Published Wednesday, September 18, 2013 at 1:00 am / Updated at 5:12 pm
Bo Pelini's comments
World-Herald editorial: Husker fans hardly 'fair-weather'

Coach Bo Pelini used the f-word. He should be ashamed of himself.

We're not talking about the profane one. That's locker-room talk. It's that other f-word Pelini used in his two-year-old rant that became public Monday: fair-weather.

As in, “Our crowd ... what a bunch of ... fair-weather ...”

Hold on there, coach. You might want to read what's written on the entrances to Memorial Stadium that those folks use: “Through these gates pass the Greatest Fans in College Football.”

Fans who have bought every ticket for every game since 1962. That's a streak fans started five years before Bo Pelini was born.

That's 328 straight sellouts, a record unlikely to ever be beaten. A sellout in 1962 was about 36,500 fans. Today, we're talking nearly 92,000. The university keeps adding seats and Nebraska fans keep coming. When 6,000 seats were added before the 2006 season, there were 15,000 requests for the tickets.

Those are the fans who fill the stadium in searing August heat, September rains, biting October winds, frigid November snows.

Those are fans who applaud the opponents for a game well-played. Fans who remember every play in the classic battles with Oklahoma. Those games didn't always end well for the Big Red, but the red-clad fans kept coming.

Those are fans who have cheered breathtaking victories and suffered through heartbreaking losses. Fans who drive from every corner of the state to make Memorial Stadium the state's third-largest city on Saturdays. Fans who routinely travel to far-away road games — remember all the red that day at Notre Dame? Fans who schedule their weddings around game days.

Pelini's outburst — which ironically came after Nebraska's greatest comeback story ever — included his anger toward this newspaper and its sportswriters. That is not a factor. That is old news. Older than Pelini's tenure. Sportswriters and coaches, newspapers and the public officials they cover, have a history of testy relationships going back to the founding of the nation and its philosophy of a free press.

But the coach's propensity for angry outbursts is troubling nonetheless. To be sure, Pelini has toned down his behavior toward officials, reporters and players on the sideline. Just this week, he said he has looked at himself and found ways to improve. And the recorded comments aired by Deadspin.com do date to 2011.

Still, Pelini created his own image and must work even harder now to show that he has changed. He is the most recognized representative of the University of Nebraska. That carries broad responsibility to represent the institution that belongs to the citizens and taxpayers of Nebraska.

And to the fans.

The fans who pay thousands of dollars to support a program that pays him millions of dollars to serve as its leader. The fans who proudly wear and display the licensed merchandise that also supports the program that employs him.

Fans, Husker fans included, can be hard on coaches. Bob Devaney once said, “I know the fans are with me, win or tie.” The school put up a statue of him. Fans can be demanding and opinionated. They sometimes leave early. But that comes with the territory, whether it's in Lincoln, Ann Arbor, Austin, Baton Rouge, Columbus, Norman, South Bend or Tuscaloosa.

Devoted fans are the reason big-time coaches have big-time jobs with big-time salaries. Fans are the loyal customers. They could spend their hard-earned dollars on a vacation trip. On a fishing boat. On a new deck in the backyard. They choose to spend it on the football program.

Those fans are among the hundreds of thousands of taxpayers in this state who support the University of Nebraska, of which the football team is a part. Without all of them collectively, there is no Cornhusker football program.

Do they know their football? Yes. Do they have high standards? You bet. Have they seen the best teams in the game? Five times. Can they get impatient? Of course. Will they quit on the Huskers? No way.

Because when it comes to fans, there is no place like Nebraska.

Teen killed at Gallagher Park was shot in head as he sat in SUV, friend who was wounded says
When judge asks, Nikko Jenkins says ‘I killed them’
New UNO center strengthens ties between campus, community
Threat found in Millard West bathroom deemed 'not credible'
New public employee pay data: Douglas, Lancaster, Sarpy Counties, plus utilities
Nebrasks health officials to advertise jobs via drive-thru
Coral Walker named Omaha police officer of the year
A recap of what got done — and what didn't — in the 2014 legislative session
'The war is not over,' Chambers says, but legislative session about is
Sarah Palin, Mike Lee coming to Nebraska for Ben Sasse rally
Prescription drug drop-off is April 26
Database: How much did Medicare pay your doctor?
Rather than doing $250K in repairs, owner who lives in lot behind 94-year-old house in Dundee razes it
PAC funded by Senate candidate Ben Sasse's great-uncle releases Shane Osborn attack ad
NB 30th Street lane closed
State Patrol, Omaha police conduct vehicle inspections
Bernie Kanger formally promoted to Omaha fire chief
U.S. House incumbents have deeper pockets than their challengers
Nancy's Almanac, April 17, 2014: Trees save money
Ex-Iowan behind landmark free speech case recounts story in Bellevue
Gov. Heineman signs water bill; sponsor calls it 'landmark legislation'
Senate candidate Shane Osborn to include anti-tax activist Norquist in telephone town hall
Kelly: New $24M UNO center embodies spirit of newlywed crash victim
High school slam poets don't just recite verses, 'they leave their hearts beating on the stage'
Attorney: Man accused of trying to open plane's door needs psychiatric evaluation
< >
COLUMNISTS »
Kelly: Creighton's McDermotts put good faces on an Omaha tradition
A comical roast Wednesday night in Omaha brought fans of Creighton basketball laughter by the bucketful. This time it was McJokes, not McBuckets, that entertained the Bluejay crowd.
Breaking Brad: At least my kid never got stuck inside a claw machine
We need a new rule in Lincoln. If your kid is discovered inside the claw machine at a bowling alley, you are forever barred from being nominated for "Mother of the Year."
Breaking Brad: How many MECA board members can we put in a luxury suite?
As a stunt at the Blue Man Group show, MECA board members are going to see how many people they can stuff into one luxury suite.
Kelly: New $24M UNO center embodies spirit of newlywed crash victim
Jessica Lutton Bedient was killed by a drunken driver at age 26 in 2010. Thursday, the widowed husband and other family members will gather with others at the University of Nebraska at Omaha to dedicate a permanent memorial to Jessica.
Breaking Brad: How much would you pay for a corn dog?
The Arizona Diamondbacks have a new concession item: a $25 corn dog. For that kind of money, it should be stuffed with Bitcoin.
Deadline Deal thumbnail
Dr. Welbes Natural Health Clinic
$129 for 2 LipoLaser Sessions with Additional Complimentary Services ($605 value)
Buy Now
PHOTO GALLERIES »
< >
SPOTLIGHT »
Omaha World-Herald Contests
Enter for a chance to win great prizes.
OWH Store: Buy photos, books and articles
Buy photos, books and articles
Travel Snaps Photo
Going on Vacation? Take the Omaha World-Herald with you and you could the next Travel Snaps winner.
Click here to donate to Goodfellows
The 2011 Goodfellows fund drive provided holiday meals to nearly 5,000 families and their children, and raised more than $500,000 to help families in crisis year round.
WORLD-HERALD ALERTS »
Want to get World-Herald stories sent directly to your home or work computer? Sign up for Omaha.com's News Alerts and you will receive e-mails with the day's top stories.
Can't find what you need? Click here for site map »