You are 100% correct. But again, buckle up for year four of Al - he aint going anywhere.
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.
Anyone remember back a few short years ago when this blog blasted the MSM, radio callers and the "MLive Crew" for taking stray remarks from Rich Rod's pressers and using them as absolute proof that he wasn't a Michigan Man, didn't get it, didn't care about The Game, didn't know about any Michigan traditions, ddn't respect the fans etc. etc, etc?
Anyone remember Brain taking the lead in blasting such comments as silly over-reactions which only showed how badly people were reaching to achieve their thinnly hidden agenda of getting Rich Rod canned just because they really, really wanted someone else hired?
Anyone remember that? Yeah, me neither.
If this was sarcasm, then I missed it... Did Brian blast such comments, or did he not do that ?
You did, in fact, miss the sarcasm.
Yes, Brian frequently defended Rich after he took heat for his gaffes.
And no, I don't have the time or the inclination to do a search of past posts and include quotes to prove my point. So please help yourself. You'll probably find one or two times that Brian criticized RR for something he said and drag it out here. Cool.
None of that, however, changes the fact that this blog is slowly becoming what it once despised. it regularly obsesses over each and every word in a press conference, a freaking press conference, as evidence that Hoke or Borgess is an ignornant "pig" who needs to be fired right now. Until now, it was mostly commenters going nuts on the transcript posts. I assumed that Brian didn't like it, but felt he needed to keep posting the transcripts. Now, he has joined the masses.
And I get the feeling that this whole thing is nothing but Brian being upset that we don't run his preferred offensive scheme. How else does one explain the patience that he had for the losing under Coach Rod but the impatience with a coach with a winning record? He said himself a few weeks ago that although 2008 was worse, at least he had hope and could understand the offensive principles. Well, this offense sucks, but can't we have hope that our defense will be great and our kicking game is good? Don't we think we can make changes on offense and turn it around, the same way we hoped GERG could change the defense?
Right, but the point is, we probably won't make changes on offense, thus dooming the offense to perform below their talent level for as long as Borges is around.
My point is that this blog, and Brian in particular, has resorted to the same tactics for which he correctly blasted the anti-RR crowd.
Seriously, what kind of criticism has Hoke faced this year from MGoBlog? No one is happy with the results, but in general, Hoke has remained above any below the belt shots by staff members and for the most part the readership. People have pointed to his positive qualities over and over again (defense, recruiting).
People want to believe that Brian is being anti-Hoke, but really all I've seen in some passive shots at Borges, who deserves them, because, well, look at the results.
Yeah, you can point at this, but its more a critique of Brandon that uses Hoke's phrase - which I thought was a poor choice of words, there are a lot better ways to get his meaning across - to attack a larger point.
Again, I've seen nothing this year from the board that compares to the anti-RR sentiment that seemed to come from 50% of the members directed at Hoke. And the staff seems pretty lock-step in saying that Hoke deserves till 2015.
I cant speak for Brian but for me it's the trajectory. At least with RR's teams we had an explosive offense (which let's face it - is more fun to watch) and a craptastic defense. And the team did get better each year although nowhere near as fast or as far I would like.
Now we have exactly the opposite. A team who seemingly peaked year one and is getting demonstrateably worse each year. Couple that with an a Gerg-like OC that is defended staunchly by the HC and it's difficult for me to feel much hope for the future. I look at the schedule next year and can already pencil in three losses and fear many more.
Add in insanely high ticket prices and PSL and you have recipe for disaster IMO. Just my opinion though.
Borges is Hoke's Tony Gibson.
and others before, I'll ask again. Would you be happier if Michigan had posted a 3-9 record in 2011 followed by a 5-7 record in 2012, and at least seven wins this year? It would be a losing record but at least it would be on an upward trajectory.
I don't know about you, but I want to see what Hoke can do after we get past this hollow force team all but bereft of upperclassmen. Of course if you get your way there's a good chance that the class of 2014 will evaporate along with 2015. Predicting good times are you?
If you start off low the only way you have to go is up (btw, his wins went up, but decidedly not his defense)
When you start high, the only way to go is down.
Trajectory is important, and it looks bad so far. But to think it is the only thing that matters is fundamentally flawed.
Hoke has a BCS win. RRs best win was against ND. Sorry, even if trajectory matters, it is not the only thing.
You and I have discussed your view. I find it entirely justifiable. What I find silly is Brian Cook of MGoBlog, who rightfully defended Coach Rodriguez from the many media smears that he endured, creating a smear campaign on Hoke over something he said in a presser. Particularly because the thing that was said is true. Fans are fickle. Its demonstrably true. All of the arguments are about the product (offense) being shitty. Well, you sell the season tickets you've had for a long time, you are being fickle. Its not really a pejorative! Its just the truth of the matter.
