The intrepid Pardon My Take gents provided a window into the rabbit-on-speed soul of Jim Harbaugh after their interview with him last week, and I have not been able to close this tab.
Little behind scenes peak here at Harbaughs quote board. My personal favorite "aint hard being football player when your a football player" pic.twitter.com/jLMcWEEXfm
— PFTCommenter (@PFTCommenter) May 24, 2017
I have looked at these quotes. I have considered them. There are 25 of them, serendipitously. In the greatest of Harbaugh traditions I now propose to rank them, top to bottom. Then I can close the tab.
#25: Addition By Subtraction
PROS: May portend good things about Michigan's offensive line this year?
CONS: Unremarkable phrase frequently said by sane persons. Not a full sentence. Does not make me think deeply about how I can improve as a football player and/or person.
#24: Lead Like Truman
PROS: Truman was a nondescript senator chosen to be vice president largely because it wouldn't piss off too many people. He was thrust into leadership towards the end of WWII after FDR's death, and he made some brutal choices. As a "make a decision and go" exemplar there are few better.
CONS: Fred Astaire was really good at tap dancing! It was, in fact, his job to tap dance. Out of this context, telling someone they are like one of the most famous and dexterous movie stars of all time is a compliment. The whole second half of this quote is unnecessary. "Don't dither" would be more accurate and, appropriately, shorter.
#23: Fat Is The Enemy Of Speed
PROS: Accurate. Useful advice for tight ends and fullbacks.
CONS: Too straightforward to be profound. Not at all weird.
#22: I shouldn't have to pester or harass you
PROS: I mean, yeah. Spelled "harass" correctly, which I can't do on the first try.
CONS: There are a number of fairly-interchangeable scolding help-me-help-you quotes on the list that we're about to knock out in a row.
#21: I'd like to help you
PROS: "Now that's important" at the end is kind of weird, right? It sort of feels like you're in a room with your coach and he says something to you and then he starts talking to himself.
CONS: see above
#20: I actually know what I am doing.
[ED note: assumption is that the second sentence is "When are you going to figure that out?"]
PROS: Michigan has a football coach who can say this in front of a room full of people without that room bursting into laughter.
CONS: see above
#19: A fundamental prerequisite of high integrity
PROS: Well, yeah.
CONS: uppers and lowers are all over the place.
#18: Got where I am by rolling up my sleeves
[Editor's note: assumption is that this quote reads "Got where I am by rolling up my sleeves, delegating nothing, taking everything personally"]
PROS: While the delegation part can't be true, the taking everything personally damn sure is. Leaving out the "I" gives the sentence a brusque vigor.
CONS: "Personnally" typo.
#17: Change the "I" to a "E"
PROS: Scare quotes. A+ somewhat cheesy motivational quote.
CONS: Cheesy even in the coach motivational quote genre, right?
#16: We can't create, invent, or pioneer
PROS: Underline and big bolded INTERESTS provide focus on the meat of a veritable thesis statement. Excellent philosophy to keep moving in front of an ever shifting football wave. Advice literally every politician ever would be better off for taking, except then they'd get voted out of office unless everyone took the same advice.
CONS: Kind of wordy.
#15: My soul is happy wherever my body takes me
PROS: Pairs with item later on the list as a general philosophy of being places.
CONS: fills me with an ineffable sadness
#14: Do you usually get what you are asking for?
PROS: Second-best thing to say to a child on this list.
CONS: What if they say "yes"?
#13: Transform fear into anger
PROS: This is the best way to get rid of fear.
CONS: Stuck in a box with another, clearly separate quote. Not great advice if you find yourself surrounded by sharks.
#12: Solve your problems with aggression
PROS: Foundational document of Michigan's #1 defense from a year ago. Indicates that Harbaugh and Don Brown are bros to the quote-board level. Sacks!
CONS: Stuck in a box with clearly separate quote. Hopefully holds up with young safeties.
#11: HARBAUGH PYRAMID OF GREATNESS
PROS: Might say "TEAR GAS, ACCOUNTANTS, CONDIMENT, CONFLICT, TRUST." Is a Pyramid of Greatness. Explicitly states that conflict is aspired to within the program.
CONS: Might say "TEAM GOALS, ACCOUNTABILITY, COMMMITMENT, CONFLICT, TRUST." Which is fine, I guess.
#10: Don't make somebody a priority
PROS: Works equally well as romantic or crootin advice. Pithy. Kind of sounds like something Oprah would say.
CONS: Kind of sounds like something Oprah would say?
#9: Insecurity explains most of life's failures
PROS: Probably the most correct thing on this list.
CONS: The letters i and e appear in this sentence as both upper- and lowercase in the middle of words. There are two words with all uppercase I/E, one with an uppercase E and lower i, one that is all lowercase. It makes me think I am going crazy.
#8: What ifs
PROS: There is a 100% chance I say this to my soon-to-be-verbal child over and over again until he stabs me with a fork.
CONS: Got stabbed with a fork.
#7: Attack each day
PROS: Harbaugh classic that would be on the family coat of arms if such a thing existed. Unparalleled single-sentence description of Jim.
CONS: Lack of novelty somewhat dulls its impact here.
#6: Preaching to the choir
PROS: Single sentence deconstruction of the problems with political discourse in an age of disaggregation. Brutal ethering of entirety of twitter.
CONS: Could be directed at me?
#5: If you are bored you are boring
PROS: Man, you ever been on vacation and just been bored out of your mind and then gotten home and regretted that you did not take better advantage of the time given you in this unusual place? You ever been on a vacation not like that? I haven't.
CONS: Definitely directed at me.
#4: FOIA BURN
PROS: Yooooooooooooo. This is a vicious Dave Brandon burn that gets even more vicious if it's unintentional.
CONS: I can't figure out how to inject this into my soul
#3: Oh… that's as helpful as you get
PROS: If someone you loved said this to you in a high leverage moment you would curl up and die. The sheer quantity of venom in this single sentence is at "bless your heart" levels. Devastating weapon to be deployed sparingly, lest it shatter its target irreparably.
CONS: Needs a comma after "get."
#2: Aint hard being a football player
PROS: The coachiest of coach quotes. Nonsensical tautology with scare quotes around key phrase. Still makes sense, in its way. Sounds like the kind of thing old players at reunions groan in unison about. Good "aint" deployment.
#1: Who's got it better than us?
PROS: Hearing this out loud for the first time was a revelation. In an era when football is veritably haunted by the specter of the damage waiting down the road, it is a simple, joyous exclamation. Football has costs. Jim Harbaugh proposes that they are worth it, to be here in this locker room with your teammates, fists aloft.