Mailbag question: Football programs


Posted at 8:00am — 6/25/2010

Mailbag question: Football programs

I can’t get enough Michigan football. Every day I read multiple Michigan blogs, periodicals and newspaper accounts. I love it and I’m sure many others do as well. So, with all of us “rabid” fans demanding news on our team, everything that happens at Michigan, big or little, good or bad is published. Then it gets put under a microscope where it’s analyzed, probed and picked apart. Sometimes it’s fair and sometimes not.

My question for you today is, what is it like at other large football programs, regarding fans, blogs and media coverage? I can’t help but wonder how RR would be getting torn apart right now if one of his recruits had been shot two times in the last few months.

Are OSU fans ripping on Tressel for bringing in this kind of player or are we the only ones that do that to our coach? Or, are Nebraska fans crucifying their AD for leaving the Big 12 to come to the Big 10? Do PSU fans complain about Paterno being too old? Those are just examples, but it sure does seem that sometimes we Michigan fans go overboard, or in comparison, do we?


Tom T.


Thanks for the question.

A great question, for certain there is little fairness or equality in our experience regarding treatment of coaches and players, fans are fans.

Coaches are only as good as the last victory, or as bad as the last defeat.

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When fans see something negative happen to a football player from a rival school, the result is that some rip on the coach, the school, etc. But when the same or a similar thing happens to their school, many fans will make excuses and defend the coach and the player.

As far as other programs, all of us have seen the media and fans rip into a head coach and the overall program when the team is losing. We clearly saw that the media and fans were getting on Coach Paterno not that long ago, and kept putting forth the underlying assumption as a proven fact that Coach Paterno needed to retire because the game had passed him by. But the program has bounced back and only the most ardent Paterno antagonists are still vocal, most others have quieted down. Talent and experience trumped age and system philosophy.

Coach Tressel hears whispers as well whenever Ohio State loses a big game or bowl game, even though such an event is infrequent. His critics always bring up his conservative stance, but the critics have since forgotten that the same formula of great defense, great special teams and an offense that does not make mistakes or turn the ball over yielded a National Championship in 2002.

Remember, Michigan had not suffered a losing season in a very long time, so when Coach Rod came in and instituted massive change across the board, rubbed some people the wrong way, and put up records of 3-9 and 5-7, criticism became more than predictable, it became automatic.

Coach Weis at Notre Dame went from genius to dumb*ss in the span of one loss to Ohio State.

Even successful coaches with a lot of built up victory capital catch heat after a loss. For some fans any loss by a favorite team, it seems, has nothing to do with what the other team accomplished, but more so the ineptness of the coaching staff. Coaches like Tressel, Stoops, and Carroll, with National Championships on their resumes, have had upset fans calling for their heads after a painful loss.

Coach Urban Meyer of Florida, long applauded for innovation, had his offense called obsolete after Florida’s losses to Auburn. Being on the hot seat is part of the coaching job overall scenario. And in contemporary society the heat is more intense and lightning quick.

We remember when Ohio State fans just wanted to beat Michigan back in the Cooper era, and it drove the masses crazy when the Buckeyes would have a good season, but then lose to Michigan and afterwards lose a bowl game.

Ohio State fans have taken Coach Tressel’s success for granted and now have raised the bar to a level that has little margin of error. Now, just beating Michigan is not good enough and getting to the BCS National Championship game but losing gets some fans very upset.

Nebraska, like Michigan, has recently suffered through a period of unexpected decline, but the program appears to be on the clear upswing. Much has been written recently about the fall of other previous football empires like Southern California (pre-PC), Notre Dame, and to a lesser extent the SEC programs that are just down enough to have a one or two year low tide.

“We won,” is a common phrase used by fervent fans after a victory. “You lost,” is a common phrase the same fans direct toward the head coach when the final score is not favorable.

Written by GBMW Staff

Go Blue — Wear Maize!