Let's go back to January 11, 2013. Remember? If not, let Sean remind you:
Before this press conference, I made a joke about how I hope no players actually run through a wall for Shafer. Now? SHOW ME WHERE THIS WALL IS!
Nearly three years and a lot of change. Before anyone tries to hashtag their way into the comments, this is a reminder that ALL OF US wanted Scott Shafer to succeed. ALL OF US want Syracuse football to matter again. ALL OF US want to have Saturdays filled with excitement, happiness and Orange pride, not sadness and excuses to actually do chores. Today was just another reason to feel negatively, not positively.
Somewhere along the way, those memories of happiness shifted from beating Virginia Tech and clinching conference titles resulting in Sean and his mother rushing the field to being OK that a loss to a top five team was within two scores.
And that's OK.
The landscape that makes up College Football has changed exponentially over time. Syracuse, a smaller, private school in the Northeast with a smaller alumni base that can't give tens of millions at a time isn't going to magically turn into Alabama or Notre Dame overnight, if ever. We as a fan base want to win, but most accept that the days of Syracuse being a perennial National Power are over.
So when your fiery head coach calls out the media for being "too negative" after starting 3-0, you've tilted the field against yourself. When you make an enemy out of a media base that is mostly alums who genuinely want success for the program, you're tilting a valuable ally against yourself.
Soctt Shafer came in being everything Syracuse fans wanted in a head coach. He was defensively-minded, had shown a history of building two-star guys into high NFL Draft picks. He led defenses that assisted the Doug Marrone teams that brought the Orange football program back to respectability.
From those days, he had built himself enough forgiveness within the fan base already. Plus he was seen as a down-to-earth, tough guy who understood what Syracuse was all about. Somewhere along the line, he lost sight of some of the most important details. Particularly, the most important results of all: Wins and losses. This happens in life. We all have experienced this in a job at one point or another.
But at the end of the day this is college football. Shafer wanted 3 and 0 ("24 Years!") to be the only story. Now he's 3 and 8 for the second year in a row. That's the story Shafer set Mark Coyle up to read. You can't blame the fairly new Orange athletic director for not wanting to get to the conclusion of said book.
It didn't have to be this way. And I hope that in his next gig, Shafer's story has a much happier ending than this.