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Football: Rodgers says Cal should keep Tedford

By Jeff Faraudo
Thursday, November 15th, 2012 at 2:40 pm in Football.

UPDATED

Embattled Cal football coach Jeff Tedford has one of the NFL’s biggest stars in his corner.

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said his former coach deserves to keep his job.

“They would be losing the greatest coach in their history if they make a change,” Rodgers told me Thursday in a phone interview.

The Bears, 3-8, close their season Saturday at Oregon State. Tedford, the winningest coach in school history, is scheduled to meet with Cal athletic director Sandy Barbour on Sunday to discuss his future.

Rodgers, who starred for the Bears in 2003 and ’04, said he and Tedford contributed to the momentum that got Memorial Stadium renovated, and Tedford now deserves the chance to reap the benefits.

“He’s been through a lot, all the stuff they had to go through just to get that stadium finished up,” Rodgers said. “I was a part of bringing that fan base back and take a lot of pride in that.

“I think he deserves an opportunity to recruit to those new facilities.”

Rodgers led the Bears to a 10-2 record in 2004 and the brink of a long-awaited Rose Bowl bid. “I’m still upset about that,” he said.

He remains the most successful of many professional players Tedford’s program has developed, having led Green Bay to a championship in Super Bowl XLV after the 2010 season, then winning league MVP honors a year later.

Rodgers, recruited by Tedford out of Butte Community College in Oroville, said Tedford was a key figure in his development.

“I know personally I owe a lot of my success to him,” he said. “He’s still a close friend. I talk to him in the offseason and look forward to coming to Berkeley every year to visit.”

Rodgers suggested fans should recall where the Cal program was before Tedford took the reins in 2002. The Bears were 1-10 in 2001 and hadn’t had a winning season since 1993.

“I feel for him because I know how much he puts into it. I know how much he cares about the program and the team,” Rodgers said. “Look at his track record. Coming off a 1-10 season in 2001 and taking them where they’ve been.”

Cal went 7-5 in Tedford’s debut season, then won no fewer than eight games in six of the next seven seasons. But the Bears have slipped in recent years, posting a combined record of 15-21 since the start of 2010.

Rodgers said the new facilities — renovated Memorial Stadium and the year-old high-performance training center — finally put Cal on even footing with its conference rivals.

“I’d say give him an opportunity to recruit with the kind of facilities that teams we have in the Pac-12 now,” Rodgers said. “They’ve been talking about the facility at Cal since I was recruited there in the winter of 2002.

“It’s different when you can bring in recurits and show them a 100-yard weight room and the kind of stadium we’ve created now with the (premium-seat) boxes and the fan level up there.”

Rodgers, who threw 43 touchdowns in two seasons at Cal, recalls that time in his life with fondness. “Pretty special,” he called the experience. “Coach has done some amazing things there. He deserves the opportunity.”

Rodgers said he has not talked with Tedford about his job status.

“I wouldn’t. This is not something he’s spending time thinking about,” Rodgers said. “He’s so focused on getting his guys ready and prepared each week.

“Obviously, the whole program’s disappointed they’re not going to a bowl game this year. But he would say he’s really optimistic about next year. I think the picture looks bright and it’s going to be brighter with coach Tedford there.”

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  • BlakeStreetBear

    Ah yes, the great ARodg is piping up in JT’s defense – and how could he not? It was the brilliant JT who “discovered” him at Butte after-all. But I wonder if Aaron as actually watched a Cal game start-to-finish in the last 3 or 4 years. If so, I don’t think he’d be saying the same things. Tedford has a lot of wins, a lot of losses and no Rose Bowl appearances. The same could be said for many Cal coaches.

  • Eric

    I applaud AR for throwing Tedford a bone. And AR is, and has been for several years, the best QB in the NFL. If the Packers make the playoffs with that depleted WR corp, lack of running game, and defensiveinjuries (and I think they will), AR should win the MVP award.

    Doesn’t change my view of Tedford. He needs to go.

  • scottybear

    When last did Aaron Rodgers wear a Cal T-shirt or cap? Always Butte.

  • BlueNGold

    AR’s comments do not surprise me. I would expect him to support JT. And its great to hear someone of his prominence saying good things about Cal (hear that DJax?). But I have to question whether he has been close enough to the program in recent years to see the obvious decline. If he has not, he does not know what impact JT continuing as HC is having on the program and how it contributes to the abysmal performances of the current season.

