1973 Championship team addressed Team 134 today; documentary coming

Submitted by Wolverine Devotee on August 24th, 2013 at 6:12 PM

The 1973 Michigan Football team was a special one. They bulldozed through the season with an elite defense only giving up 58 points in 10 games while picking up 3 straight shutout wins over Navy (14-0), oregon (24-0) and state (31-0) .

Most of us know how this season ended. #4 Michigan was down 10-0 to #1 ohio at halftime, and scored 10 unanswered points in the second half to tie the game. Mike Lantry missed on two FG attempts that would have won the game, sent Michigan to the Rose Bowl and possibly a claim of a mythical national championship. Both Michigan and ohio split the Big Ten title and the vote went to the athletic directors of the Big Ten to decide who was going to Pasadena. 

ohio went on a 6-4 vote by the ADs, despite Michigan outplaying them in the second half of The Game and shutting down Archie Griffin. People think they voted that way because QB Dennis Franklin was injured in the second half.  

While this was the only undefeated team coached by Bo at 10-0-1, Michigan was awarded a share of the mythical national championship by two selectors. I touched on this last year in a lengthy post on whether Michigan should claim it or not. 

Fast forward 40 years later from 1973, and the team addressed Michigan today after practice-

Also found this a few minutes ago. Apparently this guy is a director and does stuff for BTN's the journey and ESPN films-

New doc on '73 Tie Game coming soon RT @umichfootball: 1973 Michigan fball team spoke to #Team134 at the Big House. pic.twitter.com/xmFlmoaE3j

Comments

LSAClassOf2000

August 24th, 2013 at 6:27 PM ^

It sounds like a very intriguing documentary, of course, but this photo demonstrates clearly just how strong and lasting the ties in the Michigan family are. Members of a team that played for Bo forty years ago coming back to talk to today's team and share their experience on that very spot where they stand....this is a great image indeed. 

 

Don

August 24th, 2013 at 6:35 PM ^

but my disappointment was a fart in the wind compared to the team's.

It sort of sucked that OSU smoked USC in the Rose Bowl, since it vindicated the decision in the eyes of lots of people who weren't UM fans.

nicoleyoung168

August 25th, 2013 at 3:14 PM ^

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Sllepy81

August 24th, 2013 at 6:42 PM ^

entire story, being born in 81 I didn't experience, I take OSU, MSU and ND loses bad enough now I can't imagine watching and going through that.

Don

August 24th, 2013 at 6:55 PM ^

Just imagine watching and going through this:

1970: 9-1.... because of criminally stupid Big 10 rules, no bowl game

1972: 10-1... because of criminally stupid Big 10 rules, no bowl game

1973: 10-0-1... because of criminally stupid Big 10 rules, no bowl game

1974: 10-1... because of criminally stupid Big 10 rules, no bowl game

Finally the criminal stupidity got to be too much of an embarrassment for the conference, and they changed the rules starting with the 1975 season so an 8-2-2 UM team played eventual national champion OK in the Orange Bowl.

Wolverine Devotee

August 24th, 2013 at 7:09 PM ^

Just imagine how much larger the bowl streak would have been had the Big Ten not been such a drag. 

1968 would have been the start of it instead of 1975. Michigan would probably have the most bowl appearances in history if it weren't for those idiotic rules.

The 1948 undisputed National Championship team that went 9-0-0 and did not play in a bowl. 

NoMoPincherBug

August 24th, 2013 at 7:28 PM ^

Can they add an * to the streak for RR's seasons at Michigan... something like "RR Error

and then pick up the bowl streak again with the arrival of Hoke & Co (cant count the RR Gator Bowel embarrassment vs. Miss. State) ?  If Ohio can count all of their non-NCs as NC on their stadium wall...IMO this is also do able...

1974

August 24th, 2013 at 8:55 PM ^

RR's only bowl was the worst loss ever for UMich:

http://bentley.umich.edu/athdept/football/bowls/

The only thing close was the '02 Citrus Bowl (45-17 loss to Tennessee). Could we scratch that, too? The '07 Rose Bowl (down 32-11 to USC before a touchdown with a minute or so left) was pretty painful, too. Other than that, there weren't many games where they lost by many points.

Bando Calrissian

August 24th, 2013 at 6:53 PM ^

My dad still gets angry enough to nearly have a cardiac when someone brings up '73. And it started during The Game itself. One of my mom's sorority sisters brought her boyfriend, who was a student at OSU, to sit with them in the student section. The asshole didn't even make it to halftime before my dad completely lost it on him for being a total tool. To prevent an international incident, his girlfriend took him and left. And then never spoke to my mom again.

M Fanfare

August 24th, 2013 at 11:04 PM ^

I think I learned several new curse words the first time my mom talked about that '73 game. She was a senior, and after the game she and her friends started making travel plans to Pasadena because everyone assumed Michigan was going to go. And keep in mind this was 1973, so booking flights, hotels, rental car, etc. took hours of looking up phone numbers and making phone calls. After the announcement they had to call and cancel all of their reservations.

Despite scattering to the winds after graduation my mome and her friends specifically met back in Ann Arbor in 1974 for the MSU game just so they could help spew hatred and invectives at the school that bore a large part of the responsibility for the travesty that was the '73 Rose Bowl vote.

DonAZ

August 24th, 2013 at 6:59 PM ^

1973 was the year my older sister was a freshman at U-M, and was the year I "woke up" to Michigan Football.  I followed that as closely as pre-Internet age would allow.  I listened to every game on WPAG with Bob Ufer.