That aside, as a lot of you know, I have been a huge Borges apologist. I've said again and again that Borges is nothing special to me, I just feel like he gets a lit of undeserved heat (to go along with the ton of deserved heat) because we don't like the offense. Now Home is feeling that same stupid misdirected heat. And its stupid. And misdirected.
I have been a longtime fan of the Michigan Wolverines, and I feel fortunate to have been present the Notre Dame game this year, having season tickets like most of you here. The opening game was a nominal victory, setting expectations for the upcoming year, but the other game against Akron began to plant the seed of doubt, which has grown and blossomed through year into a full tree of woe.
Now, we, hearty Michigan fans, have received our notices for the PSL mailing with a sense of trepidation and dread, as we wonder what the regression analysis will lead to in the future. Are Michigan ticket prices going to inexorably rise or are they a house of cards that will fall, if the Team does not win consistently.
Is the Big Ten becoming a high priced Ivy league football conference, which has little chance competing against the SEC and Pac-N (where N = the current # of west coast teams of the year)? What additional entertainment value will justify higher prices? As Michigan fans, we just want good football, winning football. How long will it be for me to replace the 2007 Rose Bowl gear with something current?
I feel your pain Brian, and the least we can do stay loyal to you as well as renew our privilege to visit Michigan Stadium with our own tickets every year. Perhaps, we should also throw in a Blu-Ray or DVD set of season 5 of Parks and Recreation.
In the immortal words of Rod Tidwell:
You are hanging on by a very thin thread, my man. And I dig that about you!!
This is awesome. Always need Maguire references.
I like the Hercules reference, but FYI: Hercules diverted the rivers Alpheus and Peneus to wash out the Augean Stables. He did not shovel them clean.
That is perhaps, the greatest first comment in blog history. Any blog. The Michigan Difference.
If Michigan fans thought they had a chance to win this game, they would not be selling their tickets.
Why don't we think we have a chance to spoil OSU's perfect season?
Because over the past month, Brady Hoke has trotted out some of the worst football we've ever seen in Ann Arbor courtesy of Al Borges' offense. Borges has beaten the hope out of Michigan fans.
Whose fault is it that Al Borges is here at Michigan?
To me "fickle" fans are those who simply don't care about the team when things are bad and then suddenly pretend like they've been there all along when the things are good. Michigan fans choosing to watch the game at home rather than sit through what appears an inevitable beatdown doesn't strike me as fickle, it strikes me as realistic. They are voicing their displeasure at the fact the OC is currently the third highest paid OC in college football and has produced one of the worst months the sport has ever seen. Its a statement. Its not like we're going to start supporting a different team or not feel the hurt of a loss or (please?) the joy of a victory. Its just not worth it to sit through even more misery, to pretend like nothing is wrong with the program when there is clearly a big problem.
A better OC and Michigan is 10-1 and stands a fighting chance. With Al Borges, what's the point?
You think these are bad losses? Being in the games to the very end? I remember Wisconsin running down our throats for an entire half. I remember Tressel kneeling down at our 5 up 37-7 because he felt sorry for us. And I remember Mississippi State crushing us in a bowl game. Fucking Mississippi State! These losses ain't even close to that shit.
You feel they are different, but they are really the same. Our defense could not stop anyone in 2010, thus we were unlikely to win anything but a shootout.
Our offense cannot score on anyone in 2013, thus we are unlikely to win anything but a low scoring affair.
Its mass incompetence on one side of the ball. The scores may look worse, but if you're down 10 with 18 minutes left and feel you have no chance of scoring another point, is that any worse than being down 28 and feeling that even if you score you have no chance of stopping anyone?
If you really feel that being in a game with a legitimate chance of winning up until the final seconds is somehow equivalent to being run out of the building then I don't have anywhere else to go for you. I get that the losses can be more gut wrenching because of the closeness, but it's no where near the futility of having no chance at all. This team is doing well in all phases except 1 and it shows in the scores.
If you are down 7 points and cannot score a touchdown, how can you possibly be in a game?
When we were down 10 points to MSU with a whole quarter to go, did you feel like we could win the game?
I do get what you're saying, one looks worse than the other, but its still the same concept.
getting your ass handed to you is so much better than losing to an inferior footnball team. Penn State, Nebraska and Iowa are inferior football teams to Michigan. Our defense simply wears out because Borges is a MORON and the D has to plat the entire 2nd half ... or worse they watch an offensive midget call plays ... 27 for 27. Negative back to back rushing games ... what a joke you are Borges.
