When rumors first started that Bowden had hired a PR firm I thought that it was just another internet rumor. But after the last couple of days I have no doubt in my mind that one has been hired, and they are a good one. In fact I wish FSU would have hired them after the cheating scandal so we would not have took such a beating in the press and on the trail. The PR firm has obviously given out five commandments so far and Bowden and family are following the script. Those five rules (imo) are:
- Shut everyone else up
- Do not bad mouth administration
- Play the age card
- Talk to only who you can convince
- Shift all blame away
We all know that the first couple of days Ann and Terry were in the press and make themselves both targets. Terry was saying that his quote was taking "out of context" which nobody every believes. Ann's comments were even worse, trying to make a victim out of a man who had been made a multi-millionaire for doing his job. Now both of them have been put on stfu. I seriously doubt no reporters tried to get more comments out of either of them, and Ann has shown she has a distinct lack of press savvy, so someone must have told them both to shut up. This decreases the chance of bad press because comments on the situation can now only come from one Bowden.
And that one Bowden has stuck to the script. Yesterday Bowden, the same coach who barely calls recruits, did two radio interviews in the Atlanta area. Why Atlanta you ask? Because it is one of the two biggest concentrated areas of FSU big money boosters. Today Bowden has interviews airing on ESPN as well. All of these interviews are softball interviews where Bobby can stay on message. First he keeps saying that the only reason he is getting pressured is because he is old. This is a hope to play the victim and become a symbol for any FSU booster who thinks the people at his job believe he can no longer get the job done. Bobby isn't a bad coach, he is a figure fighting on behalf of the old.
Bobby also has been saying everywhere that he does not call plays or coach players. He says he only puts out fires and that all head coaches do this. This is designed to completely shift blame off of himself. As an added bonus, this puts blame on the person who would become head coach if he is fired. Basically he is telling boosters to blame it all on Jimbo. This is completely ignoring that he has had the power to fire assistants for years but the same coaches are still around.
By using these arguments and media outlets Bobby has picked out an audience and is working to convince them. It is like a trial lawyer tailoring his defense to convince one juror that a reasonable doubt exists. You don't need everyone on your side, just enough to get what you want. So Bobby has given up on convincing the smart fan that he needs to stay. He doesn't actually give one single reason why he should still be around. He doesn't cite improvements made by the team. He doesn't even say they were one play here or there away like he used to. Because smart fans rip that apart. He tugs on the heart strings of the casual fan and promises that next year is the year in hopes of them getting behind him again.
One thing he did on ESPN today that he didn't do on the radio interview I heard has me wondering if it is a new wrinkle. Bowden said he was always told he could come back next year by FSU. What that implies is that if FSU were to try and force them out they would be lying to an old man who had done so much for them. The very picture of ingratitude.
This is the very reason why people need to speak out on the internet, email anyone they can at FSU, and wear black at games. Because we who want Bowden gone are working against a man with a lot of resources and significant media backing. If FSU were to go on a run and finish with 7 or maybe even 6 wins the Bowden PR machine might have a chance to turn things around in the minds of the casual fans. The die hards need to do whatever possible to keep in the administrations mind that we are done with the Bowden era.