If this was an editorial cartoon, Steve Martin would have "Michigan" written all over him and the phonebooks would say "alumni." Also it would be terrible.
You know, my immediate reaction to this AnnArbor.com headline…
Former receiver Braylon Edwards impressed by one Michigan coach, down on another following busy Friday
…was "great, more people talking crap about Rodriguez." Turns out Edwards was just talking crap about Mike Hart. Well played, Bigelow. It's good to know that we've stopped taking hardly veiled shots at Rodriguez and are ready to move on—
“Just more about the tradition,” Edwards said of Hoke’s message. “And he appreciates the alums, and he definitely wants to get us involved and do everything we can to educate the players who play there now.
“Because it’s sad to say, a lot of them don’t know the tradition at Michigan. Back in the day, players knew the former players. They knew the countdowns, the titles, Hail to the Victors. I’m sure if you ask some of the kids on the team now, I guarantee there’s a couple of kids that don’t know all of the words in full.”
Son of a bitch. People are talking crap about Rodriguez not respecting Michigan's tradition at the alumni flag football game he started. In related news, this year's Tunnel Of Victors will feature a special version of the MGoBlue banner that says "F.U. RICHROD."
Meanwhile… Braylon Edwards. He should probably stop talking and doing things. When you punch some dude or say your DUI for blowing twice the legal limit was because of tinted windows or that Cleveland "has nothing" while you have a "New York-type essence" or that your teammates quit and the starting quarterback should be different and your OC is bad or that people on the football team don't know the fight song, that doesn't reflect well on yourself or "Lloyd Carr's" University of Michigan. It's one thing to take swipes at current players who might not be great at football collectively. It's another when they're awesome dudes and you're someone people euphemistically dub "controversial" or "outspoken." Because bitching about Charlie Frye makes you Malcolm X.
Mike Hart also said some things about how Rodriguez didn't value the tradition but prefaced that with a statement about how he always felt welcome back; Breaston dismissed the "he wasn't accepted" bit and focuses on winning games; meanwhile, Ron Bellamy:
“We are ecstatic,” Bellamy said. “We know it’s a process. You can’t build up the program in a year or two. You have to give him a chance to bring his guys in the right way and play football in this conference the way it is supposed to be played.”
"He has to make it work," Edwards said. "If he can't -- me being one of the alumni guys -- I want someone that can make it work. We've been patient. If it doesn't go right this year, we'll have to find a guy that can make it work with that winged helmet."
Since Michigan's tradition quickly became "screw you, Rich Rodriguez," I can't imagine why there was a disconnect there.
Who cares? We just watched a bunch of guys who essentially never beat OSU and/or quit en masse once they didn't like the head coach blame Rodriguez for the program's decline. Yeah, it declined. Yeah, Rodriguez had a lot to do with it. So did they. Jim Brandstatter of all people:
"He had a lot of strikes against him when he walked in the door and that was sad," Brandstatter said.
Whatever Rodriguez's failings were they were amplified by a culture that immediately rejected him. There was a rebellion the seniors on this year's team are pointing to as a Bad Idea. Someone sold him out to the Free Press. He was treated like garbage at alumni outings.
Meanwhile, the complainers were the reason Michigan had to go outside the family. The Great Tradition of Michigan had recently devolved into a 1-6 record against OSU and The Horror. The Great Tradition had produced zero plausible head coaching candidates to continue it. The Tradition is blaming it all on a scapegoat instead of manning up and looking in the mirror. They are collectively Edwards blaming his 0.16 BAC on tinted windows.
That's not a good way to run anything. Without a serious analysis of what you did wrong other than "hire that outsider," with how your culture is messed up, you become Notre Dame. Someguys were willing to be active with the program over the last few years and plenty more didn't sell it out publicly; the decision not to speaks to the player, not Rodriguez.
Carr's former players aren't the program. A subset of them think it's about them, but it's about Denard and Molk and Martin and Kovacs, the ones who stayed and worked hard and were emphatically not champions thanks in some small part to people like Edwards. Van Bergen:
"You know, it's just kind of unsettling that there's … it's great that they're back, but it's kind of, where have they been the last two or three years?" Van Bergen said. "We've still been wearing the same helmets since they were here."
Despite what they think, the alumni are just fans now. It's hard to imagine a big chunk weren't the loathsome sort glorying in a season-ending blowout.
So you'll have to excuse the rest of us who stood in those stands during the Fandom Endurance III game and are terribly sad about how the last three years worked out: we've got a phonebook to care about instead of Braylon Edwards's glorious return to the program.
[ROTE DISCLAIMER THAT WILL BE IGNORED: This is not a defense of Rich Rodriguez. Rodriguez should have been fired. It is not a criticism of Brady Hoke. I wrote a big long post about how Hoke's three non-MAC coordinator hires constitute a real reason for optimism. Early indications are this staff is taking advantage of the opportunities placed before them in this year's recruiting class, and with what's going on at OSU the hypothetical ceiling on the program could blow off.
I look forward to this being interpreted as an attack on Hoke in the comments. Bring it, reading comprehension failures of America.]
I don't have anything meaningful to say on the topic that hasn't been rehashed 50,000 times previously by others. I'm not opposed to defenses of Rich Rod and I don't particularly care if this is one, I just thought it was funny that the tag says it's a defense of the coach and then the post explicitly denies it.
From the many of us who supported the team under Lloyd, supported the team under Rodriguez, support the team under Hoke, and will support the team under the next regime whether it's in three years or twenty-three years. And from the many of us who can see shades of distinction and nuances (different tints, if you will, Braylon).
