Petrino Should Bench the Bike

Apr 03, 2012 -- 7:03pm      Foll Tommy on Twitter:  @TommyCraft_ESPN

It’s simply the smartest business decision for all parties - Coach Petrino’s motorcycle riding days need to be put on hold.

This is not an anti-motorcycle rant or me just having a curmudgeon point of view, this is about the business of Razorback Football. 

Put yourself in Jeff Long’s seat and let the thought of Razorback Football without Bobby Petrino wash over you for a few minutes, then decide if you want the most important employee in your department riding a motorcycle.

During that hour of uncertainty on Monday morning after we learned of Coach Petrino’s Sunday Night accident, no one knew for sure what his condition was at that time.  Your mind was only left to ponder the different scenarios, from the best case of bumps and bruises, to the absolute worst case.   

From a fans perspective, how much would your “number” have changed, wins and losses for next year, if Petrino’s accident had been more severe and left him unable to coach next season?  Would you still have the same confidence in the team without the head coach?  Of course not, and that’s the whole point of this essay.  Bobby Petrino’s presence, preparation, and play-calling is worth at least 2-3 wins per season in most of our minds, and that’s the difference in millions per year to the University.

If you’re Jeff Long, Bobby Petrino is the single biggest asset you have in your department.  His confidence, cool demeanor, and ability to prepare his team has given you the ability to sale out your stadium repeatedly, increase your merchandise sales, improve your overall brand nationally, and generally make your program relevant on a national stage for the most extended period since Arkansas joined the SEC.  If you’re Jeff Long, your success as Athletic Director depends on Bobby Petrino and you need him to coach at this same level for a long time. 

Stipulations in high-profile athletes and coach’s contracts are not uncommon and when you are paying a coach more than $3.5 million per year, you should make certain demands about their activities and hobbies in order to keep your investment safe.   Coach Petrino’s personal health should always come ahead of wins and losses, but should specific risks be taken when your ability to carry out your job duties has so much at stake?

At the end of the day, this is simply a decision between an employer, Jeff Long, and a very high-profile, revenue bearing, makes things happen employee, Bobby Petrino. 

My best guess, Bobby Petrino will probably ride again, let’s just hope he uses a helmet as an extra layer of protection for that stubborn, hard head we have all come to enjoy roaring up and down our sidelines.


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