Guest Post by Steve ‘Dr. Sap’ Sapardanis

As I re-read my good friend John Kryk’s story (‘Wolverines on Your Head’) that appeared in the 2010 edition of mgoblog’s Hail To The Victors, I realized that there have been a few updates and corrections in the five years that have passed since it was written.  In my never-ending quest to accurately recap the history of the Michigan Football helmet stickers, I have since determined, and confirmed with Jon Falk, that there were indeed three versions of the Wolverine decals. The image below recaps the nuances of the three versions:

Helmet Sticker Eras

For more information, check out my decal Q&A with Big Jon from a few months ago.

Here is a pictorial recap:

Version 1 (1969-1974)

Decals 1 Barry Pierson (29) in 1969 |  Mike Lantry (36) from 1974

Version 2 (1975-1982)

Decals 2 Calvin O’Neal (96) in 1975 |  Anthony Carter (1) from 1982

Version 3 (1985-1994)

Decals 3  Jim Harbaugh in 1985 |  Tim Biakabutuka in 1994

So what happened in 1983 and 1984?  





If those photos aren’t enough evidence for you, scan the videos of the 1983 and 1984 Ohio State games.

I’ve asked former players and I’ve asked Big Jon, and no one seems to have a concrete explanation as to WHY there were no decals on the helmets in 1983 & 1984. Initially, everyone I talked to was adamant that the decals were on the helmets those two years, but once I produced pictures of several players throughout those two years with blank helmets, they had no explanation.

I DO know that they were being kept track of on a wall in the locker room, but no one has an answer – not even your friendly neighborhood, Dr. Sap.

If anyone can help explain this dilemma, please respond to the Bat-Decal Signal below!

decal bat signal

RelatedUniform Timeline

Harbaugh peels

Ed. To demonstrate that Coach Harbaugh isn’t the first head coach to peel and flash the washboard/guns, a repost from January 2014:

Just in time for the polar vortex of death, here’s what the doctor ordered.  How about a look at a shirtless General Bo out for a run in the summer of 1976, as featured in the Sunday Magazine?Bo is cut! Thanks to the keen eye of Dr. Sap for spotting that on eBay, up for bid right now.   I assume this was a product of the Detroit News.

Bo’s in tip-top shape after having open heart surgery in late spring of ‘76.   Here’s Schembechler sitting down with Bob Ufer (also thanks to Sap) not long after that Magazine cover was released, just prior to the opener against Wisconsin.   Bo talks about his surgery, his level of fitness and a little bit about the 1976 season as his Wolverines were ranked #1 heading into the campaign:

Go Bo!

P.S. I love Bo’s shoes — not unlike my custom MVictors adidas?

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Last night I attended a fundraiser benefitting Ronald McDonald House of Ann Arbor, held in the stadium at the Jack Roth Stadium Club.   The event included tours of the field and inside the stadium locker room.  A few observations:

More evidence that the The Legends program is going away—the Legends lockers used to look like this:

47 and 48


Last night the engraved Legends patches were gone from the back of the lockers:

Photo Apr 18, 6 59 36 PM

There are also a few new displays up closer to the entrance of the locker room that are pretty nicely done.  I don’t recall seeing these before.   First, a very conspicuous tribute to Tom Brady:

Photo Apr 18, 7 03 30 PM

 Photo Apr 18, 7 04 28 PM Further down the hall several great moments in Michigan football history are immortalized:

Photo Apr 18, 7 06 22 PM Along with the ones you can see (OSU 1997, OSU 1969, #BraylonFest, Desmond Heisman pose), they also have 1979 Indiana (Ufer/Carter), and 1985 Harbaugh to Kolesar, and a couple others (Ron Kramer?).


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Guest Post by Steve “Dr. Sap” Sapardanis

When looking back at some classic pictures and photos of Anthony Carter, you will notice that most of the time his jersey looked different from those worn by his Michigan teammates.  Your eyes aren’t deceiving you – AC, at times, did in fact wear a different jersey than his maize & blue brethren:


From 1979 through the 1981 season, Carter wore tear-away jerseys made by Russell Athletic.

Created in 1967 and known for the name they were given, these jerseys would indeed rip and tear apart whenever an opponent tried to grab them.

Before the Michigan jerseys became skin-tight, custom sewn, works of art by a local Ann Arbor seamstress in 1987, football jerseys some 30 to 40 years ago were loose-fitting garments that draped over the players.  The excess material was perfect for a defender to grab onto and take an opponent down, sometimes even from behind. This technique was called a “shirt tackle.”  You’ve probably never heard of that term because when the tear-aways were banned by the NCAA in 1982 (the last year they were used in the NFL was 1979), football jerseys gradually became tighter fitting, making it almost impossible to bring down a ball-carrier via a shirt tackle.

Recently legendary Michigan Football Equipment Manager Jon Falk shared with me the story of how Carter got to wear the tear-away jersey at Michigan.   After sitting down with Bo Schembechler in the spring of 1979 and assigning the heavily recruited Riviera Beach, Florida wideout the #1 jersey Falk had a feeling Carter would be special.  Sure enough the first few practices indeed showed everyone how fast and dynamic AC was.  Never before had a receiver been able to catch every ball thrown to him in practice.  Carter was able to chase down any pass, no matter how far it was thrown.  For three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust-Bo and Michigan, this sight was truly shocking.

Schembechler noticed that the times Carter caught the ball in traffic, the only way the Michigan defenders could bring him down in practice was to grab his jersey.  He was just too quick and elusive to bring down any other way.