  • go8ears

    I am scratching my head on this one. What did JF expect AR, who has no stake in the program but only close relationship with JT, to say when asked about whether he should keep his job? Fire him because he sucks?? Come on..

  • daredevilfan

    Go point GoBears, AR’s only play was to back JT. But the irony is, in my opinion JT is a quality human being and so you want to root for him. And we are appreciative of what he did. But now he has let the program backslide to where it almost was before. And there are no signs that he can “re-invent himself” and recruit to the facilities. So the only real choice in today’s “what have you done for me lately” world is to make a big new splash to generate the momentum. So I appreciate him, and I respect him as a person, but I have no qualms saying he absolutely must go.

  • A-Dubble

    Easy for him to say, while playin in the NFL. IF he was in Austin Hinder or Kyle Boehm’s shoes right now I think he’d be singing a different story.

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    “I was a part of bringing that fan base back and take a lot of pride in that.”

    Erin Rogers = MeSean Part 2

  • BlakeStreetBear

    Just read the updated article and this line irks me: “Rodgers, recruited by Tedford out of Butte Community College in Oroville…”

    Tedford got lucky with Rodgers. JT was in Oroville looking at a TE by the name of Garrett Cross and he happened to notice that the QB throwing to Cross looked decent and offered him a scholarship too. Its not like JT went up to Oroville that day with any idea who their QB was, he just wanted to see a CC TE. Tedford and Rodgers both lucked out, but Rodgers has ridden his lucky ticket to the pinnacle of professional success, while JT, well, we know how he has panned out…sigh…

    I guess in the big picture us, the fans, have lucked out too because we now demand excellence, we have a great stadium/facilities upgrade and HOPEFULLY we will have a new and exciting coach to get behind very soon.

    Thank you JT and ARodg for helping us get to this point. But it is time for a new captain at the helm.

  • Juancho

    Agree with ScottyBear. He didn’t wear any Cal gear not once during Super Bowl week, never even mentioned it. You would have thought he went from Butte to the NFL. I don’t care about Rodgers’ opinion. He’s stepping up to repay his old coach, which is what I would expect from a pupil. But it’s pretty obvious he’s just throwing him a bone. When was the last time Rodgers mentioned Cal at all?

    Please folks send your email to the AD so we don’t feel guilty Monday if Tedford is announced to be coming back. The Bear Talk Blog is up to 4 emails to Sandy. Add to this please.

    So far: Juancho, BlakeStreet, 1brsfan, Eric

    athletic.director@berkeley.edu

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    #10

    Nope.

    I just sent one to your AD telling her that I agree with Aaron Rodgers.

    I told her Jeff Tedford sacrificed the best part of his career to coach here and then to stay here. This is not how you pay back one’s loyalty. Have some principals. By firing him, you are teaching the players that principals such as loyalty don’t matter in this life. Keep him.

  • scottybear

    Moren: Get the hell out of here. Nobody cares what you think or say, most importantly Sandy Barbour.

  • Juancho

    Bear Talk Blog emails are at 5. Thanks to our brother Wehofx.

    So far: Juancho, BlakeStreet, 1brsfan, Eric, Wehofx

    Let’s keep making Sandy and her staff tally up the “we need a new coach” email votes. If they announce Tedford is back on Monday we can’t have missed our opportunity to have our voices heard.

    athletic.director@berkeley.edu

  • Woj

    Brief open letter to Sandy Barbour:

    You know the facts – a) Tedford has presided over a terrible graduation rate for players and b) his Win / Loss record has been absymal in the past 5 years.

