Jim Harbaugh's Quote Board, Ranked Comment Count

Brian May 30th, 2017 at 3:21 PM

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.

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.



PROS: Might say "TEAR GAS, ACCOUNTANTS, CONDIMENT, CONFLICT, TRUST." Is a Pyramid of Greatness. Explicitly states that conflict is aspired to within the program.


#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.



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.




May 30th, 2017 at 3:38 PM ^

It really would be beyond fascinating to just follow this guy around for a day in the Schembechler Hall offices, let alone spend a season with him.

what would Bo do

May 30th, 2017 at 3:46 PM ^

Pardon my ignorance, but what is FOIA?  The google machine brought up a bunch of stuff on the Freedom of Information Act, which didn't seem quite correct contextually.

oriental andrew

May 31st, 2017 at 9:47 AM ^

It is, indeed, the Freedom of Information Act. States have slightly different versions of it, but it essentially says that public entities are required, by law, to disclose any information requested by members of the public, provided they do not otherwise violate any privacy laws. Universities often employ FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) to avoid disclosing information to media or other citizens with the rationale that it would violate the privacy of a student. 

What Harbaugh is saying is that if you act with integrity in all areas, you have no need to worry about your records being released through a FOIA request because you've acted beyond reproach.


May 30th, 2017 at 3:52 PM ^

Isn't #18 more likely to be "doing everything personally" rather than "taking everything personally"?  I agree that it's kind of a bizarre message, but at least the whole thing is consistent...


May 30th, 2017 at 4:01 PM ^

Bookmarking this as response fodder to a variety of posts on this site.  I'll open on those bashing anyone who dares critique Beilein's recruiting success relative to the institution and won/loss record behind him with:

"Preaching to the choir is for showboats and the soft."

I Bleed Maize N Blue

May 30th, 2017 at 4:01 PM ^


I can't figure out how to inject this into my soul.

1. Write quote on stick of butter with blue icing

2. Melt in pan

3. Fill baster

4. Open mouth

5. Inject while contemplating Harbaugh to Kolesar

6. ???

7. Assimilate quote into soul


May 30th, 2017 at 4:05 PM ^

You say that as if the Harbaughs don't have a coat of arms, as if one wasn't created for the purpose of emblazoning that phrase upon it. That is not a safe assumption, I think.


May 30th, 2017 at 4:12 PM ^

reminds me of a quote my brother used to make fun of Ohio State running back Keith Byars, "If it weren't for football, I wouldn't be playing football today." I don't know if he actually said that, but it sure seems to fit.


May 31st, 2017 at 7:09 AM ^

Insecurity isn't always a bad thing.  It's telling you that you suck at something, which isn't always right.  But it isn't always wrong, either.  Sometimes, you suck, and you fail because you suck.  My personal quote is:

Nothing worth doing can be mastered in a day.

If you haven't tried something, and failed, and practiced, how can you NOT suck?  You suck and should know you suck.  I'm very insecure at basketball, because I'm only average height and can't hit a 5' jumper.  I'm insecure about basketball because I actually suck, and I suck because I haven't practiced.  Besides, I play soccer.  But I do suck at basketball, because I haven't put in the work.  This is common effin' sense.

Anyway, there are two ways to cure insecurity -- work at it and get better, or just delude yourself.  And these days, there's way way way way way way way WAAAAAY too much of the latter.  Americans can honestly use a whole hell of a lot more insecurity.


May 31st, 2017 at 1:58 PM ^

In the quote's context, I take insecurity to be a crippling mental block that holds you back from a worthwhile pursuit. Which is to say there's difference between insecurity and knowing your limits, which is what I suspect you refer to. Insecurity is what prevents you from asking out your cute classmate. Knowing your limits is what prevents you from putting on airs like you're Kate Upton or Jason Momoa at the singles mixer.

His Dudeness

May 30th, 2017 at 4:34 PM ^

Another vote against #24

Truman was fine and all, but it rightly should have been Henry Wallace who was VP turned president had he not been politically fucked over and basically R-U-N-N-O-F-T .

It is a really sad story if you are a fan of FDR and Henry Wallace (as I am) and one of the great "what ifs" in United States history in my humble e-pinon as Wallace was wildly popular before being fucked over and would have certainly been the next president of the United States.

Look it up and read about it. It's a real eye opener.

So *kind of* fuck Truman, but it wasn't his fault.


May 30th, 2017 at 4:36 PM ^

Some of them have attributions.

16 is by JH.
13 is by Don Brown.
9 is by BE(?). We must find out who this guy is.
7 is by Jack Harbaugh.

I'd bet #2 is from Mattison.