We are just a few days away from seeing one of my favorite wolverines dressing in maize and blue for the last time ever. Which makes me think of the current system that they are using to honor Michigan Legends. I think it's probably general concensus around here that Denard should infact be honored as a Michigan Legend, but would they, well lets not call it "retire" his number, but would they take it out of circulation for any amount of time? My opinion is that 16 & 32 should be put on the shelf for 4 years. I'm sure it won't happen, but it could be a long time before we see 2 players like those guys. Cheers to Kovacs & Shoelace! Now go beat those cocks!?!?
Question about the current system of honoring Michigan Legends
I wouldn't expect them to take either number out of circulation. Yes, both players hold a special place in many fan's hearts, but I just don't think they're up there with the Woodsons, Howards, Kramers, Fords, and Harmons of the Michigan Football world.
Maybe, but not Kovacs, he's had a good career but not worthy of Legend status, just my opinion. I mean we haven't done it to #2 yet, hell, I think others in the past that wore #32 have a better argument...nothing at all against Kovacs, he never even gained All-Amercian status.
Denard is not, in fact, a Michigan legend. A good QB, sure. A legend, not even close.
But neither is a Legend. We become attached to current players, but we need to have the same high standard in order to not diminish e accomplishments of players in the past.
But they're not in the category of Harmon, Woodson, or Kramer.
I also don't like un-retiring the jersey numbers, or the special shoulder patches, or all the attention paid to who's wearing #1.
Now get off my snow-covered lawn.
Isn't even the best #32 in the last 15 years.
So Kovacs before Woodson?
The question was, and maybe I threw it off by naming the 2 players.....but when we do have a legend come along, how will the honoring of that legend be handled? I'm quite sure Woodson will be soon, but is it something we are going to wait 15 years to do?
Hypothetically.......if Morris comes here and breaks every record imagineable, do we wait 15 years, 25 years? Do we wait for his grandchildren to be the ones attending the game that we honor him in? Or, is there maybe a way we can honor the great ones when they are very aware that they are being honored.
Also quite shocked by how many would not classify Denard as a Michigan Legend. Look at the record books.
Jumping the gun on a legend would be awful. Obviously their performance at Michigan is what places them in the Legends talk but how they live their lives after Michigan is what will give them the patch.
should qualify as a Michigan legend by reference to the records. His character solidifies it, and his smile cements it. Denard is Legendary.
You can't call Denard a legend based on his stats. They are great, but what has he brought to the Michigan Legacy? No Big Ten championships, no Rose Bowl bids, a losing record against our rivals (excluding Minn). Great talent and a great person, but not a Michigan legend.
Gerald Ford was voted MVP in 1934 while playing for a team that went 1-7 and were shut out in most games. Despite not adding a Rose Bowl championship, he became a legend for being a talented athlete, the embodiment of a Michigan Man and becoming President of the United States. While Denard probably won't hold to top office in the US, I would argue he's accomplished the first two and hopefully will have a successful and fulfilling life beyond Michigan and football. Given time I would not be surprised to see 16 become a Legends jersey.
the other two seasons Ford was on the team...
15-0-1, 2 National Championships, 2 Big Ten Championships
When John Navarre graduated, he held virtually every passing record in school history. Chad Henne then broke most of Navarre's records. Nowadays, if you're a multi-year starter at QB, you'll make your mark on the record books even if you're mediocre. If Shane Morris is a 3-year starter, he may well break a lot of records. Teams play more games than they used to, and teams throw the ball a lot more than they did in the past.
Personally, I think our best QB ever was Harbaugh, but if you look at the record books he no longer stands out.
Also quite shocked by how many would not classify Denard as a Michigan Legend. Look at the record books.
This is Michigan . . . the record book that counts is the team's. Rightly or wrongly, Denard's legacy is hurt by the fact that the team did not win a Big Ten title in his three years as a starter. One of the most exciting players to ever wear the winged helmet, certainly, but I don't think he'll achieve Legend status. Keep in mind, we're talking about an honor that only eight players in 133 years have received. (Moreover, one received it in large part because he went on to become President, and three others were brothers that shared the same jersey number; they may not have individually warranted jersey retirement.)