    So looking towards 2013 season, you have a choice:
    Keep Tedford and do the following:
    - Finish 8th place or worse in the Pac12.
    - Watch a totally undisciplined team
    - Add 1 more loss to 3+ game losing streaks Cal has running with arch rival Stanford, USC, Oregon, Washington! That’s 33% of the conference btw.
    - bring in an average of no more than 30,000 fans per game and assume 10% of those are getting in for free as guests or students
    - Be back in November 2013 in the same scenario you are now. Tedford has 2 years left on his deal, he is a nice guy, blah blah blah bag of excuses

    or….
    - Hire a new coach such as Petrino, Petersen, Gruden, Holmgren, etc. and add 3 win minimum to the team total and huge enthusiasm tio a depressed fan base
    - Give the fans hope. Right now, there is NONE. I find more enjoyment joking about the garbage baggie jacket Tedfraud wears than the results Cal’s team produces
    - Give the Cal program a chance to sell seat licenses and pay off that huge stadium debt
    - Finish higher in the Pac12
    - Bring accountability back to the football team
    - Improve graduation rates and decrease the pipeline of uneducated thugs clogging up the Cal roster
    - Add innovation to the D and the O
    - Give Keenan Allen and Bigelow a chance to shine in an O that acutally fools some people

    I implore you to fire Tedford, take the $$ hit in the short term and give hope to the Cal team and program starting 2013 and beyond.

  • Juancho

    Here’s what I sent her:

    Dear Ms. Barbour,

    I hope your week is progressing nicely.

    I am writing to offer my thoughts on our football program. First a little about myself. Not only am I an alumni, I’m a lifelong fan of the University who never considered attending another institution. I also am an active community member who coaches baseball in San Francisco – and who spends as much money as I can on taking my baseball kids out to Cal activities and providing them with the message that Cal is about excellenece and nothing else. And hopefully steering a few of these kids to the great experience that Cal is. Out of respect for the urgency of our football program – I’m not going to use this as an opportunity to share my thoughts on how the Baseball program at Cal was treated.

    I have a lot of concerns with the football program’s current direction. I think it’s time for a new head coach, and fast. I’m sure the other emails you’ve received detail the consistent decline in on-field and academic performance. I.e., we haven’t even been ranked in the top 25 since 2009.

    I find that obscene. One of the beauties of Cal is that everything is expected to be at a level of Excellence, no ifs, ands our butts. I think to myself, if our Chemistry or Civil Engineering department fell out of the rankings for 4 years – what would happen? I’ll tell you this, they wouldn’t maintain the same leadership.

    I’m sure there are a lot of mitigating factors that could be used to justify keeping our current coach. He’s the most winning coach in our history. Sure. But he also has the most losses. So that’s a misleading stat. We had a lot of injuries this year. Sure. But so did a lot of other programs – and most importantly the decisions that could have been made throughout the year to soften the bad season just weren’t. Same ineffective quarterback, same offense with no personality, same curmudgeon personality and cantakerous interaction with the media from Tedford, same philosophy around closing off practices, etc. On the other hand you have someone like Dave Esquer who is a delight. We took the baseball team I coach on a field trip to the Cal vs Stanford game down at sunken diamond. It went about 19 innings. We stayed the whole game. And Esquer, and Renda, and so many others made time to come over to the kids after the game and thank them for staying and rooting on the Bears, and sign autographs, etc. <We need a coach who has that approach. Not someone who seems "above it". Tedford is an employee, he is the coach of the Football program, but he is not, the football program.

    Unfortunately a lot of this seemed predictable going back to the Tosh Lupoi debacle. I'm just an alumni and I will never know the real truth about what went wrong there. But if you put yourself in my shoes – I see a young fiery guy named Tosh now up at Washington taking star recruits to a direct competitor. His departure last year severely devalued the recruiting class, Shaq Thompson (UW), Arik Armstead (Oregon), DJ Foster (ASU), Ellis McCarthy (UCLA), Aziz Shittu (Stanford), Jordan Payton (UCLA). And as an avid recruiting follower that I am – we're having a bad recruiting year. Eddie Vanderdoes (USC), Michael Hutchings (USC), Elijah Qualls (UW).

    Coach Tedford had a great first few years. But over the past few, there is no data that supports anything other than them being very very bad. I went to Cal because I wanted to always strive and compete for Excellence. Our team needs to compete for a Rose Bowl. Don't count me in as one of the alumni who is happy with being "competitive" or having a coach that "represents the University well". Find the courage to make a change and bring in a guy who's goals 1, 2, and 3, are winning a Rose Bowl. If you could also make sure the coach has open practices again that'd be great. One of my biggest contentions with the current staff is that practices are closed off and to a large extent it seems like Tedford and co. have really closed off the program to alumni. As a youth coach I can tell you it's a disservice to us community members who want to find affordable activities to take large groups of kids. If the new coach opens up practices and you guys decide to sell merchandise you can count on my support.