Blow outs are much easier to deal with vs. heart-breakers anyday.
that the loss to PSU, or Nebraska, or Iowa, is worse than the blowout humiliation against Sparty? Really? Really.
like it or not Sparty plays to their strengths and makes very few mistakes. They are not beating themselves like the days of old. Yes we can still beat them ... but not with Borges ... too predictable and stubborn. Right now they are playing with confidence ... do you think Devin and company have ANY confidence left in the tank?
Penn State, Nebraska and Iowa are NOT GOOD football teams!
Wisconsin went to the Rose Bowl, Ohio State the Sugar. And that OSU game fell apart because of our turnovers. We were moving the ball at ease in the first half of that game and it should have been a lot closer going into halftime. The bowl game I blame on the guys playing for a lame duck coach.
This year, we're losing to mid-pack B1G teams. It makes a difference in my mind though I see your perspective.
Amen...preach on brother.
Sorry, Brian, but I respectfully disagree with you. Hoke is right on. People not attending has nothing to do with ticket prices. It has to do solely with the fact that they don't want to attend what may be a bad loss.
If we were winning and expected to be in a tight game with conference implications, people would attend. To me, this is the definition of fickle.
Now, if you want to argue that the fickleness is justified bc of the crap product that Michigan is putting on the field this decade, that's a different issue. Because that point I may agree with, to some extent (although to my mind, you always support your team).
I'm not going to attempt to interpret Brian's feelings or what he's exactly angry about.
And, I haven't paid for tickets to a U of M game since I was a student so, I can't exactly speak from experience.
However, looking at this from a purely rational standpoint, the odds are not in M's favor on Saturday. I hope to god they win. I really do. But deep down I don't think they will. Does this make me a "bad fan" because I don't believe they can overcome odds and statistics?
People selling off their tickets is unfortunate. Its sad. I thought the NW/OSU game was sad because of how much damn red was in that stadium. It can't feel great for the kids playing the game.
That being said, who are any of us to judge someone for why they choose to sell off a ticket? Bottom line, there is an economics to the whole thing and when all is said & done, going to a sporting event, be it amateur or professional, is entertainment and a distraction. If people have deemed that the entertainment they will derive from the event is not worth the money they will spend then they don't consume the product. And sorry, don't tell me its not a product. If it wasn't, then the tickets would be free, especially for students.
Just my 2 cents.
Remember when we worried about the collateral damage to The Game that might result from a Ohio program hopelessly crippled by Tat-gate sanctions? Good times. Good times.
I don't watch or read the transcripts of press conferences anymore so I was unaware that was said. I've had enough of the "we didn't execute" and "we have to be better in all phases" lines. Well said Brian. Breaking point indeed. You couldn't pay me to go watch that product on Saturday. Call me fare weather but I'll keep my "soul dong" unpunched, thank you. As much as I can anyway.
I think Borges should get an extension.
Hoke made another dumb move there! The correct answer is:
"I don't belive it, No real Michigan fan would knowingly give or sell a ticket to an OSU fan. This is not about money". Remember 1969!
Hoke's the man that defined failure as not winning the B1G championship. It's a lame duck season. Mathematically eliminated.
Sell your tix with no shame.
Im going to date myself with this, but reading Brian lately is like going to a Janice Ian concert.
If you buy season tickets, you are entitled to:
- A seat for all games
- The same seat for all games (except for students, but their tickets are cheaper)
- Wow experiences (I say in jest, but the MMB is not insignificant)
- The entitlement to renew for the following year
- A discount off the face value price
- Early access to buy single game tickets
- Preferential access to buy road game tickets
- Preferential access to buy bowl game tickets
- Preferential access to buy tickets for other season-ticket sports
- Ability to specify where you want to sit in the stadium (if you pay the applicable PSD). I've changed my seat several times, all you have to do is ask politely.
- Perhaps the biggest thing for me is avoiding the stress and time of having to hunt for single game tickets (more of a derived benefit than the above)
What am I missing here, regarding Loyalty? You're complaining about "access"? Why do you deserve access to watch the team practice??
The hits keep coming...Freep is reporting Peppers will take other visits after the season...which means...
It's unfortunate that in the midst of all this, the players are getting the raw deal. They're like the kids in the middle of a contentious divorce. If you were planning on going to the game this morning, you should still go. Not going affects the "kids" the most. The kids need you to be there. Don't let an inarticulate coach who is feeling the pressure of a train on his chest and who misspoke keep you from letting the players know you're behind them, and the recruits know that when they come to the University of Michigan, you will also be behind them.
You think the players are getting a raw deal? Thats just wrong.
