Tom Brady and Super Drew

Saturday’s edition of TWIMFbH jets back to the conference opener of 1998 – a battle against Nick Saban and the Spartans.  Tom Brady took all the snaps for the Wolverines in this gem, played on September 26, 1998:

You can listen to all 6 years of This Week In Michigan Football History here.  And don’t forget to catch the whole KeyBank Countdown to Kickoff on WTKA 1050AM starting 4 hours before each game, and of course live in the Bud Light Victors Lounge when they lace them up in Ann Arbor.   See you out there.

Follow MVictors on Twitter



It’s hard to defend any title, especially a national title, but that’s what Michigan and Lloyd Carr set out to do in 1998. Gone was Heisman winner Charles Woodson, but the team returned enough talent to earn a top 5 preseason ranking.

But things didn’t go as planned, and the year started 0-2 with losses at Notre Dame and at home against Syracuse. The Wolverines took the first step toward righting the ship by crushing our friends from Ypsilanti 59-20 to conclude the preseason.

On September 26 1998 the Wolverines opened the big ten slate with a huge one against rival Michigan State and head coach Nick Saban.

One of the big questions of the year was at quarterback, where junior Tom Brady was fighting for playing time in practice with freshman phenom Drew Henson. The jury was still out in the media and with the fans on who should lead the team. Henson had the hype and remarkable raw athleticism. Brady seemed to be a safe but the positively unexciting choice. That season one journalist described #10 this way: QUOTE “Brady still gets rattled, throws into coverage when he shouldn’t and is turtle slow, but seems to be maturing nicely as a leader.

Coach Carr decided to give the properly inflated ball to Brady and he never left the game.

Early on it looked like it could be the Spartan’s day – as a Plaxico Burress TD catch put the Green up 10-3, but that was nullified when Anthony Thomas dashed 69 yards to the hous to even things at 10.

Midway through the second Brady found Tai Streets for a 5 yard strike but our pesky friends from East Lansing wouldn’t go lightly, and they tallied a Bill Burke touchdown late in the second to make it Michigan 20, Spartans 17 at half.

Fans didn’t know at the time but that’s all Carr and Brady needed. The defense, led by Sam Sword’s 11 solo tackles and 4 assists, sacked the Spartans 6 times and pitched a shutout in the second half. The A Train pounded away on the ground, and Brady short touchdown run capped off the scoring in the 29-17 victory.

For more, check out and For the Keybank Countdown to Kickoff, this is Greg Dooley.


OFFENSIVE CHAMPION – When I saw Ty Isaac take it to the house for 76 yards, he looked like the A-Train Version 2.0. Anthony Thomas more or less rumbled or trucked when he carried the rock back in the day. Isaac, while sharing the same number, appears to glide or “motor” effortlessly when he gets in the open field. I’m good with that! I’ll take 76-yard touchdown runs any day no matter how easy #32 makes it look.

DEFENSIVE CHAMPION – Channing Stribling’s interception on UNLV’s first drive set the tone for the Michigan Defense. If the opponent wants to take the football to start the game, Durkin’s D has to let them know that they will not be able to move the ball and that’s what #8 did. The INT was emotionally charging for Michigan and emotionally deflating for UNLV. 

SPECIAL TEAMS – Blake O’Neill did it again! Not one, but TWO punts downed inside the opponent’s own 20-yard line. When your defense is playing like Michigan’s was today, and your punter makes the opposition go more than 80 yards for a score, that is a great combination and a recipe for success. Baxter’s effect on special teams is already evident. What’s next – a blocked punt? I think so!!!

– – – –

Here’s Sap’s virtual helmet updated with the three additional stickers he’s awarded to date:

Dr. Sap Decals - 2015 UNLV Decals dealt out in previous weeks:


Follow MVictors on Twitter

1970 Michigan Football

When Bo (Bo Who?) Schembechler arrived in 1969 fans were certainly unsure of what they had.  But it didn’t take Bo long to win over the hearts of the maize and blue faithful, the clincher of course being the stunning 24 to 12 victory over Woody Hayes and his dominant 1969 squad to claim the Big Ten Title and a trip to Pasadena.

