Michigan Football: Request to the Fanbase, Apologize to Rich Rodriguez

Rob SurbrookContributor IApril 24, 2011

SOUTH BEND, IN - SEPTEMBER 11: Head coach Rich Rodriguez of the Michigan Wolverines waits with his team before entering the field for a game against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Notre Dame Stadium on September 11, 2010 in South Bend, Indiana. Michigan defeated Notre Dame 28-24. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Let me preface this by saying that I am and always have been a Michigan Football fan. This isn't some outsider telling you all you screwed up. That would be counter-productive of me, because we all know how much you hate outsiders.

Oh, speaking of RichRod: 

Something interesting happened when Rich Rodriguez became the head coach of the Wolverines in 2008: U-M football became more relevant than it had been for nearly a decade. Suddenly Ann Arbor was the talk of the SportsCenter analyst and National Columnist brigade, something that had only really happened a couple times in the distant past.

It seemed like everyone was buzzing about what the Wolverines were going to become. Everyone outside of the state loved it. I was one of the few in-staters who loved it. But the biggest problem was that traditional U-M football fans, as a whole, decided to turn into a bunch of hipsters with chips on their shoulders.

"He's not a Michigan Man."

"He's going to ruin the traditional hard-nosed nature of the program."

Fans raged. Players left. Hell, Justin Boren transferred to Ohio State, citing a "lack of family values" from the coaching staff. (Tip for Justin: when you're angry about a lack of so-called 'family values,' it invalidates every single point you're trying to make, especially when you transfer to the school that is essentially the family that lives across the street and the same neighbor your family constantly clashes with and your mother always calls ugly). I'm still bitter about that.

As we all know, thus begun the worst stretch of Michigan football in its entire storied history. 

After three years, Rich Rod was let go and replaced with a more "suitable" candidate at head coach, Brady Hoke.

Now RichRod is quoted on ESPN and CBS Sports saying that leaving West Virginia for Michigan may have been a mistake on his part:

"I think it's easy to go back now and say, 'Gee, made a mistake.' And you can say that now because of hindsight," Rodriguez said. "But at the time, some of the things I was looking to do and the opportunity that was there, you kind of make the move...

"Hindsight is always easier to look back and say, 'It was a mistake,' because we did have a good thing going at West Virginia and we really enjoyed it. As you look back at it, wasn't the best move. Easy to say now."

Now that I've got the introduction out of the way, I'll get to the point: I'm disgusted with how my favorite sports team's fanbase has acted over the past three years. Absolutely disgusted.

There were definitely things Rodriguez could have/should have done better while he was the coach, like tone the offense down a little so our inept defense didn't have to be on the field for 40 minutes a game. Oh yeah, and not bring in a guy (Greg Robinson, a.k.a. the worst defensive coordinator in history) who seemed to actively make our defense progressively worse each game.

You'll never catch me saying that Rodriguez had a great formula for winning in the Big Ten. What you will catch me (even though it's more along the lines of me handing myself over) saying is that the entire Wolverine fanbase, that is all of you, decided to push the envelope and shift RichRod's difficulty level for success from "Pretty Damn Hard" to "Impossible."

I hope that right now, any non-Michigan fan knows that I'm speaking to only the U-M fans guilty of what I just described.

Do you understand how freaking difficult it is to work under the constant pressure of "You have no place here, you don't belong, you're ruining the thing that I love so much and you should just pack up and leave before you make an even bigger fool of yourself?" It's impossible.

You all should be ashamed of yourselves.

If you absolutely couldn't look past the fact that he wasn't a "Michigan Man" (which is borderline discriminatory, by the way, And hypocritical because you seem to have no qualms that Bo Schembechler coached at Ohio State before returning back home to U-M), you could have at least taken into consideration that the guy already had his supposed "dream job": He took his alma mater from general program anonymity to two BCS bowls in six years, and then he takes his six-year, 60-26 record and brings it to Ann Arbor because he respects the program so much. 

Are you not getting this? He left his alma mater to coach for us, and all of you decided he wasn't good enough before the first ball was even kicked off.

The fact that he was 15-22 while he was here shouldn't validate your behavior, either. If anything, you all lucked out because if he had won a lot during his time here, you'd have had to face the prospect of saying "Oh... um, I guess I was wrong."

Now, you get to be all happy and such because you were "right," about him not being a good fit for us. 

Well, you know what? That's completely fake. You're not right about him being a bad fit in Ann Arbor. Wanna know why? Because you didn't even give him a chance to try and fit.

RichRod brought a lot of good things to the program, like a taste for flash and excitement that Brady Hoke is now building upon for the start of this season. Or are you going to tell me you'd rather Denard Robinson had never stepped an untied shoe on to the field at The Big House?

What you've got to do now is simple, Michigan fans: apologize to Rich Rodriguez for acting like children and making his job ten times harder than it already was.

And if you won't, then I will.

Rich, I'm sorry.