In 1977, George Lucas gave the world Star Wars.
In 1976, Bobby Bowden took the reigns of Florida State Football.
On the surface, these two incidents a year apart don't have much in common. However, 40+ years later, they have more similarities than one might think.
Here are seven ways FSU Football is a lot like the Star Wars original trilogy.
People remember glory episodes from yesteryear.
FSU fans can't forget the glory years of FSU football. They are the golden standard from which every season is measured. The Bowden glory years are full of myth and legends, comebacks and trick plays, triumphs, tragedies, and great stories.
Likewise, the original Star Wars trilogy looms large in the fanbase's collective memories. They set the impression of the galaxy far, far away. They are also the standard from which every later story is measured. The original trilogy is full of myths and legends, comebacks and tricks, triumphs, tragedies, and great stories.
2000s were mismanaged by the creator.
The 2000s were not nice to Star Wars or FSU Football. From 1999 to 2005, George Lucas was the single mind behind the Prequel Trilogy, an over-the-top bonanza full of special effect and some of the worst dialogue in a major film ever. It wasn't until George Lucas gave the reigns of the Clone Wars cartoon to director Dave Filoni did high quality work again came out of Lucasfilm.
Meanwhile in Tallahassee, FSU Football was slipping from the Bowden Regime. The competition had caught up with FSU and Bobby Bowden seemed unable to catch up with the changing college game. It wasn't until the hiring of offensive coordinator and head coach-in-waiting Jimbo Fisher that high quality coaching again came out of Tallahassee.
There are a lot of old financially influential fans.
This reason goes hand-in-hand with remembrance of the glory years. Fans who remember the peak stories of both Star Wars and FSU Football are typically older and typically have more money to spend. Organizations such as the Seminole Boosters and Disney marketing do not want to turn away money, so they cater to these fans often by appealing to their sense of nostalgia.
For FSU, catering to money means being beholden to financial donations. When FSU Football doesn't perform well on the field, the inclination of boosters is to donate less. With less money coming in, FSU Football feels the need to make decisions that will get boosters to give again, whether creating new experiences at the stadium or buying out under-performing members of the coaching staff.
The Star Wars community also has many influential fans who can affect revenue streams. Fans will pay big money for conventions or opportunities to relive their childhood. Younger fans unfortunately do not have as much money, even if the PG-rated Star Wars was originally created with them in mind. If affluent fans do not get what they want, they do not spend their money.
There is also a saying that no one hates Star Wars more than Star Wars fans. Subsections of the Star Wars fanbase have made money complaining about Star Wars. These fans have influence among similar-minded fans. If those fans make enough noise, Star Wars writers and directors might be prone to cater to their whims, however much they deny it.
1st sequel did very well but had underlying flaws.
After the prequel trilogy, fans wondered if Star Wars could ever regain its former glory. New director JJ Abrams had pedigree and experience on big budget moveis but it was unsure if he could handle the reigns of Star Wars.
After the Bobby Bowden years, fans wondered if FSU Football could ever regain its former glory. New coach Jimbo Fisher had pedigree and experience on winning teams but it was unsure if he could handle the reigns.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens reinvigorated the Star Wars fanbase and was a success in the box office. Despite its success, the storyline had major flaws that made following episodes difficult.
Similarly, Jimbo Fisher led the FSU Football team to glory in 2013, reinvigorating the fanbase. Despite its success, Fisher's teams had underlying problems in discipline and academia - problems that would make follow-up seasons difficult.
2nd sequel was a major bust.
Following Jimbo Fisher's departure, the FSU Football program went in a different direction, hiring a coach with a new philosophy. Coach Willie Taggart decided to focus on new aspects of FSU Football lore, unfortunately the results were not there. Taggart was wildly criticized and he was removed from his position during his second season.
Following JJ Abrams departure from Star Wars, Lucasfilm hired a director with a new philosophy. Rian Johnson took the Star Wars story in a different direction, focusing on new aspects of Star Wars lore. While The Last Jedi did well in the box office, Johnson was wildly criticized and he was removed from his position.
People hope 3rd sequel can get story back on track.
After removing Willie Taggart, FSU Football hoped to reassure fans that the program is still in good hands, hiring Head Coach Mike Norvell to wide optimism.
After the departure of Rian Johnson, director JJ Abrams returned to the helm for The Rise of Skywalker, a movie that reversed many of Johnson's original ideas. While The Rise of Skywalker had its flaws, many fans generally considered it a positive conclusion to the Skywalker Saga.
If you are tired of the drama, there are a lot of other stories/sports that don't get the hype, but are more fun to watch and often have better endings.
For over 20 years, Star Wars fans have debated the Skywalker Saga - what worked, what didn't, and how each storyteller handled the mythology. The Skywalker Saga remains the biggest money maker for Lucasfilm. But beyond the Skywalker Saga is a world of great stories, from cartoons to books to streaming shows that are often better told. In these stories the creators are not beholden to mythos of the Skywalker Saga and they are free to create new and exciting characters and storylines.
For over 20 years, FSU sports fans have debated the direction of FSU Football - what worked, what didn't, and how each head coach handled the program. FSU Football remains the biggest money maker for FSU Athletics and the Seminole Boosters. But beyond FSU Football is a world of great Seminole athletics, from FSU Basketball - mens and womens - to FSU Softball to FSU Track and Field - all of which have won championships or competed against the best competition. These teams are not beholden to the drama and mythos of FSU Football and they are free to create new and exciting FSU Sports legends and stories.