We've had, I believe, 78 consensus All-Americans. Most have not received this distinction.
i think as time goes by, what denard has done will become more and more legendary. I remember watching woodson play and didn't fully appreciate it until after it was all said and done. I agree we have much love for current players, but give it a few years to digest and we will want to honor denard. As far as kovacs goes, it is a very heart warming story, the kind you want to tell your kids about not giving up, go for your dreams.
Given that Woodson won the Heisman Trophy, I think a lot of people did appreciate what he did when it happened.
Denard's been a very fun player to watch, but he's also thrown a ton of interceptions, had a shaky completion percentage, and often struggled against better defenses. Does he deserve Legends recognition ahead of Rick Leach? Jim Harbaugh? I'm not so sure.
Never. and I love me some dilithium.
Neither is a legend. Denard is fun to watch, and a great kid, but as a QB is not among the best at Michigan. Same for Kovacs.
kovacs isn't one of the best qb's to play at michigan.
There is a reason halls of fame in major sports mandate that a period of time pass before a player is eligible for consideration. As a fan base, we would have retired Mike Hart's jersey after his last game. With the benefit of time, I see #20 as a special back in a group with Chris Perry, Tyrone Wheatly, A-Train, and Tim Biakabutuka. Those guys were all great, but none break the plane into legendary status. My guess is the same is true for #16.
We love Denard and Kovacs. But let's not be silly and confuse our current favorite players and their wildly impressive stats with "legends." Not to be mean/negative, but they don't belong in the same category as our current legends (one of which was the P.O.T.U.S., fergodsakes) and there are plenty of non-legend players well ahead of them on the list of important U of M players. They were players who were fun to watch and will always be loved by the Wolverine fanbase. But, as Hoke even said, any season that doesn't end with a Big Ten title is a failure, so that is and will continue to be a measuring stick for any player past, present and future, to even be considered as an all time great to don the maize n' blue, let alone be a "legend."
Is will they hand these legend jerseys out every year? Who will wear 87, 21, or 11 next year? Much less Ole 98? Nobody is worthy of that number IMO....
That's the major problem I have with the way they're re-issuing the numbers. Giving 21 to Roundtree or 11 to Kovacs as a way of honoring Desmond or the Wisterts unfortunately puts the spotlight on their careers, which inevitably shows how their careers pale in comparison. That's unfair to these current players who are otherwise great examples of everything we'd want a Michigan player to be. Whoever gets the re-issued #98 is going to get sick of answering the question of how they're going to measure up to what Harmon did.
If they're going to un-retire the numbers, I think they should just hand them out without special regard to who they're giving them to, like all the other numbers. I'd take the patch off the jerseys, and just put the initials of Harmon or Kramer (or whoever) on the back of the helmets in a small size and be done with it.
but I don't think there IS a proper way to award legend jerseys (legendary status itself is pretty damn tough and of course it's always going to be highly subjective).
If you you give them to a "promising freshman" then they are in the shadow of a great player, with comparisons, unneeded pressure, and without a chance to establish their own legacy.
If you award it to an mid/upper classman you run the risk of number confusion right during their starting careers and confusing fans.
About the the only way I think it can work (and this idea is not without flaws I admit) is to use it for seniors only. This way it can be used as both a recruiting tool AND an incentive for players to stay for their senior year.
As an example, take Taylor Lewan. You recruit him to Michigan and you include the chance to eventually wear Ford or Kramer (or whomever's) number while still giving him a chance to create his own history. By the time he's a junior, and a multi year starter and star player in his own right (77 would be pretty well burned into our brains even without Jake Long) you then dangle the carrot of becoming a legend and wearing the special jersy for his senior year.
Only leaders (chamoions who stay) get a chance to wear it. It also minimizes the risk that some freshmanor sophmore legend wearer who doesn't quite pan out is going to get caught selling heroin on State Street and embarass the university. By the time they are seniors, their charater is well established. Sure in Lewan's case he'sprobably going to make the best move for himself and head to the NFL, but not all will.
