Wednesday, January 05, 2011

The Harbaugh Derby

He Who Shall Not be Named has been fired at last. I wish him well - some place far, far away.
Happy day indeed!

Harbaugh is dangling out of reach at the moment. Sports columnists keep trying to read his mind. There's no telling what he'll do.

Jana did her best to persuade him via email. Here's her letter:

From: Jana Steiger
Date: Sat, Dec 11, 2010 at 4:19 PM
Subject: A personal note for Coach Harbaugh

Hi Niall, I got your e-mail from the Stanford web site. I hope you wouldn't mind passing this along to the Coach.

Hi Coach!

You won't remember me, I lived in South Quad with you, along with 1200 other people. But I have a confession to make. I have held a little bit of a grudge against you for 20 years or so.

It was all because of my nerdy boyfriend, Rich Bryant, who you probably do remember. He used to dominate the Kelsey House common room to watch The Three Stooges and The Twilight Zone several hours a day. Until one day, when just as Twilight Zone was about to start, you came in with your girlfriend at the time (who I do not remember at all), and Changed The Channel!!

Now, in hindsight, I can see this was probably an act of empowerment for you, confronting the tyranny of Rich's television turfiness. But at the time it seemed like the studly QB stickin' it to the nerdy guy, and saying "Yeah, what are you gonna do about it?" Grr.

So, yes, I have harbored resentment over this little incident ever since. Whenever you came on TV, or came up in conversation, I would say, "I don't like Jim Harbaugh, he changed the channel and wouldn't let my nerdy boyfriend watch Twilight Zone."

But, I am prepared to offer you my forgiveness, because it is all I have to offer, if you will come be the Michigan head coach.

It may not seem like much of a carrot to dangle. But it's all I've got, and I have to do my part. I will change my story. Instead of you being the bully, I will tell how you stood up to a bully for your girlfriend, so she could watch whatever dippy prime time network show was more important than Twilight Zone that night. Rich won't care. I'm not even in touch with him anymore.

I am hoping this little bit of good karma just may be the thing that tips the scales for you, and keeps you away from the NFL. Because, seriously, the NFL? How does that help turn boys into men, create opportunities for underprivileged youth who could never afford an education but know how to work damn hard on the field, nurture and mentor, influence and inspire, uphold fine traditions, and bring a beleaguered program back to the prominence it deserves? Besides, the NFL will always be there. It's not like you're gonna blow out a knee as the head coach of Michigan and ruin your NFL dreams.

As a bonus, I will forgive you for that statement you made a while back about the Michigan football program slouching on schoolwork. And you know what? The rest of the alums will, too. Because how can we argue with a head coach who has voiced his commitment to academics? That's what we all want.

So think about it. That's two forgives for the price of one. And all you gotta do is take the best job in football. My fingers are crossed.


Jana Steiger '89
Go Blue!

And remarkably, two hours later Harbaugh responded!

from James Joseph Harbaugh
to ""
date Sat, Dec 11, 2010 at 6:08 PM
subject Re:


I really enjoyed reading your e mail and also cringed quite a bit at my neandrathal behavior at the Kelsey house TV room. The amazing thing is I love the Twilight Zone! I can also tell you that Im really not the same guy as then, we all grow up, hopefully improving as we go. I don't remember exactly when I gained humility but after much humbling I know I have. Thanks for the email and the sentiment. Go Blue - Jim Harbaugh

We were all encouraged by the Go Blue thing, and only slightly saddened that he can't spell Neanderthal.