Please continue to do thoughtful and occasional battle against the seemingly tireless forces of asshattery who are so giddy that their malevolent wishes seem to have aided in the self-fulfillment of the prophecy of The Downfall of the Tradition-Wrecking Hick. One can only hope that karma manifests itself in their life in some potent form, and soon.
This isn't about Rodriguez, or Hoke, or Carr, or Brandon
and it's a mistake to reduce it to that. It's about us. Michigan alumni and alumnae, fans, and so on. We should be better than this. We shouldn't need to scapegoat RR or anyone else, to denigrate one person to elevate another. We shouldn't need to blame anyone or anything. We're MICHIGAN! We're above this kind of crap, or we should be, anyway. That's what I got out of Brian's post, anyway.
I don't claim that this is an original comment because I've seen others in this comment thread voice the same sentiment, and I pray you listen, Mr. Cook:
You're totally right, Brian. It is now time to move on.
You are thinking like an engineer or a lawyer about an emotional issue. You are applying rational review to something people feel passionately about. You will never win and you will draw out the conflict by continuing to make posts like this.
In that spirit, let's not forget Rosenberg and the @#$%heads at the Freep. As many have correctly noted, Rodriguez did enough BY HIMSELF to get fired. That doesn't mean Rosey et al. should be excused. They should be punished.
It's getting to the point for me where I just loathe every time Braylon's name pops up on here, because it's like a batsignal spotlight for everyone who still wants to turn this whole thing into some culture war over Rich Rodriguez and Lloyd Carr.
At what point do we stop arguing about this stuff and just talk about, you know, football? At what point do we just close the book on RR and embrace the fact that it seems everyone is on board this time?
This is getting tiresome. Do we want to go back to the days of lacking support from alums and negative media attention? Can we please just embrace that things are better and move on? I don't understand why this is a fight people are trying to win.
He isn't hoping for Michigan to fail but there is a part of him that could accept it if it meant that we can get past this stupid "Michigan Man" meme that has seemingly become a detriment to our program's evolution.
And I think a fairly large number waiting to pounce on "I told you so". But if you want overt examples, I hate to call out names, because that wasn't the point, but I know of one (and can think of some insinuations from others) who have said they'd root for Rich Rod's Clemson team vs. Brady Hoke's Michigan team (imaginary game).
Edit: And it wasn't me who neg'd you. I thought it was a fair question, thus the answer.
So, you want us to be like hmmmm, Boise State? A team that really doesn't have any tradition at all except playing on a ridiculous blue fucking field?
And what kind of fan of the University of Michigan actively wants their team to fail?? I think a fan like you is much worse than Braylon Edwards who may have said a few controversial things but still gave his sweat and blood to the University.
"They will meet a dastardly fate here for that! There isn't a Michigan Man who wouldn't like go out and scalp those Buckeyes right now."
And it's not even about "fair" or "unfair," both of which are rather unquantifiable terms.
Snyder and Rosenberg never missed a tackle. Braylon never made Gerg run the 3-3-5. At the end of the day, if RR is successful on the field, if Michigan beats, say, Toledo, if Michigan needs less than a basketball score to beat Illinois last season, if Mississippi State and Wisconsin don't completely jam it down our throats in the most merciless way possible, Rodriguez keeps his job.
This was about wins and losses, and turning it into a flamewar about whether or not people were "fair" is just a red herring. Things weren't working. It didn't appear to many people, most notably the people making the decisions, that things were going to work. Thus, new direction.
It's time to move on and quit rehashing "fair," "unfair," newspapers, alumni, etc.
Seriously let it go at this point RR haters and RR lovers. One of you won. One of you lost. It's gotten frankly childish on both sides of the argument. That's right, you're childish if you're still arguing that RR got shafted. Ofcourse he did! Now move on. You're childish if you're still arguing that RR was the worst thing for Michigan football ever. Ofcourse he was! But he don't coach here. The end.
To top it all off there are people complaining about Brian posting a relevant and reasonable for discussion topic on the blog he owns. If you don't like it don't read it. There's plenty of other great information on this site thats non controversial and it may even have video. His only point here was that a portion of the alumni base did not support RR at any point in his coaching career. This is well documented. All the people clamouring for evidence of this have either very short memories or recieved a traumatic brain injury recently.
You're absolutely right about all of this. Let's see how the season plays out. Maybe things have changed, maybe not.
At the end of the day it is not the goal of this institution to have a football team that wins national championships. The Big Ten and more specifically tsio is it. Hopefully we at least get back to that and people shut up a bit.
I supported Lloyd Carr. I supported Rich Rod. I support Brady Hoke. I support the players who played for all of those coaches and wish them well. It would be great if there weren't people who undermined other people (no names needed, insert your own as you like). Unfortunately this is not always the case.
Moving forward, I will continue to support our coach and our players. Everything else is just stupid. Nice post, Brian.
Here is my issue with Brian's view on the former players:
If it were 1 or 2 players who made comments that could be interpreted as anti-RR, it would be easy to dismiss it. But, there have been many players who have made comments of this ilk. As the number of players start to pile up, you have to ask whether this is all on the players or if there was something that RR did to piss these guys - who all undeniably love Michigan - off. Sure, some probably duid not like RR just because he was an outsider. But, I also believe that RR did not embrace the M traditions as much as many of the former players - and many alum and fans - would have liked.
On another note, I don't really like the whole trashing Braylon because he expressed an opinion that can be construed as anti-RR. Braylon played for Michigan, and played damn well. He has shown a love of all things Michigan, and haseven put his money where his mouth was with his #1 Jersey endowment. (disclaimer: Braylon is far from perfect. I know that).
I just don't understand the constant defense of RR on the "traditions" / "former players" issues. These guys have far more access to the program than any of us. If they feel that RR didn't really embrace the traditions and the former players, then I tend to believe them.