that somewhere in the space-time continuum, this comment both got and will get you hambannered.
It is a media tradition to hammer at flailing coaches with frowny-face serious questions about how hard everything is on the players and coaches and such because they have to put up with this howling pack of fans. And I try not to get exercised about anything that comes out of that, just like I try to roll my eyes and move on at every article about a triumph in the face of The Critics. Coaches arrive at press conferences at one goal: to get out without saying something notable. When they do say something notable, it is a mistake.
But I'm pissed off anyway. Hoke fielded a question about what is going to be a sea of red in Michigan Stadium:
"You know, people are fickle," Hoke said. "That's just the way it is. That's the world we live in."
This is of course horseshit. It's horseshit on the level of "we need to run a pro-style offense so we can stop Big Ten offense," i.e., the greatest and grandest horseshit in all the world. Hercules is required to shovel this. The big reveal from the last 20 years of media development is that fans are the only people left who aren't fickle. They can't stop watching, and what's more they can't stop watching live with all those lovely commercials interspersed. Fans submit themselves until they have commercials memorized. Until they are legendary.
In all other areas of television consumption I go out of my way to avoid commercials, going so far as to not watch recent seasons of shows I like until they arrive on Netflix. It will be four years before I see the Patton Oswalt filibuster in context. This is why every time a rights deal expires, networks treat the newly single package of games like it's the last cabbage patch doll on Black Friday.
Meanwhile, the people in charge have decided to test the edges of that fandom with an explosion in ticket prices. Paul Campos:
Here’s the price of a regular admission (not student) University of Michigan football ticket over time.
(All figures are in 2012 dollars, rounded to the nearest dollar. I couldn’t find 1970 and 1980 so I substituted the nearest available year).
This year a seat on the 15 yard line is 129 dollars with the PSL, almost three times as much as it was in 2000 and almost four times as much as it was in 1990, in constant 2012 dollars.
Ryan Field was half Michigan fans, for some reason [Bryan Fuller]
In Michigan's specific case, they have beaten Ohio State once in the last nine years and are two-touchdown home underdogs. They are getting gouged on ticket prices in an unprecedented fashion. The athletic department has made it absolutely clear that it has no loyalty to them with "dynamic pricing" that only goes one way. Up.
There is a breaking point for even the most zealous fan. I'm the guy with the blog that's his career and I'm at mine. The only reason I am going on Saturday is because I would feel shame at not going. Absent the weird moral imperatives of fandom, I would be doing anything else. Like bowling, which I hate.
Everybody in blue in that stadium—and it will still be a majority, probably—is paying for the privilege of having their heart punched. Unlike you, they are not getting three million dollars to watch Michigan shuffle around like a syphilitic pig who thinks everything's a truffle. Collectively they are in fact giving you those three million dollars. Collectively they built the stadium you play in and the opulent locker rooms you dress in.
So take your "fickle" and shove it. Angry, sure. Impatient, sure. Because we are locked into this thing we do every week that we pretty much hate. We do so out of a sense of loyalty that the program goddamn well doesn't reciprocate with its 500 dollar waiting lists and worst access level in the country—the team that is going to stuff you in a locker on Saturday has open practices in front of the entire student section—and scheduling goddamned Appalachian State because the athletic director thinks it's cute. Any reasonable person would look at the recent history of Michigan football and go do anything else. We're here because we're locked in.
You? You've got a buyout.
It is not the fans' fault that this program is awful to be a fan of. It's not Rich Rodriguez's fault. Anyone who sells their ticket for whatever they can get—currently 60 bucks and dropping from 80 yesterday—is only making a logical decision to not get punched in the soul dong on Saturday.
I'll hate them all the same, but half out of envy this time. They are no longer mindless wallets. They don't give a crap if Brady Hoke calls them fickle, and don't write articles on the internet about it. They are logical people.
The reason Michigan Stadium is going to be half-red on Saturday isn't because of "the world we live in" except insofar as it contains a Michigan football team that people at Abu Ghraib wouldn't show prisoners.
due my own smart-a**edness in posting a reply to this:
"BOUJE13: You're a f****** idiot And I am saying this POLITELY.
