Pete Thamel with all the hot takes on Harbaugh post-Media Day

Submitted by Leaders And Best on July 26th, 2017 at 10:30 AM

Pete Thamel is the worst. I don't even know where to start with this column. He even takes issue with Harbaugh not wearing a suit to Media Day and thinks it was a publicity stunt.

https://sports.yahoo.com/will-jim-harbaughs-antics-wear-michigan-keeps-coming-short-big-ten-023331534.html

EDIT: Added the highlights (or lowlights) for those wanting to avoid the clicks:

1. The introduction:

We are living in the Golden Age of Harbaugh Infallibility, an era devoid of media skepticism, lauded through self-promotion and defined by the inevitability of Michigan football domination. Jim Harbaugh can say whatever he wants, wear whatever he wants and act however he’d like with complete impunity, feeding his relentless attention addiction one tweet at a time.

That, of course, is not the reality surrounding Michigan football heading into 2017. Just the feel. The reality is that Michigan projects for a third consecutive third-place finish in the Big Ten East, Harbaugh’s third consecutive loss to Ohio State and another season spent futilely chasing what Michigan feels is its rightful place atop the Big Ten. The reality of the Michigan program is that the Wolverines have lost three of their past four games, need to replace 17 starters and lost a program-record 11 picks to the NFL draft.

Harbaugh can hang out with Judge Judy, sleep at a recruit’s house and call out opposing programs and athletic directors for NCAA misdeeds. He can attend WWE events, coach first base for the Tigers and take his team on an overseas field trip to Rome. We know all that. We’ve seen him tweet about it, heard about it on his YouTube channel and been subjected to breathless 24-hour coverage of his every move.

2. "Reasonable" standards for year 3 of rebuilding a program in arguably the toughest division in college football:

Here’s a reasonable standard that Harbaugh is unlikely to live up to in year three – that of Penn State’s James Franklin and Ohio State’s Urban Meyer. Franklin won the Big Ten last season in his third year in State College, an impressive feat considering he took over a program decimated by NCAA sanctions. Ohio State won a national title in Meyer’s third season there, and Meyer also took over a program weighed down by NCAA sanctions.

3. Harbaugh "ducks" Thamel's question?

Harbaugh was asked pointedly by Yahoo Sports if all his attention-seeking efforts left him exposed for criticism with a young team. Let’s just say he didn’t exactly strap on his “iron jock strap,” to borrow his most creative media day phrase, to answer. In fact, he ducked the question with an enthusiasm unknown to mankind.

4. Thamel rewrites Harbaugh's coaching history:

The purpose of this column is to serve as a reminder that the data points from his two previous stops show that there’s a shelf-life for the schtick. No member of Stanford’s athletic department would trade David Shaw for Harbaugh straight up, as Shaw continued Harbaugh’s winning momentum without any of the day-to-day headaches. And Harbaugh’s tenure with the 49ers ended so badly that they sacrificed the immediate future of the organization to get rid of Harbaugh. This isn’t to give the incompetent leadership and ownership in San Francisco a pass, but rather to point out that no team in recent NFL history has gone through greater lengths to undermine their coach.

5. The conclusion:

As Harbaugh enters year three at Michigan, his act continued by showing up at media day wearing a Michigan hat and Jumpman sweater. His coaching colleagues wore suits and sport coats. It was another stunt for attention, which will thankfully be diverted to the field when Michigan opens against Florida in Texas. That’s the start of Harbaugh’s tricky equation of keeping the on-field results matching the off-field bravado. There’s no ducking the caliber of teams Harbaugh needs to leapfrog in the Big Ten, and the truth of Michigan’s reality will soon unfold in the most honest manner possible.

Comments

Leaders And Best

July 26th, 2017 at 10:39 AM ^

We are living in the Golden Age of Harbaugh Infallibility, an era devoid of media skepticism, lauded through self-promotion and defined by the inevitability of Michigan football domination. Jim Harbaugh can say whatever he wants, wear whatever he wants and act however he’d like with complete impunity, feeding his relentless attention addiction one tweet at a time.

That, of course, is not the reality surrounding Michigan football heading into 2017. Just the feel. The reality is that Michigan projects for a third consecutive third-place finish in the Big Ten East, its third consecutive loss to Ohio State and another season spent futilely chasing what Michigan feels is its rightful place atop the Big Ten. The reality of the Michigan program is that the Wolverines have lost three of their past four games, need to replace 17 starters and lost a program-record 11 picks to the NFL draft.

