OT-Retired Numbers?

Submitted by Mr Mackey on January 23rd, 2011 at 4:34 PM

This is my first MGoBoard thread discussion - type thing, and I just want to start off with GO BLUE! 

But as I'm watching the Packers / Bears right meow, I just think back to how amazing (a-MAIZE-ing?) Charles Woodson was when he played for Michigan. Not to take anything away from his pro career, but what he did in college was pretty epic. 

Which brings me to my question. I haven't heard anything about it, but when will #2 be retired for Michigan Football? We have #11, #47, #48, #87, and #98 retired already, all of which are great players, but Woodson could arguably be better than any of them (except perhaps Harmon). 

Are we waiting for his pro career to finish before we can honor him? And that being said, what about Desmond Howard? I have no idea who would make these kind of decisions, but it sure seems like Woodson definitely deserves to have #2 retired. 

Your thoughts on #2 or #21 being retired? Also, is #48 retired purely because Ford was president, or did he actually deserve to have the number retired?


Hardware Sushi

January 23rd, 2011 at 4:57 PM ^

Are you being sarcastic or serious about Woodson/Des not being dominant enough? Possibly I misunderstood what you meant?

I can agree with football administration if they want to retire the practice of retiring numbers. But if 2 and 21 aren't retired due to lack of performance, then I'm baffled about what kind of performance would merit retirement.


January 23rd, 2011 at 9:12 PM ^

and 2 of them are bad.

Do you realize how ridiculous it was that the outcomes of throws against Woodson were of about equal probability in 1997? 

Just sick. Water covers 70% of the earth.  Charles Woodson covers the rest.


January 23rd, 2011 at 4:54 PM ^

We've only retired one number in the last 30+ years, and that was for a guy who went on to become President.  Personally, I think it's a bad idea.  There are a limited number of numbers available, and college careers are just too short.  Your average college superstar starts, what, two years?


January 23rd, 2011 at 5:04 PM ^

Ford started at C and LB for undefeated Michigan teams in 1932 & 1933, is the only US President to have tackled a Heisman Trophy winner (Jay Berwanger, the first Heisman winner), and he played on the 1935 Collegiate All-Star football team.

To top it all off, as President, he had The Victors played prior to state events, rather than Hail to the Chief.  The Victors was also played at his funeral at the US Capitol.


All of this from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerald_Ford

His number was retired largely because he was president, but still, he was a damn fine football player by all accounts, and he did much for the school.

As a Grand Rapids native, I'm proud that UM retired his number.


January 23rd, 2011 at 9:44 PM ^

His childhood home is 2 blocks from where I grew up.  My grandfather was a year ahead of him in HS.  He was our congressman for years.  And he belonged to the same country club as my family.  He also wrote my brother a letter of recommendation to get an internship on Capitol Hill.

I'm certainly proud of him as an American, a Michigander and a UM alumnus and fan.

But I'm also proud of him as he's the only GR native be elected President (and to have his number retired at UM).


January 23rd, 2011 at 11:31 PM ^

My grandfather was also at South and graduated at the same time as Gerald Ford.  Our whole family has always felt a connection to him, even those who were born after his presidency.  We even passed it on to our German exchange student, who may not be able to name all of the US Presidents, but she can definitely name the 38th.

Section 1

January 23rd, 2011 at 4:57 PM ^

At a dinner I attended where Brandon spoke, somebody asked this question and the whole group murmured like it was a great question and an important topic.  So clearly, a lot of other people think this is a big deal to get sorted out.  I never did.

I can tell you what Brandon's answer was:  He is actively thinking about it.  People have raised the issue with him enough, that it is on his active radar.  And his stock answer is, "We have a large number of sports, and there has never been any organized criteria for number-retirement in any of them.  There's no process; no rules.  Basketball did what it did whenever it wanted to.  Football did whatever it did, in ancient history, and of course uniform numbers are rather precious on a roster with kids already doubling up on lots of numbers.

I suspect, that whenever the Athletic Department sets up some sort of protocol or committee for number-retirement, they will immediately feel the need to regularly retire some of those numbers, like admitting baseball players to the hall of fame.

I personally like the Justice Potter Stewart philosophy applied to number-retirement.  We'll know it when we see it.