Denard could have worn 98 this last season and it wouldn't have really hurt #16 jersey sales.
What they are doing, however, I have always found it odd that a program that seems to hang its hat on "The Team, The Team, The Team" spends so much time on honoring current players with "special jerseys." Any ideas on who wears 11, 21, 87, or 98 next year?
Ford was a decent football player on mostly poor Michigan teams. He clearly had his number retired for his political achievement of being selected president in the wake of the Watergate scandal. I don't think his number should have been retired. The celebrtion of players should be for what they did for Michigan on the field, not what they achieve in life following football. Otherwise, you might as well honor number 10 for Tom Brady.
But comparing Tom Brady's achievements to Gerald Ford's seems to be a stretch...one was the President of the United States, the other won a couple Super Bowls...Tom is great but...
but his NFL accomplishments are legendary. Ford, was given the Presidency by default.
...to be put in a position where you are anywhere high up on the list of succession for President is one incredible hell of an accomplishment, whether it comes to fruition or not. Of course, as U of M fan, I will always spin his ascent to the Presidency in a positive light.
Ford was the House Minority Leader for many years and then was voted Vice President by Congress when Agnew resigned. He was a major political figure long before he became President (which is how he wound up in that spot). There is no point in minimizing his career.
but the 32/33 teams that Ford played on won National Championships.
Desmond Howard's last season was 1991; his number became a "legend" in 2011. That's about right--20 years after the player's last season. In 2032, the Athletic Director can determine whether #16 should have a legends patch. It really shouldn't be considered before that.
Woodson can get his legends patch for #2 in 2017--there isn't any reasonable objection to waiting until then.
The more I think about it, the more I wonder if post-football accomplishments or non-football accomplishments that reflect well on the University are a larger part of the decision on who gets honored. I don't know about the Wisterts, but Harmon was a war hero. Desmond's NFL career was pedestrian (notwithstanding a Super Bowl MVP), but he has been very successful and popular as a TV personality.
As unpopular as it probably is to voice that sentiment, I agree 100%. I don't have any political axe to grind about Ford, but his jersey retirement was totally about his ascension to the Presidency after Nixon resigned. Simply being appointed Vice President after Agnew resigned wouldn't have gotten his number retired.
He was a starter only on the 1-7 team in '34, which for my money is the single worst team in UM history. He was not an All-American, and isn't in the College Football Hall of Fame, somewhat to my surprise. I'll make an exception here to my disapproval of unretiring the other jerseys; putting #48 back in circulation is an appropriate thing to do.
I have the complete opposite view. I think his jersey retirement made more sense than any of the others. There are lots of great players, but how many college football players have gone on to become President of the United States? It's a tiny list, and almost all the others went to Army or Navy. Remember, this is college sports we're talking about. Most of these guys will eventually have to go into a different, non-sports career down the road. If there's anyone you'd want your players to emulate, both during and after college, it'd be Ford.
Sure, Ford's number was retired mainly because of his non-football accomplishments, but when you consider that only 43 men in history have become President of the United States (Grover Cleveland is always counted twice), it's a pretty remarkable honor for an ex-college football player. I don't mind making an exception here. And he was a good player, if not a great one - he's on the list of team MVPs, which puts him in prestigious company. If he'd been a benchwarmer, it'd be more debatable. But given that he actually was a quality player and then went on to become President, I think it makes perfect sense.
Even as Vice President it would have been retired, not many men can make that claim. Like mentioned above, to even have made it that close to the White House speaks for itself. Also, while not as exemplary as college football's HOF, he is in the State of Michigan's. And while being the MVP on a bad team is about like being the tallest midget, it was an award given at the time.It's debateable though, I can see your argument.
I disagree totally. I never heard one word coming from any sector of the UM community back then about retiring Ford's number prior to his becoming President. Most Americans wouldn't have a clue who or what a "Majority Leader" is, let alone whether being one merits jersey retirement at the University of Michigan.
It's not about what the ordinary guy thinks. He won some awards at Michigan and then represented the University, arguably better than any other Michigan Man EVER. His jersey was retired in 94 for many reasons besides being President.