Harbaugh can hang out with Judge Judy, sleep at a recruit’s house and call out opposing programs and athletic directors for NCAA misdeeds. He can attend WWE events, coach first base for the Tigers and take his team on an overseas field trip to Rome. We know all that. We’ve seen him tweet about it, heard about it on his YouTube channel and been subjected to breathless 24-hour coverage of his every move.

Now it’s time for some actual wins to go viral, as 2017 is the year where Harbaugh’s biggest challenge will be Michigan’s on-field production matching its coach’s off-field profile. Here’s a reasonable standard that Harbaugh is unlikely to live up to in year three – that of Penn State’s James Franklin and Ohio State’s Urban Meyer. Franklin won the Big Ten last season in his third year in State College, an impressive feat considering he took over a program decimated by NCAA sanctions. Ohio State won a national title in Meyer’s third season there, and Meyer also took over a program weighed down by NCAA sanctions.

So what’s in store for Harbaugh in year three? In speaking about the maturation of his young roster, he offered a solid synopsis of what to look for in the program: “It happens on the football field, in the most honest manner possible. The truth must be told when you step out on the football field. You can no longer bullcrap or e-mail somebody. You’ve got to go out there and actually prove it.”

M-Dog

July 26th, 2017 at 11:00 AM ^

All these douchebags that are desperately trying to get Harbaugh to leave college football know that 2017 is their last chance to even bring the topic up.

They are out in force, but their days are numbered.

 

TrueBlue2003

July 26th, 2017 at 8:13 PM ^

Harbaugh out of college football?  Only if he was an NFL reporter would he want that, because love or hate him, Harbaugh is a story and stories are the only things reporters care about. I can just picture Harbaugh in his best Jack Nicholson going "you want me on that sideline, you need me on that sideline."

Harbaugh understandably has more haters than supporters, as one would when one coaches a single team with success that is a threat to the other 129 (or whatever) teams whose fans will dislike you the more successful you are.  129 > 1.

So he's going for the hater clicks.  It's not a dumb strategy, per se, especially if you're a hack writer like he appears to be.  This story is a disastrous mess of hot takes and is purely a troll job.  But again, that's what gets mindless clicks these days.

Feeding haters is what most "journalism" has become. Too many people reward it. *SIGH* (thankfully this site provides quality insights that are ever more rare in sports journalism and journalism in general).

war-dawg69

July 27th, 2017 at 6:49 AM ^

Harbaugh was way more civil with this weasel than I could have been. The only response to his obvious venomous question from myself would have been something like FUCK YOU!!!. This guy has a over the top hatred for Harbaugh for some reason. Did he even ask a question?. It sounded more like I don't like your antics, you or your team and I hope you don't win any games ever. How is Harbaugh suppose to respond to that bullshit?. In the simplest terms the guy is little hater and just needs his ass kicked. I am all but positive it crossed coaches mind.

Everyone Murders

July 26th, 2017 at 10:39 AM ^

I may have actually lost brain cells reading that.  The nadir of his argument (emphasis supplied):

Here’s a reasonable standard that Harbaugh is unlikely to live up to in year three – that of Penn State’s James Franklin and Ohio State’s Urban Meyer. Franklin won the Big Ten last season in his third year in State College, an impressive feat considering he took over a program decimated by NCAA sanctions. Ohio State won a national title in Meyer’s third season there, and Meyer also took over a program weighed down by NCAA sanctions.

I'm not sure he knows what a "reasonable standard" is.  In fact, I'm sure he doesn't know what a "reasonable standard" is.

Leaders And Best

July 26th, 2017 at 10:47 AM ^

I would argue that Michigan was in worse shape when Harbaugh took over than OSU or PSU.

OSU weighed down by NCAA sanctions. LOL. Michigan had less players on scholarship than OSU even with the NCAA slap on the wrist.

And Franklin did not have to do the heavy lifting that Bill O'Brien had done. Most of PSU sanctions were rolled back once Franklin took the job.

Everyone Murders

July 26th, 2017 at 11:15 AM ^

I agree that Penn State deserves some credit for getting the title, and agree they were lucky AF to get it.  What makes the Thamel article so mind-numbing is that he thinks that PSU's lucky year sets a "reasonable standard" for Harbaugh.

It's just such a stupid argument on so many levels.

saveferris

July 28th, 2017 at 12:42 PM ^

Equally stupid is Thamel claiming that Meyer took over an OSU program "weighed down" by NCAA sanctions.  Characterizing OSU as some beleaguered program that Urban Meyer miraculously resurrected against all the desires of the evil NCAA is beyond ridiculous.