Two weeks before the season opener against Northwestern, the Michigan jerseys arrived from manufacturer Spanjian and this got Bo thinking – if Carter wore a tear-away jersey the opponents would never be able to bring him down!   Schembechler told Falk to get some tear-aways for his freshman wideout, but there was one problem – with the college football season only two weeks away, Russell was too busy completing jersey orders for other teams.  When Big Jon asked the manufacturer to make some tear-aways, he was told they couldn’t meet his request at that time.

Undaunted, Falk pulled out a trump card and called a longtime friend–the owner of Russell Athletic.  Sure enough, the owner ordered the Russell plant to stop all other production so that they could make some maize and blue #1 tear-aways for Anthony “The Darter” Carter. The rest is history.  Here’s how they looked (note: no Carter nameplate on the back):

Picture 030 Picture 029

Falk also confirmed my suspicion that Carter was the only player to wear tear-away jerseys at Michigan.  Big Jon told me that he would pack TEN (10) of the #1 tear-away jerseys for each game and that the most Carter went through in one game was four, which happened 3 or 4 times between 1979 and 1981.

Helmet Decal Details with Jon Falk
Keeping AC Warm – How Michigan Landed Anthony Carter

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05. April 2015 · 1 comment · Categories: 2015



To those who attended, that had a game day feel, didn’t it?   Now we need to convince Ira, Sam and Steve to prop up the Victors Lounge tent in 2016 and we’ll be all set. 

As far as the game, sure, the offense was lackluster overall but given they drafted “even” and didn’t protect the quarterbacks, I don’t think a shoot-out was in the cards.  Speaking of QBs, I was impressed with Malzone but I’d go with Morris if the season started tomorrow if you asked me to put the ol’ depth chart up on the ol’ wall.

A few sights and sounds:


Carr Mo Harbs

Carr/Mo:  It was very cool to have Carr and Moeller as honorary captains and, as we learned later, have them draw a few trick plays.

Band: Another nice touch that gave the day a game day feel was the band, though seated, rolling through the pregame song sequence.

Uniform Update:  I won’t call it Uniform Timeline worthy (beyond what is already there), but there was no Legends patch on the #48 jersey.  My $.02: until they make it official, leave the patch on the jersey.

While there were seemingly no major uniform reveals out there (not even a spring game patch like the last few years) I did love seeing the GO BLUE-tongued shoes on a few of the guys:

GO BLUE kicks

Can’t Wait: I got a close up look at Ty Issac before the game and the dude is an absolute house – I can’t wait to see this beast carry the pigskin:

IMG_4692 x

Git-R-done:  File under FWIW.  The media used to wait around a good 15 minutes or so after they were seated for Brady Hoke and IIRC, RichRod, to start their postgame press conferences.  If the Q&A Saturday sounded a bit odd, my man Harbaugh was at the podium before really anyone from the press box made it downstairs and sat down. 

Bowl Half Empty:  Who cares?  But ok I’ll bite. Calling the bowl 100,000, the question comes down to whether the bowl was half full.  Keeping in mind that everyone is jammed in there for games, I say it was not quite half capacity.  I’d call it 45K– but I could be sold on 10K in either direction.  But..

Photo Apr 06, 12 42 19 PM

..then again Bacs (who was back in the press box and not in the thin air of row D) says I’m on crack.

All the game photos here.   Follow MVictors on Twitter 


imageMaully in 1915 team photo | Bentley Library

From reader and memorabilia collector Mark Bomia:

Over the last couple years I acquired the entire John Maulbetsch estate. Maully was an All-American halfback for Michigan in 1914 and member of the College HOF. Some of these items, like most of his scrapbooks, I’ve donated to Bentley Library.

One of the coolest pieces I still possess is Maully’s 1914 All-American ring, given to him by the “Ann Arbor Boys” in December 1914 when he was selected by Walter Camp. It is a gold ring with a .7 carat diamond with a block M on one side and “AA” on the other. The band has a congratulating inscription.

Let me know if this is something your readers may enjoy. I can send pics, if interested.

Naturally I wanted to see the pics – pretty sweet:

Maully's rings

Bomia later shared, “The ring is 14k gold with a .7 carat VSI, D color diamond. The inscription on the inner band states ‘To Maully Maulbetsch from the Ann Arbor Boys Dec 1914.’  I’ve also included a signed letter from Yost congratulating Maully on his AA selection..”

Here’s the letter from Yost, congratulating him on the All-American selection and urging him to expand his skillset “I am anxious to have you punt and drop kick and practice catching punts when you can” for the upcoming season.  It was sent from the law offices of his brother-in-law Dan McGugin:

letter Cheers to Bomia for sending this along !  This is an awesome slice of U-M lore.


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31. March 2015 · Comments Off on Yost on Drinking at Games: Inconceivable! · Categories: 2015 · Tags: , , , , , ,

On eBay right now, this –> a series of football ticket applications from the early 1930s, with one including this message from #1000SSS from The Grand Old Man himself:

Yost and drinkers

This wasn’t the only time that Yost spearheaded a message on the ills of drinking at games during this era.  Back in 2008 I noted this cartoon that appears in the 1934 yearbook:

drunkWhile we know folks found a way to drink during Prohibition, the law ended with ratification of the 21st Amendment on December 5, 1933.  That said, Michigan state law approved the sale of 3.2 percent alcohol earlier that year and I’m sure more than a few bottles of the good stuff found their way to and through the gates of Michigan Stadium.


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