One of life's most powerful sentiments is a connection to history.  That's what's behind the "Team 134" label.  These 1973 players are not simply some old guys coming back to campus, they represent a link in the long chain the unwinds backwards over a century. 

The other day there was a post about the tradition to allow the players to reflect on things in the stadium at night after the last practice.  I would imagine one of the thoughts that runs through their minds is how well they'll live up to the history of the program, and how in the future people will look back on them as part of an even longer chain of history.

Denny Franklin's injury was a broken collar bone.  I suffered that twice ... same bone.  They are very painful.  Any movement of the arm or shoulder moves that collar bone and sends jolts of pain everywhere.  You can't put a cast on a broken collar bone.

Bando Calrissian

August 24th, 2013 at 7:00 PM ^

And you have to feel bad for Mike Lantry. Guy serves in Vietnam, comes back a hero, kicks for Michigan, and misses two winning kicks against Ohio State by approximately a combined three inches.

Blueroller

August 24th, 2013 at 7:20 PM ^

That was my first game. We were sitting in the end zone and Lantry was kicking right at us. One of them sure looked good… Everyone went wild until they saw the ref signaling no good. I'm almost glad I wasn't older than 13, as the full impact didn't sink in the way it would've a few years later. I remember the 75 game as worse to experience: 14-7 lead in the fourth quarter. Damn those Griffins – Archie running and his brother Ray intercepting Rick Leach. Just awful.

uminks

August 24th, 2013 at 8:01 PM ^

Only a few big games were televised. Most B10 games except for OSU were not televised. Plus we did not have the internet and mgoblog back then!

BVB

August 24th, 2013 at 8:40 PM ^

I was born in '73, but my dad (RIP) would tell me stories about that team, amongst others. I believe Staee AD had the tie-breaking vote, which only fueled Bo's fire.

WolverineHistorian

August 24th, 2013 at 9:09 PM ^

State's athletic director was a Michigan alum. And he was going to vote for blue until he was approached by MSU president Jack Breslin, who said the State players do NOT want to see Michigan in the Rose Bowl, so vote for OSU.

Don Canham had a great write up about the vote in his book. He said State's vote pissed off more than Bo. Local media and sports writers were livid after being deprived of a trip to California to cover the game.

Bando Calrissian

August 24th, 2013 at 10:11 PM ^

State's vote was a combination of residual anger at Michigan using the state legislature to deny them a medical school, and voting to keep them out of the Big 10 in the 40s. There's also a lot of rumblings that the votes against Michigan were not necessarily votes against Bo or Michigan as an institution, but the other AD's having residual beefs and personal vendettas against Don Canham. Anybody who knew Canham would tell you he was often a pretty prickly character, and did not have the best reputation amongst the rest of the AD's.

The '73 vote was a settling-of-scores amongst the AD's, no more, no less. It was inside-baseball politics, not the usual line that the AD's wanted the conference to win the Rose Bowl for once and needing a starting QB without a broken collarbone.

charblue.

August 24th, 2013 at 9:21 PM ^

fathom a time when not winning the conference championship, meant not going to a bowl game. And the outcome of that game in 1973, probably did more than people realize to hasten the day when that changed. 

But, at the time, that decision seemed criminal, and only time has softened the pain of it --slightly. Michigan wound up 6th in AP and UPI final rankings that year. 

In real terms, however, Hoke's current contention that not winning the conference  represented failure could not have been more personified by that team's effort that season or Michigan during the decade. And it also gave wisdom to the idea born in 1969 that those who stay will be champions. 

During the 70's under Bo, Michigan won 106 games and lost 18, they tied or won the conference 8 times and twice went undefeated in the regular season while only playing in the Rose Bowl once, losing to Stanford 13-12 in 1971.

When you consider this frustrating history that played itself out on the final Saturday of November in what essentially was the conference championship each year and simply became known as The Game, the bitter rivalry that always existed with Ohio intensified into a national grudge match with fans across the country picking sides. The 10-year war was college football at its most compelling best, and that 1973 game against the Buckeyes exemplifies the best and the worst of those historical battles. 

VAWolverine

August 24th, 2013 at 10:33 PM ^

Dennis Franklin was reported to be healed and throwing passes 10 days before the Rose Bowl and could have played if Michigan was selected to be there.

The vote of the athletic direcfors that November forever changed my view of MSU. Little brother then, little brother now, little brother forever.

M Fanfare

August 24th, 2013 at 10:57 PM ^

Anyone who bought HTTV this year should make sure to read the article about the Rose Bowl vote that year. It's fantastic (and frustrating as hell).

MVictors

August 25th, 2013 at 6:46 AM ^

...was worth the price of HTTV '13 alone.   FWIW here's the assumed breakdown of the vote:

MICHIGAN (4) 
* Don Canham (Michigan) 
* Bump Elliott (Iowa) 
* Bill Orwig (Indiana – former Michigan hoops and football player and assistant coach). 
* Paul Giel (Minnesota – said he voted for Michigan).

OHIO STATE (6) 
* Ed Weaver (Ohio) 
* Cecil Coleman (Illinois) 
* Tippy Dye (Northwestern) 
* George King (Purdue) 
* Elroy Hirsch (Wisconsin – played for Michigan via the V12 program from 1943-44) 
* Burt Smith (Michigan State – U-M graduate)