The New Phonebooks Will Save Us

Submitted by Brian on April 19th, 2011 at 12:31 PM


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 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.”

Edwards before last year:

"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. Some guys 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. stonum-doom

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.]



April 19th, 2011 at 8:16 PM ^

Good voice ... check.
Plays her own instrument ... check.
Possesses qualities prized by the superficial man ... check.

But it just doesn't all come together for me.  I don't hate all R&B, I just think a lot of her songs are pretentious and cheesy as hell.  I haven't respected her since that damn "No One" song or whatever it was called, from 2008.  All of her songs get overplayed too, so even the ones I kind of like (e.g. Empire State of Mind) start to piss me off after a while.


April 19th, 2011 at 12:39 PM ^

Well said Brian. Braylon is a liability as a representative of the University of Michigan. What a screw up he has become. For all the great things he did while he was here, he sure threw the university under the bus when they made a decision he was not happy with.


April 19th, 2011 at 1:17 PM ^

... so I never understood the fascination with Braylon.   

I think the guy is so far from what I envision as a Michigan Man.  Has he done some good for the school?  Yes.  Do I want him representing it, no. 

Give me AC, Desmond, or Jason Avant any day over Braylon and his MSU heroics. 

I 100% agree with everything in Brian's post, and by association your thoughts on Braylon. 


April 19th, 2011 at 1:28 PM ^

Don't forget Charles. The guy is a champion on every level, a locker room leader, does great things in the community, and is a class guy all the way. I wouldn't have even known he was there were it not for the pictures a few people posted. Meanwhile Braylon is giving guys headline material and acting like he's the king of Ann Arbor who will knight somebody with his precious #1 when they prove their worthiness. I wonder how he's going to take getting ditched by the Jets.


April 19th, 2011 at 12:40 PM ^ this point, I think it's safe to say that when it comes to the subject of RichRod, M tradition and support/lack of support, you will continue to be disappointed by former players, alumni, fans, students, current players more than you will be heartened. And you would be right.

Case closed. Move on.

lexus larry

April 19th, 2011 at 12:58 PM ^

You're right, but man, that wound is just RAW.  Looking at the comments from MGoJen yesterday, others in recent days, this alums of our great university, it's painful to think that the ideal of the mythic Michigan Man or Michigan Woman is embodied in the over-reported bleatings of a primadonna WR.

As someone else suggested, please Dave Brandon, hand BE his money back.  Nothing would serve the AD better than to lose that punk, his money and his mouth.

As well as all the other "Michigan Men" who thought "The Team, The Team, The Team" began and ended with them...placing themselves above the team while pointing at RichRod and saying no one is above the team.

Tiring.  And tiresome.

(As, no doubt, Ornery dog or Dah bum will be telling me shortly.)

Standing by to pay my season ticket money, like good sheeple do...


April 19th, 2011 at 1:09 PM ^

...the sentiment behind your prescription for the Braylon Edwards issue. The problem is that Edwards is, how do you say, kind of a big deal when it comes to fundraising and while we may not necessarily like it, he's probably very influential with a very large number of fairly recent former players. It's probably best not to foment that sort of controversy.

 It would be nice if Brandon would take Edwards aside and tell him that such comments are counterproductive. These guys need to start toeing a more measured corporate line when it comes to such questions.


April 19th, 2011 at 1:26 PM ^

I like you think it would be nice to stop talking about it.  However, every time Braylon opens his mouth about something somebody has to make a new thread. Then when somebody has the audacity to point out that Braylon is the furthest thing from an ambassador of UM everybody freaks out.  I'm quite honestly embarrassed to have alums like him representing the university and I'm surprised more people don't feel the same way. I'm glad Brian finally said it.


April 19th, 2011 at 3:23 PM ^

...right. It is embarrassing when he opens his mouth.  As one of the more prominent former players and one who aspires to leave a lasting legacy at the University of Michigan beyond memories of his gridiron exploits (see his various U-M philanthropic efforts), Edwards needs to realize that these things don't give him license to say whatever pops in his head.

Instead, he's bought himself an extra burden to act in concert with "the message".  And he needs to understand that he doesn't get to set "the message", MSC and DB do. That's the price he has to be pay to ensure that the influence he desires matches the outsized donations he makes or facilitates.


April 19th, 2011 at 12:46 PM ^

"The Tradition" was 1-6 against Tressel, not 1-5.  I think you've missed this number before Brian so thought I would point it out again.

Also: "Because bitching about Charlie Frye makes you Malcolm X."



April 19th, 2011 at 12:48 PM ^

Caveat's away Brian, but I'm guessing there will be a vocal contigent of the fanbase (as well as here) who will still take issue with anyone defending that alum-hating, all sizzle-no steak, new-fangled offense former NON-MICHIGAN-MAN RR. 

I've already called the Internet Fire Department (aka some youtube clips of elephants drinking from a river) to be on guard for the inevitable flame war that will erupt.

BTW - totally agree with your take here.  I've not been a fan of Braylon since he started being an entitled jerk at Cleveland, and here in NYC he's viewed as a bit of a pariah who is a solid #2/#3 WR who drops the ball too much and who thinks he is a star when he hasn't sniffed a Pro Bowl for years.  I'll never forget what he did at UM, but he needs to stop acting as if he is the official mouthpiece for the University.  At this point, Brian would be a 1000% better representative for the school, and has a better beard than the Tribble Braylon has one his face.

El Jeffe

April 19th, 2011 at 2:03 PM ^

Let's see if this works:

  • He is a Michigan Man = Michigan Man
  • He is a non-Michigan Man = Not Michigan Man
  • He is a former non-Michigan Man = Michigan Man
  • He is sarcastically a former non-Michigan Man = Not Michigan Man

QED, RR is not a Michigan Man. Whew! I was starting to worry that he was!


April 19th, 2011 at 12:49 PM ^

RR didn't do "enough" (whatever that means to M alumni) to integrate himself into the Michigan tradition.

It's almost a given that RR was treated poorly because he wasn't a "Michigan Man" and that Brady Hoke is getting undeserved love because of it. Let's assume that is true.

I'm not an insider and don't know what/ how much RR did to integrate himself with the State of Michigan or with former players or with the "tradition". From reading these articles, it seems like he really didn't care or do much for the softer side of being a M head coach. However, like I said, I don't have inside information to know for sure.