Brian isn't tweeting the players, he's not shoving this down their throat. He is posting his ANALYSIS on the Internet . He's not booing all the players some get pluses some get minuses .
In sum GET F***** "
...I find myself somehow time-transported to the front of The Blog On The Edge Of Forever even though I swear I stayed well away from The Guardian
doesn't mean supporting a program "no matter what'. What you are describing is fascism.
really apply here.
Person that pays to see games, even lots of games that goes as long as the team wins, but boos and walks out and stops coming = Person that pays to see games, even lots of games that goes as long as the team wins, but boos and walks out and stops coming
Fan = someone that comes to games and cheers their team/program whether they are good or bad, winning or losing. Perhaps analyzes the games in excruciating detail, perhaps calls out coaches for poor decision making, poor strategy, perhaps assesses player production with perhaps charts and graphs. Never boos. Come back following week, cheers.
Being a fan means you support your team whether it wins or loses. You stop supporting the team when it does not represent what you want am program to be, i.e. Miami (YTM) back in the day. I'd be the first to drop support for the program if became one fraught with off-the-field trouble and low character players. Losing doesn't make me want to walk away. It makes me a sad panda, but not a quitter.
That does not mean you are blind to things and accept everything either...FWIW, I wasn't happy with the hire, certainly not happy with the coaching now, however I'm still going to cheer until they somehow turn M footbal into something it is not.
That is college football, a somewhat enjoyable pastime having little to do with human suffering (yes, okay...some, but not dire) and forcible oppression.
Fascism, on the other hand.....
Your definition of fandom is absolutely valid- and held by many people. But it creates no motivation for Brandon to improve the program at all. It is similar to victimization. This is why I feel nothing strong about this issue- fans are choosing to be victims by paying money for games and should take responsibility for this decision. Complaining seems out of place- just don't pay the money. If you want to support the athletes buy them dinner.
While I will always cheer Michigan on, if anything WERE going to dampen my enthusiasm and cause me to detach, it would be the corporate-ish, money grubbing changes to the gameday experience. I grew up going to all the home games throughout the 70s, 80s and early 90s before moving to California and now when i come back for games, hate the RAWK music, the ads, the more homogenous pro-ish feel to the whole thing. Hate it.
How Tone-Deaf can Hoke be?
My only hope for this offseason is that Businessman-Brandon realizes how much fans hate Borges and forces Hoke to fire him and hire a sexy young OC. This may not be a realistic dream, but I have hope Damnit!
She is sexy and young and is loyal to Michigan
She can't be worse than Borges and recruiting would only get better
and that OC produced another miserable season, would Hoke be off the hook?
I say this not at all to defend even-more entitlement minded Borges.
I say we're invested in Hoke and need to see if his recruiting can bring the team back to the level the $$$ support demands. And whether or not Hoke goes w/ Borges, in two years it won't matter. We better have a damn strong team by then or Hoke gets let go. No hiding behind Borges (even though Al casts a large shadow.)
1. This is very well written.
2. It was $48 to go to a game in 1910?! You'd have to take a loan out on your mule to go to a game at that price if you weren't a Vanderbilt.
3. Hoke sees his guys working hard every day, so I can sympathize with being defensive in response to the question. It would have been nice to hear him say that he can understand why people are unhappy, though. He obviously sees winning as important, so I'm not sure why he'd expect anything else from the fans.
All figures are in 2012 dollars
Those are all in rounded-to-the-nearest-dollar in 2012 dollars
He adjusted the ticket prices to 2012 dollars.
Not to be the guy that brings RR into this but I guess I will be - imagine if he said the fans were "fickle", I mean, the outrage.
And that was for a lot more reasonable comment...
If I understand correctly, you are rightly blaming the mediocre record of our team this year on the offense. And, you pinpoint the offensive staff. So, I'll assume that you, like so many people here, are really tring to say you want Borges and Funk fired because we don't have a better record.
Another way to look at the same facts, might be to say that Michigan has lost games to MSU and (name another team here) definitively. Every other game was winnable. Hell, we should have beaten PSU, Nebraska and Iowa. Poor play doomed us in those games. If we were 10-1 right now, would you be screaming?
