When Steve Spurrier first arrived at Florida in 1990 and unleashed the Fun ‘n’ Gun on the run-dominated Southeastern Conference, he quickly became the most reviled head coach in the conference.
Fans and members of the media (outside of Florida), felt the same way about the Spur Dog. They thought he was cocky, they thought he was arrogant, they thought his offense would never fly, and they were certain that this brash, confident visor-wearer would be put in his place soon enough.
That didn’t happen, of course. Spurrier changed the way football was played in the SEC. His offense worked, so did his cocky, confident approach. And over the course of the many years (and many SEC championships), something somewhat strange happened. Fans and members of the media started liking Steve Spurrier. His honestly was refreshing. His confidence was admired.
Now, 21 years later, the grandfatherly Spurrier is easily the most-liked coach in the SEC. The media loves him now. Writers and broadcasters were almost giddy as they gathered around Spurrier at the SEC meetings on Wednesday afternoon, because it was obvious Spurrier had something to say. One writer even said to Spurrier, “Give me something good.”
And, of course, he did. Spurrier told us that he’d just proposed to the SEC that schools start paying football players $300 per game. Spurrier said he and six other coaches agreed the money would come from them if the proposal passes, which, of course, it won’t.
The SEC is not going to start paying players money — even (actually, especially) if it’s coming from the coaches.
But the fact it’s going to fail doesn’t matter. Spurrier gave everyone a story on a slow Wednesday. And he made many new friends in the SEC at the same time — the players at all 12 SEC schools. Those guys are going to love Spurrier for sticking up for them.
Steve Spurrier is the most popular guy in the SEC at the moment. Who could have imagined this happening 21 years ago?