16. April 2012 · 6 comments · Categories: 2011

treezy21Hopefully Treezy’s head doesn’t go on swoll when he gets the #21

It was radio play-by-play man Frank Beckmann who asked Brady Hoke about the #1 jersey after the Spring game on Saturday:

Are you going to consider handing out the No. 1 jersey this year?

“Yeah, we’ll consider it.”

IIRC there was a bit of hesitation in Hoke’s response and confirming that he’d “consider it” isn’t exactly saying it’s at the top of anyone’s list.   But I do take heed that it came from ol’ Blue Skies, who might have shot out the question because he knows something is in the works.

I can tell you one guy who doesn’t want to talk about the #1 jersey: Desmond Howard.    He was asked about the #1 by a couple folks and he made it clear he didn’t understand the desmond in press conferenceprocess (if there is one) or who decides how that jersey is handled.   My impression by his tone is that he was annoyed by the questions and I don’t blame him.  And I don’t think he’s the only one at the university who feels that way.   After all, the university made it a big deal to induct his #21 as the inaugural Michigan Football Legend and it’s as if, despite the fanfare around the Legend distinction, the #21 somehow still takes a backseat to the nebulous numero uno.

Saturday Desmond said he’d definitely like to see someone who “displays the talent and the character” worthy of the honor to don the #21.  I asked him about timing and he said would need to chat with Dave Brandon about it.   We’ll see.

My money is that we’ll see Roy Roundtree wearing the #21 this fall.   Here’s why:

    • Yes, Rich Rod is gone but still, I don’t think the athletic department is crazy about Braylon’s comments about the #1 jersey over the past few years and how it’s played out in the media.
    • They just started the Legends tradition and made a big deal about it in honoring Desmond last season.  They will want to keep it rolling to keep it fresh in everyone’s mind.
    • I’m guessing the athletic department has it on the timeline to honor AC (and maybe Braylon) with the Legends distinction at some point down the road.
    • Everybody loves Treezy.

Helmet Numbers

      Speaking of the uniforms, you probably noticed that the players still had the number decals on their helmets on Saturday.   Roundtree said he liked the numbers on the helmets and as a senior leader, you have to wonder if he’ll have some say in the matter.   All that said, if I had to guess I’d say that they will 86 the numbers on the helmets next season.

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  1. “All that said, if I had to guess I’d say that they will 86 the numbers on the helmets next season.”

    I hope so. I suspect it’s a way to sell merchandise, like the various special game uniforms. Brandon understands branding; UM’s helmets are widely recognized as the best in football — why mess with them?

    On the other hand, it’s not going to keep me up at night …

  2. Michigan doesn’t send out the helmets for reconditioning until after spring ball is over. The gray facemasks were the practice set all year, in addition to being worn for UTL and the Sugar Bowl. Thus, gray facemasks and the 2011 helmet numbers in spring practice and the Spring Game. It doesn’t mean anything for what the team will wear for 2012.

    That being said, when the numbers came back after UTL, Hoke said it was a strong possibility they’d stay on for at least the conference season from here on out. The players seem to like them, the fanbase seems to like them, and there’s been no indication of negativity about them from the Athletic Department. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if they came back at least partially, if not permanently for a while.

  3. Thanks Bando. I’d just add that the UM athletic dept says every time that the players like the new uniforms/helmets, but it’s not mentioned that the changes just happen to be a very popular merchandising strategy too (and I haven’t heard many players speak for themselves about the changes).

    It tastes like New Coke to me. Michigan’s brand without tradition is much less distinctive.

  4. I don’t see how numbers on the helmets are a way of selling merchandise, unless there’s more of a market for buying replica helmets than I thought.

    Anyhow, I’d like to see someone wear #21, but if so, I think they should shrink the “Legends” patch. It’s too big as it is.

  5. Mustelid –

    I think that’s a good question. I’ve read that the special jerseys increase sales because some people who already had a ‘standard’ jersey buy another. I don’t know about helmets — maybe people will buy a Denard helmet and a Fitz helmet, and maybe another for each season’s new star, instead of just buying one Michigan helmet to last them a lifetime. Helmet sales could increase 1,000% over a decade! But do enough people buy helmets for that to matter?

    I should reiterate one point: I don’t know! :) It may have nothing to do with merchandising.

    Re: #21 — that would take a gutsy receiver to walk around with Desmond Howard’s name on his jersey. I wonder if these patches will unintentionally ‘retire’ the numbers for anyone who isn’t an All-American.


  6. Is it just me, or did the number color actually match the color of the wing?