Gerald R. Ford exemplifies the excellence that is the University of Michigan - the opening words to his video tribute at his entry into the Michigan Football Legends program could not be more true, and are all you need to know as to why his jersey deserved to be retired, and why he belongs with Harmon, Howard, the Wistert brothers, Kramer, and Oosterbaan.
A two-time national champion, team MVP, student who turned down professional sports to pursue a law degree, and consummate teammate who's leadership in the Willis Ward situation was exemplary.
He also requested Hail to the Victors be played by the Naval Band rather than Hail to the Chief. This was played at this funeral procession as well.
He was a constant supporter of the University of Michigan and it's football team throughout his life as a distinguished alumnus. I wish I could say the same about many of our former great football players.
The whole package simply adds up. And shines even brighter, especially after the last six years. Maybe that is why waiting for a prescribed period after graduation is a good thing before bestowing such an honor.
Agree with others on Kovacs - love how the guy plays, his story, etc. but he is not a legend. If he is, then there is a very long list in front of him (Woodley, Steele, Graham, Ray, Morris, Timmy B, Perry, Harbaugh, Brady, Hulk, Hart, Henne, Edwards, Harris, .... And so on)
I also doubt Denard is a legend either - I think he is close.
I think to your main question, there should be a minimum of 10 years, but 15 years seems about right. Now if a player has a Harmon type career, they probably should take the number out of circulation, but not do anything official for 10-15 years.
He has easily as many Heisman-caliber moments as Desmond Howard in his career, and with the number of individual records he has set (along with the chance to break the QB rushing record in the bowl game), he deserves it. No big ten championship sucks, but that's a team award, and our other Michigan legends didn't have to learn a new system in their career (not at QB, anyway). Given that Denard presided over the team that turned the program from the Rodriguez years into a program with a BCS bowl victory, an Ohio State victory, and a winning record against Notre Dame, Denard has plenty of team-related notables such that his lack of big ten championship should not be the deciding factor.
Most importantly, unless Michigan hires another Rich Rodriguez as its coach, there will never be another quarterback like Denard at Michigan. There doesn't have to be given the amount of talent from past (and hopefully future) Michigan teams, but a runner anywhere near as proficient as Denard with his strong arm will probably not be recruited by Hoke or used as a runner from the QB position. Before anyone mentions how uniqueness is not necessary a legendary trait, I would argue that Rick Leach should also become a Michigan legend (if they're not retiring his jersey) because his career was also prolific and whose career is memorable in its own right. I would also argue that Desmond Howard would not be a legend unless he won the Heisman, which takes more luck than skill and luck should not be a notable factor when deciding future Michigan legends.
Hopefully, responses against Denard's legend status will have more insight than "nuh-uh".
"He has easily as many Heisman-caliber moments as Desmond Howard in his career"
Except for, you know, actually lifting the trophy...
I love the guy, and I don't like to knock him, but here are some counterarguments.
Your case for him being a Michigan Legend (something that only a VERY small number of players have ever gotten, remember) involves a bunch of qualifiers (he had to adjust to a new scheme, he played for Rodriguez, his team wasn't that good, etc). For a Legend, there shouldn't need to be any of that. If you want to compare him to Desmond Howard, remember that Desmond came to Michigan as a tailback and had to learn an entirely new position (wide receiver). He played in an offensive scheme that was not necessarily designed to maximize his talents, either (we were still very much a run-first offense then) but he was so good that it didn't matter. Desmond's teams won Big Ten titles every year he was here, and he won the Heisman (an award almost never won by a WR) by one of the largest margins in history.
If you're a 3-year starter and never win the Big Ten (at a school that has won 42 Big Ten titles), that's a big knock on your candidacy. Yeah, he has one win over Ohio, but that's a school we've beaten 58 times, and the team he beat went 6-7. The two ND teams he beat each went 8-5, while the one really good ND team he faced shut him down. The BCS bowl win is a nice accomplishment, but he played very poorly in that game, and was basically bailed out by Hemingway on two prayer throws. Throughout his career, he had critics arguing that he wasn't even playing the right position. Good player, yes, and certainly very exciting. But he's not in the rarified air of a Michigan Legend.
