Falcon's Coach Petrino Leaves NFL for College Ball A difficult year for the Atlanta Falcons turned worse when Bobby Petrino resigned as head coach just after 13 games with the team. Then, hours later, Petrino resurfaced as head coach of college football's Arkansas Razorbacks.

Falcon's Coach Petrino Leaves NFL for College Ball

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Apparently, 10 losses this season were enough for the coach of the Atlanta Falcons. Bobby Petrino did not wait for the end of the year to quit his job; the best thing you could say about his team is that at three and ten, they did not have the league's worst record, which is one of the reasons we've called Bill Curry. He's a former NFL player and ESPN analyst, occasional guest in this program. Good morning once again.

Mr. BILL CURRY (Football Analyst, ESPN): Good morning, Steve.

INSKEEP: So why give up? There were still three games ahead of the Miami Dolphins.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. CURRY: You see, I think your perspective might be a really healthy thing for a lot of football coaches. If you can look at it in a reasonable way, then maybe you don't lose your cool. But, unfortunately, most of us can't see it that way, and people that are driven competitors make snap decisions sometimes. And, I think, maybe that's what happened here.

INSKEEP: And I suppose we should mention it's been a very difficult season for many reasons for the Atlanta Falcons, not least of which that their star quarterback Michael Vick ended up in court and then convicted rather than on the field.

Mr. CURRY: And the sentence came down the very day of the Monday night football debacle, which happened to be the day that Bobby Petrino addressed his squad afterward - and this is based on remarks by Brian Finneran, one of the very responsible players on the team - and said to the players after the Monday night fiasco, look, we got to stick together, we're going to finish this together somehow, and apparently went and signed the contract the same evening. Now, think about the fact that a little less than a year ago, owner Arthur Blank based his franchise essentially on two men - Michael Vick, Bobby Petrino.

INSKEEP: And now they're both gone. Well, now, in that Monday night game, Petrino tried one more quarterback. He's tried several and this is a fellow named Chris Redman, who, even though they lost the game, this man seems to have a remarkable story.

Mr. CURRY: It is a remarkable story and it's the kind of thing that Americans love. I'm reminded of Kurt Warner who's still playing in the league, but he was sacking groceries somewhere and then got a call from the St. Louis Rams and ended up leading them to the Super Bowl. And the Chris Redmans of this world that just stay in shape and continue to keep their skills alive and then come out of the business world from selling insurance to start on Monday night football; that's the stuff Americans dream often. And I don't know Chris, but I'm proud of him for keeping his dream alive and I think that's what it says to us.

INSKEEP: Although, of course, we have this situation where they lost the game, as they've lost so many, which races another question, and I don't know if you've ever had this - anything close to this experience, but what do you do -what are you supposed to do when you're a professional, the losing season is locked in, the coach is gone, the quarterback's a convict, and you still got to play again?

Mr. CURRY: Well, here's what to do, and we've all been through it - virtually all of us who played for a long time went through scenarios somewhat like this. This is not a brand new thing for these kinds of disasters to happen to a franchise. You're a professional, you're being paid, you have a contract. And in the case of today's athletes, these guys make enormous amounts of money. You go out and do your job with all your heart every day. It doesn't matter what anybody else does if you're a real professional. You watch him play and you watch the guys that play right there, and that's what you're supposed to do.

INSKEEP: You don't quit even if it's the end of the season?

Mr. CURRY: You don't quit, I mean, you got your - you earned your spurs, you're playing at the highest level in your sport, probably in the history of the sport. You don't give up because of a record or because somebody else made a mistake; that's incredibly immature. But there are people who think that way and they just assume that will happen.

INSKEEP: Well, we'll see which way the Atlanta Falcons go with the final games of the season.

Bill Curry, good to talk with you once again.

Mr. CURRY: Great talking with you, Steve.

INSKEEP: He's an analyst with ESPN.

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