Do we have a problem? Yes, we have a very serious depth problem. We are starting too many freshman or inexperienced players in key positions. I'm as pissed as anyone, but try to put on my sane glasses before I post about our coaches or players.
The bottom line is that this year's team is inexperienced and hasn't learned as fast as we'd hoped. Why does that give you, or anyone, the balls to question a staff whose worst year is better than the best year of the prior regime? Maybe, just maybe, there is something to be said for being in every game this year save for one until the end with such incredible inexperience at quarterback, o-line, and running back.
Go Blue! Beat Ohio!
Good coaches do two things as far as the players currently on the team:
1) Put them in a position to succeed.
2) Coach 'em up, to borrow a cliche. You should see players getting better as a season/their careers progress.
Now on defense, we generally see both of those, and when they fail at #1, like that fourth down where we were playing stupidly far off, Mattison says that's his fault and points to specifics. But mostly guys are put in a position where they can do well, and you almost always see guys getting better (aka the Heininger Certainty Principle, but also, say, Raymon Taylor or JT Floyd going from Worse than Johnny Sears to serviceable but not athletic enough to stay with the real stud WRs).
This does not happen on offense. I can't think of anyone who left better than when Hoke/Borges arrived. And they're not put in position to succeed, and Borges doesn't admit error easily.
I don't understand. Every time Hoke says or does something someone "imagines" or "wonders" what would have happened if RichRod did the same.
The press treated RichRod terribly. This has been exhaustively discussed. I am unaware of anyone still denying this. RichRod also sucked at dealing with the press. This also has been exhaustively discussed. Even John U. Bacon, chief RichRod apologist, acknowlegdes this.
Is it your wish that the press treat Hoke just as badly?
Why would that be good?
Yeah. It happened and it sucked. It wasn't fair and it sucked. And it was 3 years ago.
Why do you all want to keep talking about how much it sucked.
I don't have a dog in this fight, but if I did Imight say something like "I'll stop saying things like that (three years after the fact) when people stop blaming what we are seeing on the field on what RR did (three years after the fact)".
I agree with one thing you say...If people were outraged at the way RR was treated (which I was) they shouldn't want his successor treated that way just so they can feel better. I really wanted RR to get another 2 years but I got behind Hoke pretty quickly once the decision was made, and to be honest, who the coach of this team is doesn't matter a shit to me, so long as they do a good job.
It doesn't make sense to hate on (or wish bad things for) Brady Hoke just because you supported RR and thought he wasn't given a fair shake. It isn't his fault he embodies what the more influential people in the program view as a head football coach at UM. Whether the media or fans mistreat BH isn't going to change the past, but it would definitely impact the future if all our coaches received the same treatment RR did. That environment wouldn't be good for anyone associated with the program.
I refuse to fall prey to being as unfair to Hoke as so many were to Rodriguez.
If Hoke wants to farm the offense out to an assistant, I think that's fine. But fire that OC if it isn't working. Like Rodriguez fired Shafer (and as I expect he'd have fired Greg Robinson before the 2011 spring practices).
It's in our best interests to give him another two years to see how his recruits pan out. But after five years, enough time to demonstrate to the next coach that he'll get a fair shot, if we aren't a damn strong team, then it's time to move on. No matter who is OFC.
The press treated RichRod terribly. This has been exhaustively discussed. I am unaware of anyone still denying this.
...I think there is wide agreement with what you say. Rodriguez was treated brutally by the press. And some others too. That has become well known at, and probably because of, this blog.
I'm not so sure how much widepsread knowledge there is outside of this blog.
There is a member here, "Reader 71" who is a former Michigan football player; under Schembechler and Moeller if I am not mistaken. He is a very intelligent and well-informed guy. Ask him about the Freep debacle with Rodriguez and I think he'll confirm that he and his fellow football letterwinners knew very little about the blog's scathing criticism of the Freep, and Rosenberg, and the myths and narratives that the Freep created, outside of their occasional reading of MGoBlog. I think a considerable number of them never looked at MGoBlog at all. Ask him about this. I don't want to mischaracterize him.
A large contingent of the fanbase jumped on everything he did and said and imbued it with a level of significance completely disproportionate to the actual words or deeds.
Those fans...AND the press worked together in that, to what extent inside or ex staffers did...who knows?