But was the debut season and the win over the Buckeyes a fluke?  It was on this day in Michigan Football History, 45 years ago Saturday that Schembechler launched into his 2nd year at the helm.  The Arizona Wildcats came to town for an early season Big 10 vs. Pac 10 clash:

You can listen to all 6 years of This Week In Michigan Football History here.  And don’t forget to catch the whole KeyBank Countdown to Kickoff on WTKA 1050AM starting 4 hours before each game, and of course live in the Bud Light Victors Lounge when they lace them up in Ann Arbor.   See you out there.


Follow MVictors on Twitter



When Bo Schembechler arrived in 1969 fans were certainly unsure of what they had. But it didn’t take Bo long to win over the hearts of the maize and blue faithful, the clincher of course being the stunning 24 to 12 victory over Woody Hayes and his dominant 1969 squad to claim the Big Ten Title and a trip to Pasadena.

The nation was quickly sold on Bo as well, and he took home several coach of the Year honors in his rookie campaign.

With a dream debut season in the rearview mirror, It was on this day in 1970 that Bo launched into his second season at the helm. Bo’s squad returned stacked, including would-be All Americans tackle Dan Dierdorf, guard Henry Hill and linebacker Marty Huff, along with quarterback Don Moorhead , Billy Taylor and Reggie McKenzie.

Immediately the expectations, and the stakes, were raised. The Blue came in ranked #8 in the land and on September 19, 1970 they faced the Arizona wildcats in front of over 80 thousand Meechigan faithful.

Those on hand were treated to beautiful day and a bit of classic Bo football. Michigan put up 10 points in the first, highlighted by a 29 yard TD toss from Moorhead to Touchdown Billy Taylor. Back Lance Scheffler added a 6 yard run in the fourth and Michigan kept the Cats out of the endzone in the 20-9 victory.

Bo’s men cruised through the rest of the 1970 season, going undefeated and #4 in the land before falling short in the 2nd edition of the 10 year war.

The dominance would continue throughout the decade, where Bo’s Michigan teams played 109 regular season games – won 96, tied 3, lost just 10 from the period of 1970-1979 – and Schembechler quickly re-established the dominance of Michigan football that just as Yost and Crisler had done decades before him.

Huh?  On eBay right now, a placemat and a menu from Bo’s Steakhouse.  It was apparently located somewhere on Boardwalk where the Seoul Garden restaurant resides today.  Did this actually exist at some point? 

Sadly the menu contains very few Bo-era menu tie-ins.  I was hoping for the something along the lines of the Hammerstein Half-Pounder, the Bergeron Burger (includes thickcut John U. bacon), AC Iced Tea, Touchdown Billy Taylor Tator Tots, Jumbo Elliott Shrimp, Bubba Paris Potstickers, Erik Campbell Soup De Jour, etc.


Bo's Steakhouse Placemat

Menu Cover 


Bid on these beauties here, and someone hit me up if you know the history of this place.


Follow MVictors on Twitter

Amara Darboh

So Amara Darboh had 9 helmet stickers after Utah, Jake Butt 8 and a handful of others (Peppers, Rudock) had seven.   Assuming the stickers are dealt out after games, we’ve presumably got a few guys with at least 15 helmet stickers on their lids following Oregon State. Now, I’ve heard some argue that these assumptions are wrong – that many of the decals to date were earned in practice (including camp) and therefore it’s not a straight line ratio from now to the end of the season.  But if the stickers are tied to game performance, and the criteria for getting stickers in a game stays consistent throughout the season – things will get sticky soon.   The skinny:

We already know they stickers are the same size as the 1985-1994 version.  As discussed here, the standard for decals likely goes to Mike Hammerstein, the mid-80s standout defensive tackle.  He was the team MVP in 1985 and his helmet showed it.  The big man was honored with 47 decals entering the bowl game, assuming he didn’t leave a couple on Keith Byars’ arse:


Assuming we’re not touching the area on or inside the wings (I will fight you, Jake Rudock!), at a glance it looks like we’ve got max capacity at 60.  Maybe we could get 62 on Wormley.

