Alex Bippus, a communications student at the University Park campus, tracked five Nittany Lion bowl games over 40 years and contrasted the amount of time TV networks focused on Paterno.
"Alex's research is proof positive that Paterno has, in some ways, transcended the sport," said Mike Poorman, founder of the class and a senior lecturer at PSU. "He is as big as the game, if not bigger. And the director's increasing focus on Joe is proof positive."
Bippus watched the entire broadcast of five Penn State bowl games and submitted a
23-minute DVD featuring clips and samples from the contests. An overall look at the study's findings:
* 1970 Orange Bowl: 22 times on camera for JoePa for an average of 10.3 seconds, along with 11 other mentions by the announcers. He made up 2.45 percent of the broadcast.
* 1974 Orange Bowl: 20 times on camera for an average of 10.3 seconds, along with 16 mentions, for a total of 2.56 percent of the broadcast.
* 1983 Sugar Bowl: 37 times on camera for an average of 15.0 seconds, along with 21 mentions, for a total of 4.81 percent of the broadcast.
* 1995 Rose Bowl: 60 times on camera for an average of 10.3 seconds, along with 16 mentions, for a total of 5.98 percent of the broadcast.
* 2006 Orange Bowl: 133 times on camera for an average of 8.2 seconds, along with 51 mentions, for a total of 8.18 percent of the broadcast.
"When Joe started as a head coach, the primary focus was on the game, much more than the star players or most certainly the coach. Now, personalities and story lines are key aspects - if not the No. 1 aspect - of any sports telecast. And Joe is a larger-than-life personality with a story line that gets more compelling each year."
I don't doubt the stats, but I wonder how that compares to other coaches. For instance, I would be surprised if the TV cameras aren't glued to Bobby Bowden in his last bowl game as coach of F$U. And I'm sure Joe gets more TV shots than say the coach at Idaho. But what we don't know is how these numbers compare to other coaches like Urban Meyer, Nick Saban and Pete Carroll.