Like it or not, Florida State University has rebranded.
It wasn’t dramatic — the school didn’t eschew its traditional color scheme or get rid of Chief Osceola as the mascot — but it wasn’t subtle either.
The Chief Osceola logo of old has been replaced by a newer, more streamlined version. The uniforms have been updated using elements that pay homage to heritage and tradition — but look new-age.
No, this isn’t your father’s Seminoles team anymore. And that’s entirely the point.
For the past four years (seven, really) Jimbo Fisher has sat patiently and said all the right things at all the right times when it came to paying tribute to the historic program he now presided over and the icon he replaced. He kowtowed every chance he got. Spoke glowingly of the advice Bowden had given him as a young coach. He attributed every success in some way to Bowden and the foundation he’d left behind.
Kneeling at the altar of Florida State football, that became Fisher’s refrain:
‘Thanks be to Bowden.’
Make no mistake about it, for the past four (or seven) years, Jimbo Fisher had been stewarding a program that wasn’t yet his. He had been playing with another man’s toys. It was there at every turn with stark reminders.
‘The program Bowden built.”
Each morning Fisher drove up to a stadium adorned with a giant stained glass mosaic of the man. He walked past a statue of the man, into a lobby that displayed both of the man’s national championships and up to an office that overlooks a field named after the man. It was inescapable.
Bowden. Bowden. Bowden.
Even the initial task Fisher was given — the reason he was brought in to be head-coach-in-waiting for the man in the first place — was to restore a program to glory. Restore the program to what it had been under him.
And Fisher paid those dues.
In four years he lost just ten games and quietly built Florida State back into a juggernaut. He retook the ACC in 2012 and brought that coveted crystal football back to Tallahassee in 2013. He did it standing in Bowden’s shadow (even if the legendary coach stayed away to avoid that exact problem) and paid the ultimate tribute to the man’s legacy by returning the program he built — in the exact aesthetic state Bowden left it in — back to its prominent place atop the college football landscape.
The Jimbo Fisher era may have begun when he arrived as HC-in-waiting in 2007, or maybe when he took over for Bowden in 2010 — he has been in complete control of the program since then. But he stepped out of Bowden’s shadow in earnest in 2014 when he started the year with a win in Pasadena and then rebranded his program — the way he wanted it — in April.
They’re Jimbo Fisher’s Seminoles now — 100 percent. And that pang of sadness, or anger, or whatever it was that stirred when the old logo was put to rest, was as much about the final tangible moments of Bowden’s tenure as it was about an aesthetic change to a school you root for.
Because we so do love to grieve, and as complicated as it was at the end, this fan-base has never really gotten over Bobby. That was Bowden’s logo. Not Bill Peterson’s, not Tom Nugent’s or Don Veller’s — Bobby’s.
Bowden’s time may have ended nearly a half-decade ago, but his ghost still lingered. And now it’s finally gone. The last of Bowden’s players have all graduated, the program is on top again, the page has turned.
Now the program’s hey-day is no longer exclusive to Bowden. It also belongs to Fisher.
And this program is now Fisher’s as much as it ever was Bowden’s.
This new look is a stark reminder of that.
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