To borrow a phrase that has jumped the shark in the last year: I loves me some Michigan Football.
Anyhoo, there's been plenty said about the anti-RR crowd among the alumni, AD, fans, etc. Maybe I'm paranoid, but might it not be possible that Lloyd Carr is among the most virulent of the lot? After all, he and Roseypalm were "close" (probably not in the Biblical sense). Someone must have given the Life cereal kid the story idea. I'm sure he didn't just dream it up out of whole cloth. Mikey isn't that clever -- he even borrowed an email I sent him once as the origin of a column he wrote about the Lions last season, (though he gave me proper credit in his story -- I guess he gets a minor prop for not plagiarizing).
Even if Lloyd didn't commit a cardinal sin in this case, I still have a commodious problem with him: he had a golden opportunity to say, "If you claim to be a fan of Michigan Athletics, then its time to put away the sour, grinchy frowns and cheer for the Maize and Blue with every ounce of your being. Your team needs you." He didn't. Deafening silence. Now, I'll allow (for the moment) that UM's lawyers put the lid on most any statements not made by the Bill and Mary Sue, but c'mon -- not a PEEP? That doesn't sound like the characteristic of a "Michigan Man" to me.
He, and the rest of the Grinches, need to remember a few historical facts about "their" program. Consider:
- One Fielding Yost hailed from the "hollers" of West Virginia. His accent was so thick that he couldn't say, "Michigan" ... That's right, comrades, he is the origin of the beloved malapropism, "Meechigan!"
- Michigan's greatest dynasties happened when the program broke with "tradition". Starting with Yost, then Crisler, then Schembechler. Each new era heralded key innovations in the game and some of the greatest teams in school history.
- Even Bo had an inauspicious start. The headline in the Detroit papers was, "BO WHO?" Alumni howled. No matter that the first and second choices said, "No". Nor that it was Joe Paterno who suggested to Don Canham, (after flatly turning the job down) about an unknown coach at the University of Miami (OH).
- Bo didn't give a shit whether people - who had little to no knowledge of what it took to build a championship program - liked his approach to the program. He had helped Woody build the program at Ohio State, and had no intention of doing it any other way. That half of the squad quit from the roster in his first year made no difference, either.
In the interest of full disclosure, I was not a particular fan of Coach Rod until Monday. Though I still believe his complete dismissal of everything and everyone that had come before (save Fred Jackson) was over-kill, and is probably a big part of why he struggles to be supported by some "fans", its really not materially different than what Bo did, nor Crisler before him.
Win or lose tomorrow, I will remain a fan of the Michigan Wolverines, and cheer my heart out for that team until my last breath. I will also cheer for Rich Rodriguez until he is the coach no longer, no matter if it is next season or the next decade. This is Our Team. And, in the spirit of what every Head Football Coach of the University of Michigan has believed, including Coach Rod:
This is about the TEAM, the TEAM, the TEAM.
The Michigan Man does exist despite what drivel you may have recently read; He's just not what everybody thinks he is. ‘They’ think a Michigan Man is some kind of prototype forged in the mold Bo Schembechler. Bo’s famous quote seared into the public perception an awesome and tenacious image that resonated within the Michigan community and throughout the sports world to this very day, a generation later; the very definition of a meme. As the man who coined the phrase and undoubtedly a Michigan Man himself, he himself is said image.
A closer Look at the context of the quote reveals the true definition of Michigan Men. Bill Frieder accepts a job elsewhere and leaves Michigan behind. As soon as that agreement was made, it was determined that Frieder was not a Michigan Man. At that moment he was no longer the right man to lead Michigan.
So, the definition of a Michigan Man is simple: He who is unequivocally devoted to Michigan. A Michigan Man stands for what he believes is right and has the grace to acknowledge and correct his errors. A Michigan Man loves Michigan and represents her with courage, valor, and passion; to his grave. A Michigan Man respects his adversary but will never fear him.
Unfortunately, many within the Michigan community do not understand this simple definition. This is not to say that they do not love Michigan, but they fail to see what it was about Bo that made him a Michigan Man. Gerald Ford. Bob Ufer. Those who stayed in ’69. Gary Moeller. Tshimanga Biakabutuka. Lloyd Carr. Tom Brady. Brian Cook. This list never ends.
Bo and Lloyd were clear-cut Michigan Men but they do not encompass all Michigan Men. What I saw on August 31 was stark contrast to what I would expect to see from any of the afore mentioned men, but make no mistake…I saw a Michigan Man.
What we’re dealing with in this episode of evolution is the unknown. It is scary to not know what to expect and it’s OK to be critical of what you see. But it’s not OK to reject someone because you don’t understand him and are so attached to the mystique of what has come before that you won’t take the time to get to know him. That’s not Michigan.
Do you love a mystique or do you love Michigan?