    If you keep Tedford, good luck. The alumni ire will focus on you. And you don't deserve it. Ignoring my Baseball emotion, I think you've done a good job. But if we have the same coach next year – the University will have a heck of a time filling those ESP seats, which brings back up the concern over how we're going to pay for the stadium. With no coaching change I will freeze my financial support (including tickets) for the football program and focus in on Cal Baseball.

    Best wishes,

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    It is all about leadership. that is what is lacking at UC East Bay as it struggles once again with its irrelevance.

    Here is an example of excellent leadership.

    Last year, Tebow had a huge following with the Denver Broncos. He was the talk of the town and the fan favorite.

    However John Elway became the GM and he promptly signed Peyton Manning which made Tebow expendable. Elway took a lot of heat for this decision. He stuck by his guns (and did he ever have one too).

    “I believe that there are Tebow fans, and there are Broncos fans,” Elway told USA Today. “My responsibility is to the Broncos fans, and my responsibility is to [Denver owner] Pat Bowlen and what he wants to do, and that’s win championships.”

    You don’t really need a translation of that, do you? Just look at Denver’s record under Manning this year.

    That’s leadership. Elway has it. Teevans and your AD don’t.

  • BlueNGold

    Well moron, struggling with one’s irrelevance is certainly a subject with which you have an infinite amount of experience. And you would not know leadership if it sneaked up behind you and bit you in the backside.

    BTW- how to you square your opinion that Tedford does not demonstrate leadership with the opinion you posted in #11 above? They completely contradict each other. What a blithering idiot you are, moron.

  • rollonubears

    Of all the times to publicly promote Cal. Nice one AR. Sheesh, he really has been distanced from this team since 2004.

  • Easy Ed

    A couple of weeks ago I posted a link to an interview where Rodgers had great things to say about JT and Cal. He denies any animosity toward JT, Cal or the football program, he said he just always wants to give props to Butte and Chico.

    Look, I am really torn on this one, the facts say JT needs to go but I also realize that we asked him to recruit with crappy facilities, then he’s had to be involved in the construction of the new facilities and maybe that distraction from coaching resulted in a lot of our problems. I have concluded that we have to give the guy 1 more year with everything in place and see what happens. BTW, I see the other side from Dan, Juancho and the rest.

  • Juancho

    Counterpoint. Recruitings been great until tosh left. So “asking him to recruit with no facilities” is a non starter. It was a myth we needed them to recruit. Tosh got stellar class after class.

  • Rollonubears

    I agree, it’s kind of like firing your uncle, but he doesn’t play to win, plain and simple, and he hasn’t since 2003. When he gets great recruits he does well, but not great. So does just about everybody. He’s a mediocre coach who’s stubborn in his approach and insists on playing favorites. He turned our program around, and he’s built it up. He’s worked a miracle getting the facilities and the stadium, but he still doesn’t play to win, and never will, and our only shot at a bcs bowl is if we do it in spite of him, or get lucky. To keep a coach like that is just plain ridiculous. He’s also massively stressed out and in need of a healthier lifestyle. This is our one freaking chance to redirect this program on the field. If he is not let go, he will be here for at least 3 more years, and we will be lucky to make it to a holiday bowl.

  • Easy Ed

    Juancho I disagree. We have had some great players but we lack depth and think about it, how many 5 star recruits have we had other than Desean?

  • Dan

    Adding fuel to AR’s comments was Roxy Bernstein stumping for his friend JT last night on 95.7 FM The Game. He went on and on about how JT deserves another year, stating many reasons, most of which were countered argued by some of the next callers. He stated many alums he knows support Tedford- I thought how could that be true. He was grasping at straws with much of position.

    At the end of the case he was making, he admitted to being friends with Tedford and maybe was a little biased. You think?

    To me, what would we all expect both to say? They are friends with Tedford, yet have a public forum.

  • Dan

    Moren @ #8 -

    Moron = Pat = Cheeto Kid = Rush Limbaugh = Crying Adam Morrison = The Gimp = $C Wannabe But Will Never Be = Daddy’s Embarrassment = LOSER

  • Dan

    I have heard Sandy Barbour state on more than one occasion that the goal for each Cal sport is to win conference championship and be in the hunt for National Championships. Pretty clear statement.