BTW, as for us never again having a QB like Denard under Hoke, I think we have to wait and see. People keep assuming Hoke is as conservative/inflexible as Carr, and he has continually proven them wrong. I agree that he probably wouldn't have recruited Denard four years ago as a QB, but now that he's had him for two years, he may well be open to recruiting a similar QB down the road.
The knocks against Denard mostly involve the team's (lack of) accomplishments while he was the starting QB, along with his turnover rate. Given that only those with (formerly) retired jerseys and Desmond Howard have legends jersey status (remember the patch has only existed for just over a year), there should be a waiting period before Denard gets any recognition (my guess is about 20 years after graduation). My main point is that Denard's list of individual accomplishments compare very favorably with others that are already legends, so come 20 years down the road he should be given strong consideration. And Charles Woodson, who is almost a lock for the next patch given the special treatment already being given to his jersey, and someone special with #1 so they can put a legends patch on that.
I think the reason why the legends patches were given out in the first place is to allow for more people to earn number recognition. (Now special numbers can be worn by current players, increasing the pool of number to select from for players.) That would mean players whose numbers would not have been retired can now be recognized as legends. There is clearly a point where it becomes gimmicky, but the question then becomes HOW exclusive the numbers are. Like, are 10 people in 133 years of Michigan football too many? If not, are there 9 players (including the 6 currently honored) more deserving than Denard? If so, who? What are their qualifications?
How would I do it? Use a waiting period (like 20 years), then give legends patches to players that were great but very memorable (to the point of era-defining). Denard fits that profile; so does Rick Leach, Charles Woodson, and (probably) everyone else that has already been honored. Hopefully, it doesn't become too biased towards QBs and offensive players. I'd like to see Kovacs honored in a way that recognizes All-Big Ten player that started as a walk-on; sadly, I don't think you can give him a Legends patch.
Time will tell, but I'll be pretty surprised if he's considered a Legend down the road. I think you are overly focused on his career rushing numbers and not enough on his passing numbers (which, quite frankly, haven't been very good) and on the fact that really, he hasn't played well in a lot of our losses - it's not like he's delivered epic performances in a lot of them and was let down by his teammates.
In this year's ND game, he probably contributed more to the loss than anyone else. You expect more from your senior QB than zero TDs and four picks (not to mention a lost fumble). In last year's MSU game, he also played poorly. He had rough outings against ND and VT last year as well, but we won in miraculous fashion. This year, as a third-year starter, he completed barely half his attempts and had a 9-9 TD/INT ratio. As a runner, he's been terrific, but as a passer, he's left us holding our breath in fear frequently.
The Legends patches should be a very rare privilege. If you have 20 guys on the team wearing them, they become a lot less meaningful. A player with any kind of clear weakness (passing accuracy/decision-making in his case) and no Big Ten titles shouldn't make the cut.
I prefer this new system to jersey retirements
the only good thing the Toronto Maple Leafs have ever given the world
If we don't celebrate individual accomplishments then why are there plaques around the stadium honoring players who won awards?
Any player who wins the Heisman is automatically a Legend IMO. But what pisses me off is that the numbers aren't being given to players that actually play the positions that the Legend they're representing played.
I'm sure Michigan can get some kind of clearance by the NCAA to let the center wear #48. Seeing a LB wearing #48, a number worn by Gerald Ford who played CENTER is idiotic.
This is what needs to happen (or what I would like to see):
- Anthony Carter didn't win the Heisman
- Greg McMurtry didn't win the Heisman
- Derrick Alexander didn't win the Heisman
- Tyrone Butterfield did squat and left his Junior year to transfer to a 1-AA
- David Terrell didn't win the Heisman
- Braylon Edwards didn't win the Heisman
Don't get me wrong, I love most of the guys on that list and AC definitely would have won it if Bo wanted to pass more. But Desmond Howard won the Heisman. Therefore, 21 > 1.