Plus it's just such an obvious hit piece.  Michigan is positioned to have it's toughest year under Harbaugh to date, but let's cherry pick the 3rd Year as a "reasonable standard" and then prop ourselves up as the wise soothsayer, pissing in the Cheerios of all us irrational Harbaugh-worshippers.

The thing that really burns about these kind of articles is the lack of accountability that comes with writing them.  4 months from now if Michigan performs to expectations and winds up coming up short to OSU in the Big 10 East, Thamel will be right there with his "I told you so" piece, but if Michigan over-performs to expectations (yes, please), I give a 0.0 percent change that he comes through with any kind of mea culpa piece.

Fuck this guy.

Perkis-Size Me

July 26th, 2017 at 1:20 PM ^

There is no argument that Michigan was in worse shape, when Harbaugh took over, than OSU was after Tressel left. That's a fact. OSU had a meh year where they still went to a bowl game, and that team was still STACKED with talent top to bottom, and it had players who were perfect fits to run Meyer's system (see: Braxton Miller) the moment he set foot on campus. That team was ready to win before Meyer even took the job. It just needed someone other than Luke Fickell to coach it. 

We all know the state this program was in when Harbaugh came in.....

But you've still got to give Franklin credit where it's due. I thought he was a dead man walking after getting shellacked by Harbaugh, and I thought the Moorehead hire was a last gasp of desperation, but wow it paid off. Something clicked after they all got their asses whipped. Granted, O'Brien dealt with the real aftershock of the sanctions, but the program was still on pretty unstable footing when Franklin came in. 

Teach_Coach_GoBlue

July 26th, 2017 at 4:15 PM ^

It hurts to say this, but Urban is a very good coach. But, he walked into a great situation as far as talent goes when he was hired at OSU. To make a comparison, Kevin Durant is a great bball player, but he walked into a phenomenal situation with the Warriors. I don't respect either of them as much as a person who builds the team or elevates the team they're on.

AZBlue

July 26th, 2017 at 10:58 AM ^

Is where he equates the similar 2 year records of Hoke and Harbaugh and the fact that Hoke beat OSU. (I sincerely believe JH would have scorched the earth against the Fickell-led Bucks but yes that is the same as a fully functioning Meyer team.)

PS - Any story that the RCMB is lauding as "Beyond the Blue Wall" you know has to be a load of crap.

Leaders And Best

July 26th, 2017 at 11:38 AM ^

Harbaugh was asked pointedly by Yahoo Sports if all his attention-seeking efforts left him exposed for criticism with a young team. Let’s just say he didn’t exactly strap on his “iron jock strap,” to borrow his most creative media day phrase, to answer. In fact, he ducked the question with an enthusiasm unknown to mankind.

“Pretty much everything right now is irrelevant except football practice on Monday,” he said. “I don’t feel like social media right now is irrelevant or any of the other things you’ve come up with. Just the expectations of a great day of practice on July 31st, that’s really what we’re shooting for.”

Bobby Digital

July 26th, 2017 at 10:47 AM ^

These hot takes exist because they get hits from outraged Michigan fans publicizing/clicking on them. Stop publicizing/clicking on them, outraged Michigan fans.

Paul Anka's guarantee.

1VaBlue1

July 26th, 2017 at 10:49 AM ^

Can someone please point me to a story (in any of the sports rags) that Jim wrote about himself?  I'm interested in reading that, should be some good stuff!  I mean, unknown to me, he's apparently good at self-promotion, so I guess he's been writing his own copy to cover himself.  I've missed all of it!  Maybe I should pay more attention?  Any links would be appreciated...

Tyrone Biggums

July 26th, 2017 at 10:52 AM ^

The vitriol is strong with this one. We lost two games by one point and another by three in overtime. The team is hungry and Harbaugh and staff are hungry. Not that I will care, but let's see what this clown has to say in December.

Yo_Blue

July 26th, 2017 at 10:53 AM ^

Didn't Thamel get fired from both the NY Times and Sports Illustrated before landing at Yahoo?  That's certainly a career trajectory you don't want.

big john lives on 67

July 26th, 2017 at 10:55 AM ^

I took the bait and am very ashamed.

I have never read a more ridiculous analysis and such severe abuse of the facts in my life.

If this is journalism we are all doomed.

What people will never understand is that there is no more genuine and honest person in the world than Jim Harbaugh. These clowns have never seen it before, and therefore can never comprehend it.

JH will never wear out his welcome at Michigan!