    Rhetorical question – By SB’s own definition, how has Tedford done?

  • SteveNTexas

    USC is still in the top 15 least ethical programs.

  • rollonubears

    I am really starting to get worried about this JT thing now. The big donors are scared to let him go. It’s kind of embarrassing, actually. If he stays next year, everyone will think he has turned the program around when he goes .500, and then it’ll be “one more year,” and then he might even win 8, and then it’ll be “one more year” and then we might win 9, and play in the holiday bowl, and lose it, and everyone will want to extend his contract for 4 more years, and then we’ll go right back to where we are today, and then it’ll be 2019, and I will be a very very angry Bear. I’m tired of saying “I told you so.” It’s time to say “enough is enough.”

  • Uh Huh!

    #5 gobears: of course it’s okay for JF to contact Rodgers and give him the opportunity to support his old coach. Some might even call it balanced and responsible journalism.

    #3 scottybear and #10 juancho: why do you have a problem with the guy giving a shout out to his buddies and memories at butte, and is he instead supposed to be a walking billboard for Cal instead? Sheesh!

    There’s nothing wrong with people having a different opinion than you. Perhaps the red vs blue, fox vs. msnbc, you’re either with us or against us culture has become too prevalent.

  • ScottyBear

    Uh Huh: Sheesh on you. WTF!! Cal is the only school that offered Rodgers a scholarship and gave him the opportunity to become a first round pick. No one else gave him a whisper of a shot of a scholarship out of high school or even at Butte. Walking billboard? Of course not, but Aaron seems to go out of his way to avoid displaying his association with Cal.

  • BlueNGold

    I was listening to some of Tom Tolbert’s show on KNBR yesterday and he talked a bit about Cal andd the JT situation with Ray Ratto. Tolbert’s take was that every college team has ups and downs and few if any can maintain a top position continuously. He seemed to believe that the current season is some sort of one year aberration. One caller pointed out that Cal has had only a small percentage of winning seasons since the 30′s and JT has had a lot to do with starting to turn that around. Ratto talked mostly about the buyout money and whether the alumni would be willing to put it up.

  • Eric

    It is true that most programs have ups and downs. Heck, we beat Oklahoma in Oklahoma during the Holmoe era, and a few years later it won a national championship.

    The difference is this:

    - Tedford has been with Cal 11 years. There has been a clear downward trend since, at minimum, midway through the 2007 season. This year is far from an aberration 9as JF’s prior blog posting on the blowout losses demonstrated).

    - During that same period, Cal players have gone to the NFL is greater numbers than ever before, and a number of our recruiting classes were in the Top 20. So it hasn’t been a case of recruiting or talent.

    - Tedford is paid at or near the top of the Pac-10/12, but of all Pac-10 coaches, his salary does not match onfield success (Neuweasel was probably the closest comparable, and look what happened to him).

    - Tedford has been repeatedly labeled a QB guru, but since AR, he has been unable to produce a quality QB.

    - Since Tedford, every Pac-10/12 team has made into a BCS bowl EXCEPT for Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado and Cal. So while there are ups and downs, we seem not to be able to ever break through. Stanford has gone twice, even though it has had four HCs during the Tedford

    - The Pac-10/12 schools that have NOT had success in the last 5 years all have made coaching changes via fires and hires: Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, Stanford, UCLA, Washington, and Washington State. Other than Colorado and Washington State, each has had the same or better results with the change. Indeed, in Arizona State’s case, the Erickson hiring immediately led to a 10-win season, and the Erickson firing led to a bowl eligible season this year. Colorado went against the grain by firing a supposedly well regarded coach with a less known quantity (but at the same time John Embree inherited a truly terrible program) and Washington State went with a big name (which has NOT worked this season, but I suspect that Leach will have the team very competitive next year).

    - Oregon brought in Chip Kelly as offensive coordinator with the intention of grooming him to replace Bellotti (who had enjoyed years of success, including several Rose Bowls, but had also started to trend down). Since Kelly took over, Oregon has won three straight Pac-10/12 championships, played in one NC game and easily could have played in another. And this year is likely to again win the Pac-12.

    Time for a change. No more excuses.