The point is, were the same 'forces' applying the same or even similar criteria in assessing Hoke then the same maelstrom would ensue when he makes statements such as calling fans fickle.
Dog willing Hoke plays some Josh Groban at a banquet and we can compare apples to apples.
I'm not saying we should treat Hoke the same way, far from it, but it is interesting to many, myself inluded, to compare notes about the apparent double standard at work.
comparing apples to apples, Hoke will have a three year track record of winning seasons. No matter how you spin the trajectory, that is something RR never had a Michigan.
he was run out of town too early. I firmly believe he would have had many had he been given more time and supported with a proper DC.
TBD whether Hoke will have another one. Keep in mind his came during a very fortunate year for scheduling and a low point got he Big 10. The team has gotten a lot worse under his watch.
make it a habit of comparing reality to fantasy? You can firmly believe anything you want, but reality is that your favorite HC of Arizona had a losing record at Michigan. The reality is that after three years Hoke's worst season will be at least as good as RR's best season. And, how that must gall you.
it is painful to watch the double-standard at work here....RR would have been crucified 10 times over for doing the same type of things.
almost as painful as watching AZ soundly beat Oregon and wondering what would have become of RR+Mattison (or another $600K/year DC) after a few years....sigh.
Mattison would not be here if Rich Rod was still here, he is friends with Hoke. However, if Rich Rod was given appropriate money to hire an elite DC, we might very well be enjoying Oregonian levels of success.
See Oregon and Baylor.
Not sure how you can write that the same day and not see that fans are fickle.
RR hired a good DC but didn't let him run the defense. Than he fired that DC and hired one who approached HIM about the job. Then didn't let the new DC run the defense. How does $$$ solve that problem?
if Bill Martin had ponied up more money to hire him. At least, Casteel knows how to run 3-3-5 defense and has coached nationally ranked top 10 defense (twice).
the DC he did hire was fairly green and middling at best, but with the budget at hand for a DC at Michigan being far below the norm that was what was available.
Now take the DC and hand him an extremely young and inexperienced pool of defensive players with gaping holes at certain positions and voila! You have a mess.
I would totally agree with you that one of RR's major failings as HC was to try and force the 3-3-5 on a DC not familiar with it and a defense not really able to support it. In hindsight, he should have left poor-enough alone and not ended up with GERG, who should always be referred to as death knell.
Do remember that RR was damned if he did and damned if he didn't with respect to meddling with a poorly performing defense. You can fault him for meddling, but try to imagine a beleaguered head coach under an immense amount of pressure to improve/win and were he to do nothing and leave the defense solely to the DC, he would have been roundly crucified for taking that path as well, especially since the defense wasn't actually likely to improve much without recruiting and time being part of the equation. Run on sentences, how I do love thee.
I believe his insistence on the 3-3-5 was simply an attempt to try as much as possible to mitigate the personnel problems in the same way they did at WVU, only it really never worked at M.
that is why I said '(or another $600K/year DC)' to indicate that if instead of a GERG-level budget RR was working with $600K, my guess is that we would have had many more quality options and ended up in a different place.
Can we please dispense with the meme that only Brady Hoke's folksy charm and charisma could've lured Greg Mattison back to Michigan to take over as DC? Their relationship from back in the 90's might have gotten Hoke's foot in Mattison's door, but it was Michigan's checkbook that opened it. I'm guessing that if we'd given Rodriguez a 4th year and he went to see Greg Mattison with $750K in a briefcase, I'm pretty sure Greg would've let him in his office to listen to his proposal.
It certainly is eye-brow raising to have Hoke supporters trotting out "our team is young and inexperienced" as the principal excuse for this year's disappointing performance. A reasonable analysis to be sure and one that was completely rejected by the True Blues of the fanbase 4 years ago.
What could've been had we been more patient with the program's development under Rodriguez is pretty much a moot point at this juncture. That horse is beyond dead.
Great last sentence. That's some journalistic stuff.
I feel the complaints about having to watch this team. I do, because I watch it every week.
But as a non-alum and non-season-ticket-holder, I've been paying well into the hundreds to go to games since 1999. $250 for end zones to ND '03, I believe.
