It was a week sports fans will never forget.
Many around here would love to forget it, of course, but the wall-to-wall images we've seen on ESPN, Comcast SportsNet, various Philadelphia news outlets and many other places have left an indelible impression that many of us will never be able to shake.
So much tragedy, emotion, heartbreak and drama, and so much coverage had us all on the edge of our seats waiting for what was going to happen next.
If TV ratings were made available, my guess is that the Penn State scandal was far and away the most watched event in America this week and maybe all year.
The swift demise of Joe Paterno's tenure as Penn State's football coach took our breath away as we all tried to keep up with the rapid developments coming out of State College.
One of the most recognizable figures in sports history went from being one of the most respected men in this country — certainly he was No.1 all-time in this state — to one of the most vilified.
Even the downfalls of O.J. Simpson and Tiger Woods were spread out over a longer time frame than what happened to Paterno, who as recently as last Friday morning was still an iconic and largely beloved figure throughout college football.
Questions still abound, of course.
Was the coverage fair or heavy-handed?
Did the media blow some things out of proportion or get it just right?
Was the focus too much on Paterno and not enough on victims?
Was the No.1 villain in all of this — and there's at least universal agreement here that it's Jerry Sandusky — shoved aside too much while what Paterno did and didn't do was put in the cross hairs?
Rece Davis of ESPN reminded us at one point that Sandusky is accused of committing the acts, not Paterno.
We've received many emails throughout the week and what is disturbing was that if you dared to offer support for Paterno, you were immediately branded as someone who didn't care enough, or at all, about what happened to Sandusky's alleged victims.
By Thursday morning those who thought Paterno should be allowed to coach one more game or who expressed any kind of compassion for the guy were hard to find, perhaps in fear of being accused of being anti-child or anti-sympathetic to the victims.
Such was the outrage that this horrific revelation produced.
But the truth is many, many people in the Lehigh Valley and Penn State fans nationwide probably felt the same as Matt Millen.
It's ironic that Millen was taken out of the NFL booth and off the ESPN Monday Night set this season and made strictly a college football analyst.
In a week where he could have been in San Diego preparing for The NFL Network's Thursday night opener, Millen was where he needed to be — providing insight and reason to a series of events unimaginable to many.
Millen personified the conflicted emotions so many Penn State fans had — disgust, outrage, anger and sheer contempt for the acts a grand jury says were committed by Sandusky — while also struggling to figure out why both a university and a man Millen admires didn't do more to prevent them from happening.
Absolutely no one was more conflicted than Millen, who played for both Paterno and Sandusky and served on the board for The Second Mile organization that was at the center of this storm.
"I get mad," Millen said as he bowed his head and paused, fighting back tears. "It's pretty disturbing. It makes you sick to see that this could happen to this level."
Millen said of Sandusky: "He's your next-door neighbor. He's the guy you know your whole life. He's everything you want. I've known the guy since 1976. I've been to meetings with him. He has been in my home."
If Penn State fans feel betrayed by the alleged acts of their former defensive coordinator, how do you think Millen feels?
I think we all know after seeing him on camera.
What happened on Wednesday night was surreal, from the trustees' announcement to the scene outside Paterno's home to all the students gathering in downtown State College.
It had the feel of a movie, not an ESPN special report.
The images from Beaver and College Avenue, familiar locations to any Penn State student or frequent campus visitor, were compelling, although some say that State College was hardly the war zone the coverage would have had you believe.
Was it sensationalized? A question to be answered only by those who were there.
The bottom line is no matter what Hollywood produces, nothing can compete with real-life drama, and it's hard to imagine a more dramatic series of events than what unfolded this week at Penn State.
•Last Saturday's LSU-Alabama game drew 20 million viewers and was the most-watched football game in 22 years on CBS.
That was a prime-time special.
Saturday's Nebraska-Penn State game is a noon start. But even with that early time slot, it could become the second-most watched college football game of the regular season, especially with potential future PSU coach Urban Meyer serving as one of the analysts on the ESPN telecast.
The biggest ratings of all, however, may be reserved for whoever — Barbara Walters, Piers Morgan, Anderson Cooper — secures Paterno for a one-on-one interview.
Fox will have the first-ever UFC heavyweight title bout on network television at 9 p.m. Saturday when defending champion Cain Velasquez meets No. 1 contender Junior dos Santos.
"What boxing was to my generation is what the UFC is to my son's," said Fox Sports Media Group Chairman David Hill. "In seven years [the length of Fox's contract with UFC] I believe boxing is going to be even more of a niche and UFC will become mainstream."Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun