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I love Mike Zimmer, if only for his reaction to Bobby Petrino bailing on the Falcons

by Mike McFeely

Mike Zimmer once, on the record, called Bobby Petrino a "gutless bastard." When told many publications couldn't print the word "bastard," Zimmer became even more colorful. 

But more on that later.

Zimmer is the new coach of the Minnesota Vikings, according to many reports.

I don't know much about Mike Zimmer.

But I know I like him.


Mike Zimmer

Yeah, let's just say we have evidence that shows Zimmer will be an entertaining, unfiltered, eminently quotable head coach. And, really, that's all that matters when you are a talk-show host in Fargo and don't necessarily care if the Vikings win or lose.

Xs and Os? I'll leave that to the so-called football experts. This story has more to do with Zimmer's raw and visceral reaction to Bobby Petrino a few years ago.

Here's the deal: Petrino was coaching the Atlanta Falcons in 2007. Zimmer was his defensive coordinator. Petrino quit midseason, after 13 games. He bailed when things weren't going well for the Falcons. That left an entire franchise, not to mention his coaching staff, completely in the lurch. Petrino screwed them. For entirely selfish reasons. The same day he Palined as the Falcons head coach, he accepted the head coaching job at the University of Arkansas.

So when Zimmer later became the Cincinnati Bengals defensive coordinator and the Bengals were going to Atlanta to play a game, a Cincy reporter naturally asked Zimmer about returning to Atlanta.

What Zimmer told Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer was wonderful, from a media jackal's point of view:

“He came in and said he resigned, he would talk to us all at a later date, walked out of the office and no one has ever talked to him since. Not that anybody wanted to.

“He’s a gutless bastard. Quote that. I don’t give a s**t.” 

When Reedy told Zimmer the newspaper might not be able to use the word "bastard," Zimmer responded:

“How about this, gutless MF. You can use that.” 

It got better. Zimmer continued talking about Petrino:

“He is a coward. Put that in quotes. He ruined a bunch of people’s lives, a bunch of people’s families, kids, because he didn’t have enough nuts to stay there and finish the job. That’s the truth.” 

When asked if Zimmer had ever had had a sequence like that before in his life (as if?), Zimmer replied:

“No, most people in football have enough courage about them and enough fight to stick through something and not quit halfway through the year. It is cowardly."

So it is safe to assume Bobby Petrino will not be an assistant with the Vikings.

 Follow Mike on Twitter @MikeMcFeelyKFGO