Fast forward to 2015.  A guy fifteen dekes after week 2 is projected to have 90 after playing the Buckeyes and entering the BCS playoffs bowl game.    So at this rate we’ve got a problem unless Harbaugh and crew slow their decal roll.

We’ll see how this plays out.



Follow MVictors on Twitter


Guest Post by Steve “Dr. Sap” Sapardanis

Before we examine the 2015 decal (which we started in Phase I here) we need to look back at the evolution of the Michigan Football helmet decals. 

1969-1974 Version #1 – When Bo introduced the helmet stickers at Michigan in 1969 (Version 1), they were solid, maize-colored, crudely shaped footballs. These were used through the 1974 season.  Here’s Don Moorhead’s helmet as featured on


1975-1982  Version #2 – The decal shape became more oval and the snarling wolverine head was added.   There was now a left-facing version, and a right-facing version.  Here is a good look at them from one of Jim Dack’s helmets (find more info on Jim’s collection at

Photo Sep 13, 8 34 56 AM

The other distinction with this version was that the wolverine image was actually clear, thus allowing the blue helmet paint to make the wolverine appear blue:

Because the design was made 40 years ago, there was no high-end computer program like Photoshop that was used to create the snarling Wolverine head graphic.  It was probably created using Line Art.  Notice the level of detail on the hair, teeth and nose of the wolverine. The more you zoom in, the more detail you will see.

1983-1984  No Helmet Stickers.  The mystery of this two-year stretch discussed here.

1985-1994 Version 3 – After a two year absence, the decals returned in 1985 (Version 3) with a few modifications.


The shape was now more spheroid in nature. The snarling wolverine is no longer a clear image – it is distinctly colored blue.  The wolverine head was centered in the decal laces were now added to the top of the shape giving it more of a football feel, and the color was a little brighter yellow.  Before Saturday, we hadn’t seen decals on the Michigan helmets since the Wolverines defeated Colorado State in the 1994 Holiday Bowl.

2015- – Version 4 – So we learned on Labor Day that the decals would be returning.  Here’s another look:

decal Upon further review, a few things are apparent:

  • Size – The overall size is the same as the Version 3 (1985) decal with one distinction- the wolverine logo is actually slightly smaller, 1/16” (from blue tip edge to blue tip edge).
  • Color – It clearly has a darker tone of maize and blue color to it so that it matches the 2015 uniform, including the helmet wings and stripes.
  • Design – Overall design is basically the same as Version 3, with the laces and wolverine head are the same as Version 3, but now there is blue trim to it.

When looking closer at the image, I noticed a few things that were different from the 1985 decal, specifically with the quality of the wolverine:

  • (1) Teeth – there is less white area in teeth of this year’s decal.
  • (2) Nose – there is less white area on the nose, as well.
  • (3) Hair – the hair length around the neck and back of head has now been “smoothed.”
  • (4) Outline – the blue trim becomes jagged when zooming in on the decal.

I think all these differences are the result of scanning the 1985 version vs. scanning the 1975 version.   So, here’s the deal: the 1975 version was the original, and the 1985 decal was created from a scan of the 1975 decal.  When it came time to create the 2015 decal, hardly any of the 1975 stickers were in good enough condition to re-scan, so the only option was to scan a 1985 decal.  What you ended up with was a scan of a scan to make the 2015 version.  When you do that, there is a loss of image quality and that is why the hair appears to be smoothed, and there is less (white) detail in the nose, teeth and elsewhere.

Is anyone going to notice this from their seats in Michigan Stadium?  No.
Will I? Yes.
Am I ok with it?  Yep.  I’m thrilled that the helmet stickers are back!

Just maybe next time a tweak is being considered for the decals, maybe Dr. Sap can be consulted?