The athletic department doesn't set the demand. The people do, because the program has had an unheard-of level of consistent success for 40 years. (Our highs aren't as high, yes, but the consistent level of competitiveness has been great.)
If you've had season tickets all this time, you are WAY, WAY ahead of the game.
Don't sell your ticket to the most important game of the season just because you don't like the offensive coordinator. Sack up.
The people who are doing this ARE fickle. Fuck 'em.
the market sets the price. if tickets were $100K a game, very few people would go. there is a point where tickets are TOO much. but we aren't there. and DB sees it as his job to make the most money on tickets.
i think what rubs me the wrong way is the way he's going about it.
I completely agree that if Michigan were 10-1 or 9-2, and fans thought the program was on the right track, people would 'demand' to the tickets at prices Brandon is setting. That's the assumption he used when he "dynamically" priced them (though as Brian notes, only priced them one way -- up).
However, he (and many other ADs) have priced for near-perfection. They've built palaces that people only fill at $100+ a pop if the team is very good. If the team is 7-4 (and looked ugly doing it) or 5-6 or 4-7 or etc, it's not worth their time and money.
I mean, go look at the UF/GSU game last week. I saw the "highlights" and I did a double-take -- the Swamp looked like a home Wake Forest game.
There's a market correction coming -- and it's in 2014.
The 2014 schedule alone would force a market correction. Add in a limping Michigan team on top of that? Hello Purdue-level market correction.
The athletic department doesn't set the demand. The people do...
Don't sell your ticket to the most important game of the season just because you don't like the offensive coordinator. Sack up.
Re-read your two statements and do the math: by dumping tickets (or not buying tickets), people lower the demand for tickets. Hopefully, you can figure out the rest.
There are at least two different markets: the market for original purchase of tickets from the Athletic Department (including season tickets) and the secondary market (e.g. StubHub). They are obviously not entirely unrelated, but they are different. The first market is what the AD feels directly about how much it can charge for original tickets. The second market fluctuates more wildly.
A sell off of OSU tickets might have some effect on the AD (although not really, because next year's season ticket prices have been set). People turning in their season tickets next year because there are only six home games without any premium games will have a much larger effect.
You are criticizing two statements for not adding up. However, they address two different markets, not the same market, so your criticism is overstated.
Point taken, but the lack of interest in attending a game, whenever and wherever the ticket was purchased, speaks directly to demand. His second statement implies that the consumer shouldn't negotiate the value of the ticket (i.e. selling tickets to mitigate cost), regardless of how the consumer feels about what he is purchasing. I say (and I think part of Brian's point is), even a hardcore fan needs to draw the line somewhere.
Well, look, I agree with a lot of what you all say. I'm just saying that the decision to bail on the game and sell a ticket for a loss represents a bit of an abandonment of the team while your costs are already sunk. I don't think it "teaches" the AD anything or hurts it in any direct way.
I appreciate opportunity costs and avoiding the pain of going to the game. I had my tickets on sale for while. However, I took them off because I am not willing to give them up for as little as they are going for. And I might go alone since my wife's knee may not hold up for all the walking (unless I can find someone I know without a ticket). I moved from excitement, to despair, to duty.
I think bitching about Brandon is a poor excuse for not going to this game if you already have a ticket. They are independent issues, even if selling tickets to OSU fans "sends a signal." If we were undefeated and looked great, with good chance at winning, I still would object to Brandon's tactics. As a former economics student, I understand markets and economic theory quite well. I just don't think it should minimize something that we (as UM alums and true fans) should all value highly.
Refusing to buy high and sell low . . .
Agreed re: ficklehood. The fans aren't fickle, sure. The real fans.
But that assumes everyone with tickets is a real fan. The ones who sell theirs to the biggest game, though, can be called fickle and "fair-weather."
Sure, avoid a dong punch, but maybe go a bit out of your way to sell or give it to a Michigan fan, right? There are many who would oblige. But don't give up before the game even starts.
Yeah, I think that watching the game from home doesn't make you "fair-weather". It just means that you don't have to time or the money to spend on going to the games, which have become expensive.
just to park at Pioneer.... that was my last straw
I knew something didn't sit right with me when I read that answer, now I have a larger sense of what it was.
The price chart is the killer.