When you get a prompt this good, you use it.
@AceAnbender can we have a special "A Look Back" GIF History section this week of different times Pat Fitzgerald has gotten ostentatiously and annoyingly pumped up in Michigan games he then lost in extremely sad-trombone fashion
— Ben Mathis-Lilley (@BenMathisLilley) October 1, 2018
As we've covered this week, Pat Fitzgerald has everything going for him to be difficult to dislike—local kid returns to alma mater in time of turmoil, runs a program that's historically bad, is funny and charming in press conferences when he's not saying batshit stuff about RPOs and communism, etc.—and yet, when you see him on the opposing sideline, it becomes pretty easy to find the guy obnoxious.
The feeling can be acute when Northwestern is unexpectedly winning and Fitzgerald goes full-blown cheerleader. Which is fine. It's fine. I'm not mad. This didn't bother me at all after one of the more miserable opening quarters in recent memory.
Definitely not mad, he said, while squeezing the remote until the battery case snaps.
Anyway, we never have to stay mad at Fitz for long, because his teams always find a way to gack it away to Michigan, usually in exceedingly comical/painful fashion.
[After THE JUMP, one man's emotional rollercoaster.]
For our purposes, at least, it started in 2012, when a personal foul on Michigan prompted Fitzgerald to display behavior normally reserved for contestants on The Price Is Right.
His self-described "knucklehead" motivational tactic briefly paid off as the Wildcats took a late lead. To make Fitz sad, Devin Gardner—filling in for the injured Denard Robinson—would have to get a Borges/Hoke offense down a lot of field in not a lot of time to have a chance at a game-tying field goal. He accomplished that with the help of Roy Roundtree and the Hand of (Angry Northwestern-Hating) God, then secured the victory himself with a gallop to the pylon in overtime before Kenny Demens put a thunderous end to the proceedings. Let's check in on contestant's row.
Fitz got demonstrative encouraging this punt before doing the Charlie Brown walk when it turned out to be miserable shank.
For a man willing to exhibit such public lack of dignity, especially in a game to that point comprised entirely of field goals, he maintained his Jaw of Grating Confidence.
Just when it looked like the Cats would finally scratch one out, Drew Dileo powerslid into our hearts, and the game-tying fire drill field goal resulted in this brutal scene.
Yes, going 0-4 against Brady Hoke as a head coach will haunt you forever, and Fitzgerald knew that before he'd officially gone 0-3.
The infamous M00N Game. What depraved soul could get any joy out of the first half?
But of course.
To Fitz's credit(?), even he couldn't maintain a facade of positivity as this game proceeded into the second half.
It eventually ended in regulation with some points on the board. This was merciful for most. Not Fitz.
There is no mercy for a man who willfully employs Mick McCall.
A shutout buttwhoopin' so anomalous in this recent stretch that the wrong Northwestern staff member—Some Guy—ended up featured in the game's most memorable GIF, when Jourdan Lewis' ganktastic pick-six blew a random staffer's mind.
This unnamed man is clearly right for Fitzgerald's staff, and I presume is still on it, since I don't think they've abandoned anyone related to the program other than burgeoning union leaders since the mid-aughts.
Do you know how fucked it is that every coach involved in this game for Northwestern is still at Northwestern.
— brockhampton osweiler (@kicknyrgios) September 29, 2018
Northwestern fandom: still better than it used to be!
Off the schedule. Fitzgerald compensates with a number of other brutal losses outside the GIF coverage of this blog.
Once again, it started well. One might argue too well, if they'd perhaps been through the experience of being repeatedly bashed in the soul-dong. Theoretically, you know. Someone who'd maybe been an All-American linebacker before becoming the coach of A Few Private School Kids' Big Ten Team. Hypothetically. He may look like this man.
You know, if he hasn't learned. Hypothetically.
You're on this blog this week. You've also been on Earth for the last several years, presumably, and still have some belief despite the bloodymindedness of a certain beloved local football program that past results are often predictive of future results. You know where this is going.
I should stop to explain, for those who haven't noticed, that gfycat assigns a random string of words as the URL for each GIF. The words appended to the above GIF's URL: ComposedFlawlessCats.
I'm worried gfycat has become sentient.
Anyway, other than losing to Actual Brady Hoke, this is pretty much the saddest way to end a football game.
All he wants to do is politely shake the hand of the opposing coach and leave the crowded field with cameras all over for a more private setting in which to unleash his frustration. Instead he's walled off by the team celebrating his squad's defeat.
Pat Fitzgerald, this is your life.