Jay Paterno: From Penn St. Sidelines To Senate?

Long the target for criticisms of incompetence and nepotism, Penn State quarterbacks coach Jay Paterno (the son, obviously, of famous zombie Joe Paterno) came into his own in 2008 as one of the minds behind Penn State’s new “Spread HD” offense, a term that still might not mean a damn thing. The offense easily led the Big Ten in production, and the Nittany Lions were one last-second field goal away from likely playing for a national title.

Jay Paterno Drawering
(Boy, when I saw him work that overhead projector, I thought, “wow, this guy’s going places.”)

Moreover, “JayPa” also made waves by actively campaigning for Barack Obama, who we’re told is the “president” of the country now (never heard of that term before, weird). He even published blog entries on Obama’s website during the “work day,” which gave people an excuse to engage in phony outrage (“why aren’t you coaching?!?!?” etc., etc.). And now as he’s begun giving speeches to Democrats and journalists, the PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS’s John Baer wonders, is a career in politics in the works?

“I’ve always had a real deep interest in politics,” Jay tells [Baer], “and last year, when I was going around speaking for Obama, lots of folks would ask whether I’d ever run for anything.”

In April, he spoke at the Blair County Democratic Dinner, though he says that he wasn’t partisan. He talked about “the challenges we face in this country.”

Oh, God. “I’m not partisan” and “the challenges we face” are dead giveaways that he’s going to start politicking. It’s in like Chapter 2* of “How To Start A Political Career.” Get ready for it, Pennsylvania.

For what it’s worth, this would be far from the Paterno family’s first entry into the political realm. JoePa was a (rather) famous Republican back before the zombies bit him and turned him into an undead terrormonster; he even gave the seconding speech at George H.W. Bush’s nomination 21 years ago. Further, Jay’s younger brother, Scott Paterno, ran for Congress as a Republican in 2004. That did not end very well.

Perhaps JayPa’s pre-nascent career will be different. His liberal leanings could help in a state trending bluer, but really, it’s all about how good a politician is in relation to his or her opponent. We just hope he makes a move while his old man’s still around; going against old peoples’ political leanings always makes for hilariously unpleasant evenings at the dinner table.

*Chapter 1, if you were curious, is “You Don’t Have to Be a White Man… But It Really, Really Helps.”