I know many of you will recognize this but I will not mention any "internet names", but those of you who know this post and or poster go ahead and share if you feel the need. That is not what my post is about, I just want to ask how we as fans should respond to fellow "fans" (it pained me to use that word for them) and if any of you feel the same way. I for one am wholeheartedly against everything this post stands for and have never been more upset with a fellow "fan" (term used loosely). Here we go, from you probably know where and who:
"What a disgrace. What an absolute embarrassing act by RR today. He looked like a damn fool up there. He should have said the basic official "we are investigating and I have no comment until after the investigation is complete." And leave it at that. Now we have a crying coach on ESPN. Great.
I saw a man who is breaking under the pressure. He can't handle it. He is in way over his head. And it is so clear when watching him today. He isn't going to last much longer. This job is going to destroy him. Everything that the Michigan job brings with it, the added pressure, the added spotlight, the media watching every single little thing you do and pouncing on every slip up you make, he can't handle it. It is beating him down. You have to be a certain type of person to handle the Michigan job and he can't do it.
It is clear players don't like him, alumni don't like him, fans don't like him, and some inside the Athletic Department don't like him either. This entire thing is a disaster and never should have happened. Martin botched the hiring processes as bad as you can.
Can you imagine what the locker room must be like? This team is divided and they are going to fall a part at the first sign of adversity, which will happen Saturday. All of a sudden that game looks a whole lot harder. The crowd is going to turn on him real quick. When they announce him as head coach I'm predicting a 50/50 reaction of cheers and boos. And if that game starts going Western's way it is going to get ugly.
This is the beginning of the end."
Again, I did not write this, I do not agree with it, just wanted some opinions and to know if I was overreacting when I told someone I wanted to kick "poster" in the shins. And steal his dog. Nothing against his dog obviously, I would be doing it for the dog's sake. He needs a good home. Anyway...
Time will tell how this NCAA violation story plays out, but I think that the stormclouds are beginning to break a bit, given the backtracking of the Freep following RichRod's emotional press conference, as well as the beginning of Martin's investigation. Realistically, this was a tempest in a teacup, and hopefully the team captains and coaching staff will work this all out, but we really won't know until the season is in full swing.
It's a shame that this non-story has been sucking away so much attention from the talented young corps of players that will take the field for the Maize and Blue this season-- but that will soon be remedied. In spite of it all, the season ahead remains bright and begins anew Saturday, when all the punditry and editorials will become meaningless with the first BOOM of kickoff at 3:30.
If it's true that who you keep as enemies says at least as much about you as who you keep as friends, it's nice to know that OSU and Michigan at least have significant respect for each other off the field, even with both devoted to such a vicious rivalry. I firmly hope that we can bring some respect and parity back to our end of this rivalry and annihilate them in November, but I'll remember their comments this week as I root for us to do so. I hope ya'll do as well.
We flash back to August 29, 2009. Rosenberg has a smug, sinister smile. He has finally done it. His article; “Michigan Program Broke Rules, Players Say” will surely end forever this thing that he hates most. We see the clips of the Rodriguez press conference and the pundits bashing Rich. Ahhhh, sweet satisfaction!
Then it starts going badly for Rosenberg. First, MGoBlog (and other bloggers) start to point out the holes in the story. Then, more and more sportscasters and writers start calling the article a “witch hunt” and a disgusting piece of writing.
Very shortly, the official investigation ends. The conclusion, “We have found no evidence that the University of Michigan violated any NCAA rules concerning allowable football related hours” was unequivocal.
Michigan finished 2009 better than many had expected and has continued to improve.
We return to present day.
“How could this happen?” Rosenberg agonizes. It’s bad enough that Rich Rodriguez is still the coach at Michigan. But, now this!?” What haunts Rosenberg most is that now it is universally agreed that his article in the Freep did what no one thought was possible. It brought the entire Michigan community (players, coaches, students, alumni, fans, faculty, and even the athletic department) to be “All In For Michigan”. That article, his article had become the critical catalyst in the success of the team.
Rosenberg knows he was the primary reason that the thing he hated most, the thing he tried to end in flames did not just survive but prospered beyond all expectations. All this in less than 4 short years.
Rosenberg takes a small key from his pocket and opens the bottom drawer of his desk. For a long time he just stares at the dark object it holds. Finally, he reaches down ……..
So, what was the headline and how does it end? I’ve written my ending (which I will post tomorrow) but I would like to hear how everyone else would end the episode.
EDIT (around 3:44 PM): As those who have answered figured out, everyone was supposed to come up with unusual endings. If anyone remembers the Twilight Zone, nothing was ever what it appeared to be.
EDIT; The Ending
Finally he reaches down, closes and locks the drawer, and returns the key to his pocket.
We flash forward about 8 months. It is a glorious fall day. Rosenberg is pushing around a shopping cart collecting bottles and cans to pay for his next bottle of cheap wine. He is in a parking lot filled with thousands of cars. All around him people are laughing, eating, drinking, and having the time of their lives.
In the background is the most beautiful football stadium on the planet. There is a huge banner hanging from the top of the stadium which replicates the front page headline: "Michigan (13-0) National Champions"