Everything they get...the notoriety, the free education, the possible glory for the rest of their lifetime, has a price...... quit feeling sorry for the players.... they vastly net benefit, many times over, being in this program, especially the QB who is wearing #98 that was given to him without really earning it.
And how the QB escapes any scrutiny right now is precisely why we stink..... he shouldve been benched a few games ago, but everyone has been brainwashed with repetitive media blitzes of how its all on the OL or the Off. coordinator... pay focused attention, and you may realize that with a cerebral QB who doesn't cower at crunch time (like 3rd downs) and then you'll realize the biggest problem right now.
I'm not going to blame Devin because there's no viable back up. That's on the OC. And if you think people aren't blaming him, and that he hasn't been blaming himself, you haven't been paying attention. He didn't ask for the 98 jersey, they offered it. That's on the coaches.
and I get the sentiment, but I can't be pissed at his demeanor. He isn't fiery. He is who he is. It's like RR when he got hired and everyone was pissed because he did RR things. Many people ran him out before he ever had a chance. Hoke was given a better chance from the beginning, and there is significant adversity now. How he and the team respond is what will make him/them stronger, potentially. How they respond on the field is all that matters to me.
Additionally, it's a bit ego maniacal to think he is actually speaking to any of us, really. He has to be more concerned with his team way beyond any of our perceptions of him. so what he says in a press conference matters very little to me. I think he acts how he does and says what he says because it's who he is, and he cares what he says to a team that clearly has problems. He just needs to get shit right. What he says really doesn't matter.
can anyone recommend a good Michigan football blog where it's still fun to be an M fan?
When you find one let me know. I'm ready to jump ship. Look out Magnus here I come! You may be a tough grader of football talent but at least you're still a fan.
yeah, it's probably the blog's fault.
it sucks being a Michigan fan: damn that fucking blog
But regardless, here goes.
I wish I wanted to go to this game. I WANT to want to go to this game. But I don’t. I don’t want to go to this game. Call me a fair-weather fan if you want. I’ll play the stupid Fan Credential game if you want (see: Blue IN SOUTH BEND), but I don’t want to go. I’m going, but if you stripped away my fan guilt I’d MUCH rather watch it at home where I can drink and turn the damn thing off when it plays out how we all expect it to play out. I’ve been to all but one Michigan/Ohio State game at the Big House since 1999. It takes something special to get me to want to stay home.
Michigan football doesn't owe me anything. The players don't play for me, and the coaches don’t coach for me. They play and coach for each other. And I am absolutely, completely, 100% okay with that. That is how it should be. Spending your days trying to mollify a faceless hoard of onlookers and hangers-on is a terrible way to spend your days, and is ultimately futile. The throngs can never and will never be satisfied. We don’t see the work they put in. All we see is the few hours each week in which we demand they outscore their opponents for our own selfish edification. They are the gladiators in the arena. The victories and losses are theirs. We are simply the spectators.
But I don’t owe Michigan football anything either. I’m a consumer. A consumer with insane levels of brand loyalty, and who bases far too much of his life on the product, but a consumer nonetheless. Much is made of Dave Brandon’s stint at Domino’s, but Domino’s certainly understands how this works. When people weren’t buying their pizzas, they didn’t blame the pizza-buying public. They made an entire ad campaign around the idea that “our pizza sucks, sorry about that, we’ll make it better.” Dave Brandon never blamed me for not liking crappy pizza (at least not to my face). If you make it clear that you are trying to build a brand, you can’t be surprised when your customers treat it like one.
Your pizza sucks right now. Don’t blame my taste buds.
You buy the pizza when it's good, you don't buy it when it's bad. You are fickle. That's what it means. If you bought the pizza when it was bad, you would not be fickle, you would be constantly loyal no matter what.
He's not saying there's anything wrong with your tastebuds. In fact, he has said everyone agrees the pizza sucks.
but not in the way you think . . .
What your earlier post demonstrates (as well as the one here that you're agreeing with) is that you see things as black and white, with fans being either loyal or fickle and nothing in between. I see loyal and fickle as two ends of a wide spectrum. Out of the thousands of fans selling their tickets for the OSU game, there are probably thousands of reasons why they are doing so. For those who are selling simply because their preferred team likely won't win and they only want to back a winner, call them fickle. But there are others for whom the anticipated experience of this game -- in light of the whole season, the run of (largely) mediocrity that has preceded it for years, ever-increasing ticket costs, etc. -- has diminished to the point that 60 or so bucks in their pocket sounds like a better alternative than witnessing a possible beat-down by a rival. To brand every non-attending fan this weekend "fickle" is simple-minded and, in at least a lot of cases, wrong. And for Michigan's head coach to do so, when he's made a significant contribution to the problem, is tin-eared at best.