– – – – – –

More from Oregon State game here:


Follow MVictors on Twitter


De'Veon Smith - Michigan Daily

“I GUESS I HIT THAT HOLE YOU NERDS!” (via Michigan Daily)

Following another Smith score to put U-M up 26-7, Harbaugh personally called for the 2 point conversion.  He gave some kind of signal to the celebrating players – it looked like a bear claw from the press box.  He sat hunched over outside the team area basically begging for Rudock and a few other guys to get the message and line up—flashing the bear claw gesture as hard as he could.

Rudock and crew eventually got the message, lined up and successfully executed the 2 point conversion to put U-M up 28-7.  On the trot back to the sideline Rudock tried to slide back to the bench with the rest of the unit but Harbaugh put his hand in Rudock’s chest—stopping him in his tracks.  There was a quick chat between QB and coach, I assume something along the lines maintaining composure even after a TD and paying attention.  After the chat, #4 delivered a pair of hearty butt slaps and Rudock went back to the bench.

Here’s the deal – Harbaugh is in absolute control (most of the time) of the sideline and what the players are doing on the field.  The only other way he’d have it is if the rules allowed him to play a snap or two.  So the coach is in charge and coaching.  Big deal, right?  Welp…it is in these parts.

Now, it’s classic college football fan to oversteer on losses and on the wins, and that’s 3X in Ann Arbor and 4X here in Saline (me).  But the team is better and actually demonstrating real toughness. Given the recent past this is step one.  Looking ahead to some of the big games you have to feel, if nothing else, Michigan Stadium is difficult place to play again.

Sights and Sounds:

  • Darker, darker, and decals.  Uniform updates includes darker maize, darker blue and decals.  More on all that here and here the full Uniform Timeline is there.


  • Darker Maize.  So now that the uniform, for the most part, has adopted the deeper, old school maize – it’s time for the rest of the stadium to get on board.  Most notably the block M on the field and the MICHIGAN in either end zone.  The contrast is striking when looking at the players against the field graphics:

image            Memo to AD Hackett.  Other things that need to get in sync with the deep maize color:

    • The GO BLUE banner
    • The band uniforms
    • Pretty much everything fans wear
    • The goal posts?  I consulted the MVictors law-talking-guy and we agree we have some leeway here to repaint the uprights.  cc: AD Hackett.  2015 NCAA rulebook:

Maize Posts

  • Banner Start. Speaking of the banner, Jim Harbaugh did not touch the banner on his way out to the field.  Vid via Mark Snyder of the Freep.   Coach did slap many-a-butt on the sidelines after units returned to the sideline, but left the banner alone despite my 85% odds on him doing so.
  • Want (in darker maize naturally):


  • New Drum Major.   Well done to that guy on your first head dip.  Nice core strength.
  • Free Peek.  BRAVO to #1000SSS on the kick ass game program cover.  And bless you for sparing us shots of  players posing in golf shirts all season.  I look forward to what they bring week-to-week.  This is an actual colorized shot from Ferry Field via the U-M Bentley Historical Library.  I’m efforting more info but I assume it’s 1920-1925-ish. [Update 9/14:  Per Greg Kinney of the Bentley “The photo is from the graduation ceremony of June 1940.  It was on the cover  of  the July 1940 issue of the Michigan Alumnus Magazine. Before 1927 you would have seen a goal post (or maybe temporary bleachers) from that view.”]  

2015 Michigan-Oregon State game program Insert joke about Dave Brandon’s great granddad trying to charge this kid 2 bits for the peek

  • 2015 <—> 1964  After surrendering an early touchdown to Oregon State, the team pitched a shutout from then on, scoring several touchdowns with the lead U-M running back finding the end zone 3 times.  Sounds familiar?    That’s how the biggest game we’ve played against Oregon State in U-M history played out, namely the 1965 Rose Bowl.  So 50 years ago this year Michigan won 34-7 after the early Beaver TD put them up 7-0. Mel Anthony tallied 3 TDs and captain Jim Conley and Bump had their Rose Bowl championship.  Here’s All-American Bill Yearby looking Chris Wormley-esque in his beastness:

Bill Yearby - 1965 Rose Bowl My money is on Michigan in this one

  • Twelve.  Prior to the once-in-a-half-century snap snafu, Michigan had twelve men on the field.  The U-M sideline caught it, called a 30 second timeout, and then the snap snafu ensued.   Props to the tweets from a few folks reminding me that 12 men beats 10 (Agreed).  A pic of the 12 fellers from upstairs:

12 men on the field - Michigan

  • Coach B in the Booth.  Nice work by coach Beilein hopping the radio booth and even showing his chops on a play-by-play call:


Follow MVictors on Twitter 


Ed. Oh my – we’ve waited for this day since Sap’s been doing decals.  We said we’d do this until the helmet stickers returned.  Well, they are back but that doesn’t mean Sap can’t continue with his weekly champions – you need it, I need it and here they are:

  • OFFENSIVE CHAMPION – I loved how hard De’Veon Smith ran today.  Yes his 23 carries for 126 yards and 3 TD’s were personal bests (along with his 2-point conversion catch), but I was all over his intensity. He reminded me of a few other tough runners. Brandon Minor is the obvious choice because of his number, similar size and stature, but two other punishing backs came to mind: Frank Gore and Billy Taylor.  Those guys, much like Smith, preferred to run you over versus running out of bounds. Dig it!!
  • DEFENSIVE CHAMPION – Chris Wormley was all over the field on Saturday. Six tackles, with three of them being TFL, were huge, but his timely sack near the OSU goalline signified a shift in the game, in my opinion.  Getting pressure from the DL was key in shutting down the Beavers and #43 was a big factor in that.
    SPECIAL TEAMS – Delano Hill had a tremendous game on Special Teams today.  While I couldn’t award a helmet sticker to the Oregon State long snapper, Hill’s tackle on that rocket-launching snap was the turning point in the game.  Not only did it flip field position 95 yards, it was a morale crusher for the Beavers.  Hill had a couple of other special teams tackles on Saturday, but that one in the 2nd quarter took the starch out of the crew from Corvallis.
  • COACHES – Gotta give it up to ALL the coaches on Saturday.  After that first scoring drive by OSU, Durkin’s Defense limited the Beavers to just 59 yards for the rest of the game.  Drevno’s O-Line mashed out 225 yards on the ground.  That was beautiful to watch, especially icing the game with a 73-yard drive predominantly on the ground – NICE!  Baxter’s Special Teams were special indeed. They got a hand on one punt and almost blocked 2 or 3 others.  And Head Coach Jim Harbaugh?  Thanks for bringing back the helmet stickers!   Seeing them today on the Michigan helmets brought a tear to this old reporter’s eyes. AWESOME!

And here’s Sap updated season helmet for the stickers distributed thus far (refreshed with the 2015 helmet decal design):



Rest assured I’ve forwarded several pics of the helmet stickers to Dr. Sap and we’ll have his full analysis later.  For now, a few observations on the 2015 helmet stickers.

First off, they appear to match the size and design of the 1985-1994 version of the helmet stickers (click here for your primer on U-M decal history) with a few exceptions: 

A few things stick out (note the 2015 photo above was taken from the field so it’s a tad distorted):

Michigan Helmet Stickers Comparison

(1) The tone of maize on the 2015 version thankfully generally matches the move to a darker maize on the uniform.

(2) There is a blue border around the oval in the 2015 version

(3) There is a bit of clear trim around the outside of the new decal.

I won’t get into it in this post, but the wolverine in the 2015 sticker has less detail – clearly.  I know Dr. Sap will have some thoughts on this.  Latest Uniform Timeline here.

Update:  Good question from MGoShoe

Q: Orientation different?  Or, do they point in different directions based on helmet side?

Answer: the 2015 does have both left and right facing versions of the decals. It looks like the players had discretion on how and where to arrange the stickers (or the equipment staff was inconsistent).



Follow MVictors on Twitter