Naturally, the second Greg Paulus announced he would be coming to Syracuse to compete for the starting quarterback position, naysayers climbed up onto their perches and commenced naysaying.
Now, I'll be the first to admit that this entire situation may very well be blown out of proportion. Greg Paulus might very well never play a down for Syracuse. He might play for Syracuse and stink. He might play for Syracuse and rewrite all of the passing records. Honestly, no one, including Doug Marrone, has any clue.
But the distraction thing kinda rankles me, I have to say. Distraction from what? Our 10-37 record over the past four seasons? GREAT! I welcome a distraction from that any day.
Believe me, no sane Syracuse fan is looking at Greg Paulus as our savior...that's Doug's job. No one expects Syracuse to win the Big East title this season thanks to Greg's contributions. All Syracuse fans can do is hope that Paulus' arm hasn't atrophied from all that flopping and is good enough to make the delay of the The Ryan Nassib Era worthwhile. And worst case, if he's not good enough to supplant Nassib, he's a warm body on the sideline holding a clipboard which, last time I checked, we didn't exactly have a long list of.
There is one thing that I have taken notice of in the brief time Greg's path and ours have meshed. I wouldn't exactly say it bothers me but it certainly gave me pause. And that is...did you notice The Greg Paulus Media Blitz that took place on the day he announced? Just how in the hell did he get that together and what would compel him to do a Brett Favrian media tour like that?
If you ask Bud Poliquin, Greg Paulus the most humble human being to ever walk the face of the Earth and if he and Jesus Christ faced off in a Humble-Off, Greg would mop the floor with Christ's face. If that's so, why did he feel the need to hold a press conference to make his announcement and then appear in the Dan Patrick Show, Brent Axe's radio show and multiple other outlets. Couple that with his appearance on PTI a few weeks back as well. The last thing I would characterize Greg Paulus as is humble after a media blitz like that.
Now, I'm not saying he's a bad guy for doing it. He's certainly savvy in the ways of controlling the message. There's a reason this guy wants to go to grad school at Newhouse after all. And therein lies the answer.
Greg Paulus has a goal. It's the same goal he's had since he was in high school. In fact it's less a goal than a destiny. A God-given right. Greg Paulus, one way or another, is going to be famous.
This is the point where I mention that all of this is my opinion and conjecture. I do not know Greg Paulus and I did not speak with him during his media tour the other day (I had bigger fish to fry, ahem). I'm just speculatin' here.
Greg Paulus was the quarterback at his high school. But more than that, Greg Paulus was the starting quarterback. But more than that he was the starting quarterback for the #1 high school team in his area. But more than that he was arguably the best quarterback in the nation. But more than that he was also a star basketball player.
Greg Paulus was a Golden God. He was probably told from an early age that he was destined for greatness. He had older brothers who had achieved good things, but not the success that Greg was being told awaited him. It wasn't a matter of how Greg Paulus would be famous, just a matter of details. There was absolutely no doubt that he would one day be a superstar of sport...and probably more.
The Plan, as I would assume exists, be it subconsciously or not, was simple. Option A was for Greg to play basketball for Duke and eventually in the NBA. Option B would have landed Greg at one of the top football programs in the nation, where he would hone his skills en route to NFL QB infamy. Option C, which existed as an unlikely failsafe in the event his college and pro career didn't pan out, would be to prepare for a career as a broadcaster and/or sports media expert on TV. Greg chose Option A.
And as we know, Option A worked for a while. But in the end, Option A fizzled out. There would be no spot in the NBA Lottery for Greg this year. Sure, there was the opportunity of a career in Europe, or, if he wanted to follow in the footsteps of other Duke guards before him, a spot on Coach K's bench was probably. But neither of those outcomes finish with Greg attaining the status promised by so many advisors, friends and fans.
And so, Option B. Football. But there's a snag in Option B now. For Option B to work to it's fullest potential, it had to enacted four years ago. Had it been, Greg would have likely had at least three seasons at the helm of a major college program, less if he was good enough to leave early. Do you know how much the first pick in the draft makes before he even puts on a uniform? Ungodly money and even more attention.
But now, Greg's just going for a chance to play on a team that hasn't won more than 4 games in as many seasons. Even if he fulfills the highest hopes of Syracuse fans, the likelihood he'll walk away with a national title and Heisman Trophy seem...iffy.
So he's gonna need a back-up plan. Hello, Option C. The Newhouse School of Communications. The #1 communications school in the nation, home to some of the finest sports broadcasters working today...and Bob Costas. If Paulus can hone his skills here, pro career or not, he'll be a commodity when he finally graduates. A notable two-sports college athlete with media training. ESPN will snap him up in a heartbeat.
So in the meantime, Greg is learning how to be media savvy. He's making relationships with the Dan Patricks and Tony Kornheisers of the world. He's already building the Greg Paulus Brand. However that brand reaches it's ultimate, foreseen goal, be it through Option B or Option C, he will already be one step ahead.
I know I'm making him sound like this cold, calculated mediawhore. That's not what I mean exactly. I just think that Paulus' agenda is not an altruistic "I just wanna help Syracuse win" one. And that's okay. He's a mercenary. No different than a professional free agent brought in by a franchise to help move tickets and win more games. If we stop kidding ourselves long enough, we'll see that college football is as much a business as pro football. Might as well take advantage of that.
So don't worry about Greg Paulus. If the football "experiment" fails, the back-up plan is in effect. He'll be fine. Clearly, he's got the TV and radio thing down. And he's not using Syracuse anymore than Syracuse is using him. It's a symbiotic relationship, he needs us and we (hope) we need him.
Hey, whatever gets both of us back on the road to where we're supposed to be.