The toxic factions. The divided clans. There’s been much talk of the Michigan fanbase over the past few years since Lloyd Carr departed.
I’ve tried several times to etch out what “we” look like at a given point in Michigan history, and not only is it difficult (perhaps impossible) to peg, the groups change as we move through time.
That said I decided to take another crack at it and I enlisted the help of the great Craig Barker of The Hoover Street Rag and frequent contributor Lew. Before diving in too deep Barker suggested the following to put the Michigan football fandom in context:
.. there’s an 80-10-10 split on all Michigan fans:
- 80% are casual fans. They’ll watch Michigan when it’s on TV, they’ll perk their ears up if Michigan is being discussed on PTI, and their take on Michigan is heavily influenced by the Angel/Wojo/Rosenberg/Snyder/Sharp takes.
- 10% are serious fans, wherein they’ll watch Michigan, they’ll look for Michigan highlights, they’ll seek out national opinion on Michigan, they may engage in some discussion of Michigan on their Facebook/Twitter or maybe leave a Freep comment occasionally.
- 10% are obsessives. This is the MGoBlog crowd and people who are actively trying to sway influence of other fans. Michigan is so much of their identity, it hurts.
That’s about right.
As far as those toxic factions? Try this on for size:
[Ed. one note: this might be better represented as Venn Diagram <Rebellion—‘schwing’!> but that’d be a bear and I’m trying to watch a hockey game tonight.]
|Clan||Description||Take on Hoke Hire|
|Former Bo players and those associated or feel very closely tied (e.g, alums or “Bo signed my hat when I was 9” folks) to that era. Defense wins championships, people.||Not really happy, despite Brandon having played for Bo. Glad there’s an M guy at the helm but upset it’s not Miles or Harbaugh. Suspect DB didn’t give Miles/Harbaugh a serious enough look. Propagators of the theory that the interview process was a charade—Hoke was always the target.|
|Bloggers, message-board hounds, recruitniks. Statistical analysis shows, nay, proves that an innovative offense (RR/Chip Kelly) is what is required in Ann Arbor. And you never punt, man. Carr’s tendencies became maddening in the final few years, and rumors of Carr steering recruits away from U-M make them slam down their X-box controllers in rage.||Pissed. Feel that Michigan deserved a) a bigger name and, particularly, b) a man with a more progressive offensive scheme. Early love earned by DB is gone especially after he mucked up their “precious" – the recruiting class. Now, “Brandon’s just another suit, man.”
Any anger toward me after reading this was diffused by the appearance of a pie chart on this post.
|Affiliated with the University/Ann Arbor elite who feel we devote too much money to athletics, and feel the stadium expansion is wrong on many levels. They chuckle outwardly at people who spend their Saturday afternoons sandwiched between overweight men in a football
stadium or in front of their televisions shoveling ‘Funyuns’ into their faces.
|They are inwardly happy with the Hoke hire. If the University must have a football team, at least they won’t be forking over the NFL-caliber wage that Harbaugh would have commanded.|
|Die-hard Rich Rod-backers with close ties to The Rebellion. RR should have been retained. Their support was hardened by the negative media coverage coupled with the idiotic ad hominem attacks by sports radio callers and national drive-by columnists/hosts. He never was given a chance.||Not happy with how Rich Rod was treated. Would have accepted Harbaugh. They don’t understand how Hoke could possibly considered a better option than Rich Rod. Won’t say it aloud, but a tiny part of them hopes Hoke fails so they can tell the Happy-go-Hokey media and the Carr Clan to eat a big fat one.|
|Former Carr players and those (alums) who feel deep ties to that era. Feel Carr’s Legacy is unfairly represented by many, including the Rebellion and In Rod Clans.||They "won"; they got their guy. Thought Hoke should have been a candidate three years ago. Feel some revenge for how Carr’s assistants were treated during the RR transition.
Would like to tell the RR crew, “It’s over man. Brandon dropped the big one.”
|The vast majority of "regular" M fans. Beyond sanctions and horrible & embarrassing results, they bleed Maize ‘n Blue. But the OSU, MSU and bowl poundings put them over the edge with ol’ Rich Rod.||On board with Hoke, especially after the opening press conference (“TOUGH. MAN’S. GAME.”) Their support will build as they learn more about Hoke and time progresses. He’ll get a fair shake over the next few seasons from these guys – they are most of the folks sitting near you in Michigan stadium.|
|Group that was good with Rodriguez & think he deserved one more year. That said, they understand that DB had to fire Rodriguez as much for the "sense" of Rodriguez in the media and among the alumni and fans, as for the 15-22 record. The man had become a toxic asset.||They like Brady Hoke and want him to succeed. They see a hardworking guy who has been given the keys to the kingdom (& his dream job). Whether he is capable of delivering Michigan to championship form is to be determined and they will objectively observe this play out.|
|Much like the Second Estate of Pre-Revolutionary France, they make up just 1.5% of Michigan fans, but they control a disproportionate amount of influence. They are Champions Lot parkers. They’re guys that Brandon sees and immediately knows he needs to go chat up. (Note that Brandon, himself, would be of the Second Estate). DB is loyal to them, but he is also well aware that he needs them. They are Cotton Pickin’ Blues generally, they want wins the right way–no scandals, no embarrassment, no negative press.||Brady Hoke is a wonderful corporate hire. By virtue of their age, the Second Estate is a specialized subset of the Bo clan by and large and have anointed Lloyd keeper of the flame in the wake of Bo’s death. Like Jack Donaghy, they really like fireworks.|
|The fanatical faction of Michigan fandom, named for Capt. Stephen Decatur of the U.S. Navy who famously said, "Our Country! In her intercourse with foreign nations may she always be in the right; but right or wrong, our country!" Basically "I love the guy in charge, no matter who it is today. Go Blue!".||They loved Rodriguez through last week, now they’re full on Hoke-a-Maniacs, brother. Would have been first in line for “DeBord’s DeDudes” shirts if the former Carr assistant was the choice. They may have reservations about this or that, but they will never admit it publicly. They’re the people who wanted Les Miles and covered their ears on "end of game/clock management" and "oversigning" and thought Gruden was a kick ass idea.|
Thanks again to Craig Barker of The Hoover Street Rag for the input and much of the text on the final three specialized groups.
P.S. I forgot the Violent M History Nerd Clan. Follow MVictors on Twitter