Coach Prime called a “Hollywood created celebrity” by top analyst

Jun 11, 2024, 12:58 PM | Updated: 12:59 pm

CU Buffs head coach football coach Deion Sanders, or Coach Prime, is a mega-celebrity in the sports world.

Partially, that’s because he was a Hall of Fame player in the NFL for 14 seasons and absolutely electric on the field.

But it’s also because he’s reinvented himself in his next chapter as a coach, coming from Jackson State to Boulder and taking the Buffs from a doormat to super relevant.

No one predicted Coach Prime would win Sportsperson of the Year in 2023 or bring celebrities like The Rock or Lil Wayne to the CU campus, but he managed to do it.

The Buffs got off to a roaring 3-0 start last season and were in the top-25. Then, things came crashing back to Earth and they finished 1-8 the rest of the way.

Now, it’s popular to rip Sanders, and that’s exactly what ESPN college football analyst Paul Finebaum did on Monday on the “McElroy and Cubelic” and show. The conversation starts at about 8:45 in the podcast embedded below.

After Finebaum gives Sanders credit for calling himself Coach Prime and reinventing himself after his playing career, he starts slinging arrows.

“He is an industry-created coaching celebrity. What happened last year was generational, but it was mostly forced and created, and it was really in many ways illegitimate,” Finebaum said.

It’s ironic, because his network helped create the beast. Colorado had College Gameday on campus and played the likes of an epic Rocky Mountain Showdown and other games on ESPN.

“He really never beat anyone of consequence, but that didn’t stop us from talking about it. By the way, I’m guilty. I was on those shows as you were,” Finebaum said. “But that was never real.”

Well, it seemed real after Colorado stunned TCU in Week 1 on the road. Don’t forget, the Horned Frogs were in the national championship the season before. Still, that didn’t stop Finebaum from then delivering his harshest criticism.

“It’s just a matter of being honest, I don’t consider him a great coach at all. He’s a Hollywood created celebrity primarily because of what he did in other walks of life, namely playing football,” Finebaum said. “Quite frankly, his performance as a coach has been less than spectacular.”

That’s simply inaccurate, as Coach Prime went 27-6 in his three years at Jackson State. He also took the Buffs from a one-win team to a four-win squad in his first season in Boulder.

Yes, the pressure is on to win in 2024 at CU, but it seems like Finebaum has written Sanders off. He’s certainly not the only one, but these critics seem eager to bury Coach Prime when there’s still plenty of football to be played.


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