It ain't over until the fat lady sings, and the fat lady is belting out right now on your football coaching career. It's a tune we've not heard very often this year - Rocky Top.
UT football has been on a steady decline for the past seven years with you at the helm leading us down the mountain of excellence into the valley of mediocrity. We can rationalize that it's the assistant coodinators, specific players, sloppy fumbles, ill-timed penalties, unfortunate injuries, "spoilled fans", off-field troubles, the weather ... but no matter what, all these things are situations that every football team must deal with. We are not unique in experiencing these things.
The one constant in the recent decline in UT football quality over the last few years is you. You are the one thing that has remained constant on the ever-changing team with endless excuses from year to year as to why we are not performing better. Players change. Assistant coaches change. Injuries happen. But you and your weak leadership style remain the same.
The college football game has changed. It's not like it was back in the day anymore. Your coaching has not adjusted. It's very similar to how UCLA adjusted their offense in the second half to beat us two games ago -- and we adjusted nothing to succeed only in losing.
Don't worry. We're not forgetting your great service in the past. The national championship was great, and recruiting that Manning kid was the crowing glory of your coaching career. But those days have long past.
It's time for things to change for the University of Tennessee football program. Since you have been the one constant factor during the decline, we contend it is you who needs to leave the university and move on. You're not learning from your mistakes, and you're damaging Tennessee's football credibility as well as your legacy with every mediocre season you coach.
We've pleaded in the past to "Fire Phil Fulmer" and see that's gotten us nowhere. Instead of that plea, this year we ask for you to humbly consider retiring at the end of this season. You're taking our football team down with you, and we don't like it. Do the right thing and get off our field. We'll even let you pretend like there's a reason to hold your head high.
I don't know who we will find in the interim, but we do hope that 10-15 years from now we'll be able to say that the great Peyton Manning returned home to the University of Tennessee to be the head football coach. That would be your greatest legacy to us. Please don't make it even harder on him by taking that legacy further into the hole. If you retire now, there's a good chance we can get someone good to replace you. The longer you stay, the harder it is going to be for the new guy to get us back up that mountain.
Please retire. We look forward to hearing this announcement spring of 2009. Please consider it our first wish on the baby's gift registry.
genderist and The Hater