I'm not much in favor of retiring Desmond's #21 or Woodson's #2, but that's just me.  It's nothing whatsoever against Desmond or Woodson.  I was alway curious about how Ron Kramer's #87 got retired.  One really great cocktail party at a golf club is my guess.  The Wistert brothers' #11 was always one of those odd historical curiosities never to be questioned, like how the right field overhang at Tiger Stadium could snare catchable deep fly balls, or why the Lions got to play on Thanksgiving.

And yes, Ford's #48 was retired only after he became President of the United States.  When he was a hardball Republican Congressman trying to impeach Earl Warren, nobody was thinking of retiring his football jersey.

Six Zero

January 23rd, 2011 at 5:07 PM ^

But we've all heard that one of the things holding up Woodson was that he never graduated.  I'm not sure if that's truth or speculation, but it sounds logical enough...


January 23rd, 2011 at 5:27 PM ^

Instead of retiring jerseys, we should give certain numbers to people who are like the people we want to honor (like #1 to an outstanding WR or #2 to an excellent corner, as someone stated above).


January 23rd, 2011 at 5:59 PM ^

I'm down with turning numberss of great players in to hard-to-get jersey numbers.  It's motivation for the players and keeps the sweet numbers's on the field.  If we were to retire anyone's, I'm sure Brayon's 1 and Woodson's 2 would be gone.  I couldn't imagine never seeing those numbers on the field again.

Miller, Rountree, and Stonum have all expressed interest in #1, motivating them all to compete and get it.


January 23rd, 2011 at 6:09 PM ^

Michigan Hockey doesn't retire numbers at all, which I always though was kinda weird since hockey has a pretty established history of retiring numbers (in the NHL). They don't even assign numbers higher than 40.

As for Woodson and Howard, they were good, but not enough to get their numbers retired, IME. The historical guys are already retired, and that's alright, but someone would need to be legendary to get his number retired. 

Part of retiring numbers isn't just one good year, but a record of longevity and commitment to the team. The only player I think deserves a retired number from recent times in all of college football would be Tebow--he started for 3 years, won two MNCs, a Heisman, and everyone talks about how great a guy he is. I can't come up with anyone else who was special enough to get a retired number. It would be an interesting discussion, though.


January 23rd, 2011 at 6:26 PM ^

Anchored one of Michigan's best defenses ever, giving up only 114 points in 12 games. Led Michigan to a share of their only National Title in the last 60+ years.  First and only primarily defensive player to win the Heisman.  Key plays in big games, interception in the end zone at the Rose Bowl, punt return for touchdown against OSU (also a interception return for a TD against OSU? - I was at the game, I think so).  Jumped a zillion feet in the air to intercept a pass at MSU.

I have followed M football for around 30 years and he was the most legendary in that time frame in my mind.


January 23rd, 2011 at 7:59 PM ^

I personally would like to see some recognition of the already retired numbers in the stadium. There must be a way to tastefully display the names and numbers of guys like Harmon, Ford, Schembechler, and Yost on the massive blue facades at the top of the suites. Maybe even some of the bigger accomplishments like Big Ten titles and national championships but nothing more than that.

Section 1

January 23rd, 2011 at 11:42 PM ^

No, no, no.  Did I say, "No"?

This craptastic idea comes up every once in a while, until somebody says "No" about a dozen times in rapid succession, and shows some pictures.  Here's tonight's festival of craptitude:


Note that while Clemson probably got a good deal on plastic letters at Home Depot, they probably had to pay custom prices for the gigantic plastic porkpie hat.  Because nothing says, "We really wish we were Alabama" like a gigantic porkpie hat.


Of course Lavell Edwards Stadium merely continues the grand tradition of Provo, UT architecture.  Provo is the Paris of Utah, in case you weren't aware.

There's this handsome landmark in Tennessee:

But more than antyhing else, some nice stick-on lettering would help our stadium look much more like that one down in Columbus:


I think that's just about enough of that.


January 24th, 2011 at 12:18 PM ^

And given that we've won 42 Big Ten championships, and claim 11 national titles, there is no possible way we could fit all those years on the structures in anything resembling a tasteful manner.  Let's keep the simplicity.


January 23rd, 2011 at 8:21 PM ^

I agree with some previous posters that along with #1 for receivers, reserve #2 for corners who come through and are worthy. No one's going to be as good as Woodson but guys that show All-American material should get it. Leon Hall would be the last worthy candidate in my book, for instance.

You can honor the number without getting rid of it.