  • scottybear

    Well said Eric. Even if Tedford was making $750,000 it woud be justified to replace him. At $2.5 million we should have at least during the past three years 1.) Beaten USC 2.) Beaten Oregon 3.) Beaten Washington and 4.) Not gotten embarrased on national TV. For that kind of money and the level of NFL talent and number of NFL players at Cal, Tedford has been a colossal failure the past five years and he has zero reason to adapt or change. Same tired offensive game plan, same tired excuses. This all started when he closed practices. Chris Petersen!!!

  • Pasadena Dave

    ScottyBear #29: you’re seriously butt hurt by A-rod not wearing Cal apparel? Maybe he wears Cal pajamas to sleep. Maybe he has Cal patterned boxers. Who cares if he wears Butte stuff. Maybe in his mind, he feels that Cal is decently represented by other alums. He’s trying to raise the profile of his hometown and school, which are lesser known. He is a class act that represents our university well. He represents Chico well. He represents Butte JC well. He represents the Rodgers family well. That is all I ask for from any former Cal athlete in the public spotlight.

    Eric #31: don’t agree with all your points, but great post.

  • BlueNGold

    I do not disagree with you, Eric. I mentioned the perception of Tolbert because he seemed not to know, or did not want to acknowlege, that these problems have been apparent for several seasons.

    One thing that was mentioned by Ratto was the turnover in assistant coaches. I am sure that has had an impact on continuity and building momentum, but should not JT be accountable for at least some of that? People who are more knowledgable than I about the inner workings of a college sports team can perhaps shed some light on that.

  • GriZz

    Rodgers was just being diplomatic and spinning a canned, noncontroversial statement any NFL superstar QB would have made in that situation…

    While Cal debates the Tedford issue the football program is losing recruits. This year Cal will have the worst recruiting class of JT’s tenure.

    http://www.mercurynews.com/cal-bears/ci_22003579/cals-bad-season-jeff-tedford-uncertainty-affecting-recruiting?source=pkg

    Lupoi will be in every recruits ear until JT leaves, telling them to avoid Cal like the plague. They have no choice but to move on now…Sandy better do it sooner than later while we still can sell some season tickets and nail some top recruits.

  • BlueNGold

    Too bad Lupoi is not half the coach everyone seems to think he is as a recruiter. Personally, I don’t give a crap about Tosh. He jumped ship for more $$ and what he considered a better job. He burned all his bridges behind him in doing so. I do not know him but he may very well be a POS. Its time to get over it and move on. Find one or more good recruiters to fill the void. Hopefully one will be an above average coach as well.

  • ScottyBear

    Pasadena Dave: It is tradition and a sign of respect to introduce yourself, your position and the college you attended when being shown on TV games. Not the sandwich shop you hung out in grade school, not your homies in Long Beach. The introductions are not meant to be individual statement time. If you played college sports you would understand and respect this. Obviously you did not and obvious why you don’t understand the tradition. There is respect for the game and and respect for what the networks ask you to say. By NOT mentioning the college you played for it is an intentional lack of respect for the team that showcased you to get to the pros, and proudly saying that college helps recruiting and image. Aaron Rodgers intentionally snubs Cal when he announces he is from Butte College, same way but not as severe as DeSean. Promote Butte College some other way, but not specifically when he should be proudly admitting he is from Cal. Butt hurt? Where does that come from? Strange dude.

  • Juancho

    I was a student when rodgers was.

    Only time i saw him on campus was against chico state in basketball. He was front row and they announced he was there and put him on the screen.

    You guessed it he was wearing a red chico state shirt.

  • JimInChico77

    Remember that Butte College gave him the first real stage to show his talent. That Butte 2002 team had only 1 loss and beat SF City College. I believe he doesn’t mean to disrespect Cal,he just wants to give shout outs to his home town folks.

  • lilbear

    Thanks for the email address to the athletic director. Here’s the email I sent:

    Dear Sandy,

    Whatever you decide this weekend after you talk with coach Tedford, as an alumni and die hard Cal fan, I’d like to tell you I just want just one thing – and that is for Cal to go to the Rosebowl in my lifetime. I’m 59 and I’m running out of life.

    Go Bears!

    ps I totally agree – Tedford does not play to win – he has no killer instinct. Need a new coach.