to combine his leadership with his desire to return Bowden to the mountaintop, one last time? ↵

↵

↵Mickey Andrews' retirement allows for new blood, presumably selected by coach-in-waiting Jimbo Fisher, to try to resuscitate the miserable (108th in FCS in total defense) defense next season. Fisher would get to continue his revival of the offense (19th in FCS in total offense) while Ponder and Bowden finish their careers in the sort of made-for-puff-piece fashion that might actually motivate players. ↵

↵

↵And, if you take a more cynical view, Fisher could be perfectly happy with the program finding a new nadir next year: It would look better for him to soar from rock-bottom to dizzying heights in 2011 by making a great quarterback out of current freshman E.J. Manuel than to extract the team from the mire of mediocrity in 2010 thanks to Ponder's excellence. If Fisher can bide his time for another year, his chances for success and the attendant rewards will grow. ↵

↵

↵For his part, at this point, Bowden is more poker-faced, with a glorified no-comment that seems to discredit his wife's speaking for him. "I've made up my mind on what I want to do," he said. "But I have bosses, too. I wouldn't dare put words in their mouth." ↵

↵

↵But you get the feeling he wants desperately for FSU's trustees to put their trust in his abilities and their team in his hands. I think they should, with the caveat that it is well and truly his final season, so that he can demonstrate the sort of connections and support his wife boasts about by helping make a smooth transition to the Jimbo Fisher regime, and so that he can have one last shot at glory.  ↵

↵

↵And I'm not just saying that as a Florida fan, though beating Bowden in his last game on a field named for him would be ever so sweet... ↵

↵

This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.