Our Father – An Open Letter to Jim Harbaugh


Hello, Mr Harbaugh; hopefully for the sake of all that is pure, good and holy on this wretched mudball we call Earth, you are safe and well. Now before we really get started here sir, let me level with you a little bit. You don’t know me Jim; may I call you Jim? Anyways, as I was saying, you and I have never met Jim and therefore, it seems highly unlikely to me that you would be able to pick me out of a campus police lineup full of other deranged, football-obsessed Wolverines fans in various states of public drunkenness – which is probably for the better I reckon sir; for all parties involved. Despite my anonymity to you however, I would like to assure you that I know you Mr. Harbaugh; or at least, I know almost everything publically accessible about your life as it pertains to the art of coaching, the hallowed University of Michigan and the glorious, sacred sport of ritual combat we know as football. Now, please don’t misunderstand me Jim, I’m not some kind of disturbed, emotionally unstable stalker trying to scale the bushes outside your house or anything – fabulous bushes by the way sir, extremely effective at keeping the goddamn riff raff out, no doubt. No, actually Coach, I’ve just been a huge fan of your work for the better part of my entire life; give or take a few years when you were starting for the Chicago fucking Bears against my beloved, miserable Detroit Lions.

Happier Days
“I love you kid but audible again and I beat you to death with this headset.”

Completely unbeknownst to you Jim, the Michigan Wolverines and by extension yourself, became an absolutely fucking vital part of my conscious world during autumn in the year of our Lord Bo, nineteen eighty six. To be fair, I would say the moment I “met you” was actually on the New Years Day prior when you and a bloodthirsty, ferocious and opportunistic Michigan defense lead a heroic comeback against the hated hayseed Cornhuskers. Until that afternoon, I’d been something of a goddamn casual Sparty fan; in part because a gladiator helmet seemed a little cooler than a block M to my seven year old eyes and in part because my father, whom I considered to be wrong about virtually everything in existence at that point in my short life, was a Wolverines fan. Can you comprehend the staggering significance of this moment in the life of a young, impressionable little girl who loved football more than air? For the love of christ Jim, your comeback saved me from a wretched, terrible existence as a fucking Michigan State Spartans fan – in a way, I feel like I owe you my very goddamn sanity, if not my continued presence amongst the living! That 86-87 season though sir, that’s when I really caught the bug and became a true Michigan junkie; learning the traditions, the history of the program and living on the razor’s edge of Big 10 Football with you, Bo and the boys from week to week. In short Mr. Harbaugh, your final season at Michigan became the catalyst for my entire, life-long, unhealthy obsession with all things Wolverines – for years afterwards; I would measure every Michigan quarterback against your leadership, toughness and talent for cardiac-arrest inducing comebacks that nearly fucking killed me on several occasions. Let’s just say that while many of them had much better stats than you did, none of them would come to embody the ideal Michigan signal caller in the tortured, diseased mind of this fan, quite like you did sir.

Teaching Moment
“Ok, but what if the ball was an actual wolverine Coach?”

Okay, so now that we have that out of the way and you know a little more about my slightly creepy obsession with you Jim – I have an awful, pathetic and shameful confession to make. May blessed Yost forgive me Coach, but I have been miserably weak, cowardly and disloyal. All this time – since you were hired to pull the Michigan football program out of the sucking mire of festering putrescence it had fallen into under maggot men of subhuman intelligence and questionable testicular fortitude; I have been a mutherfucking unbeliever! It’s true Jim, oh dear gods how I wish it wasn’t but the whole sordid mess is all over my fucking website and Twitter profile. Why just nine days and two victories ago, I wrote a bloody article comparing faith in Michigan this college football season to believing Donald fucking Trump had any real chance at becoming the goddamn President of the United States. Until your boys whipped the holy shit out of BYU, I was reminding any poor bastard who would listen that you hadn’t beaten anyone who was actually good at fucking football yet. Jim, are you sitting down because I’m sorry to say sir the most heinous detail is still to come, Coach. After the season opening loss to Utah, I composed an article openly declaring that Jake Rudock must be offered as a blood sacrifice to the fall harvest because he’s just that fucking goddamn awful at playing quarterback – which come to think of it sir, is still absolutely fucking true today, even though we’re now 4-1. Look, forget I mentioned murdering Rudock in cold blood for the moment – unless by some chance you think Shane Morris can hit a wide open mutherfucking receiver on any one of the three big play action go routes your offense creates every single goddamn game that is; in which case, I say act boldly and with your heart Jim. Anyways, the point here sir, is that I was wrong and you were right, that you’re the best and I’m the worst, that you’re very good looking and I am, uhh, not attractive… man, Adam Sandler used to be funny didn’t he Jim? What the fuck happened to that guy anyways? Never mind, it’s not important sir.

Now before you decide whether or not to forgive my wretched, disgusting, heathen soul Mr. Harbaugh, I should like to say a few words in my defense and on behalf of the long-suffering and oft-abused modern Michigan fanbase if I may. You left, Coach; you weren’t here for the dark times when the program was entrusted to mental midgets and arrogant narcissists not worthy of carrying Bo’s fucking jock strap to and from the airport. Oh Jim, we all thought we were so goddamn hard done by – when the line of Schembechler fell barren and modern recruiting passed Lloyd Carr by like Timmy Biakabutuka running free in the fucking Ohio State secondary. But oh no sir, we had no idea of the hellish darkness yet to come when the tide ebbed lowest.

Rich Rod
“Blocking? Pat White didn’t need goddamn blocking son.”

After the AD and an irate fanbase managed to depose the doddering puppet-prince Carr, our beloved program was entrusted to that skeevy bastard Rich Rodriguez and his microwave, videogame offense that was high on speed, but low on wins against credible competition. That son of a bitch was greasier than a Wal-Mart parking lot Jim, a fabulous recruiter to be sure but completely incapable of understanding how to suppress octogenarian boosters and keep a rabid Ann Arbor media corps desperate for raw, bleeding meat on a daily basis at bay. The little prick even had the nerve to try and slip players he knew would never get by admissions into back to back fucking recruiting classes sir, thereby drawing the Athletic Department into an open, unwinnable conflict with the bloody eggheads who really run the University. He wasn’t one of us Coach, and perhaps more shamefully, he never seemed to understand just what was so goddamn special about coaching at Michigan – and the losses Jim, oh dear lord the agonizing losses as we got punched in the mouth over and over by teams that would never have out-toughed a mutherfucking Michigan squad while Bo was alive! As fast as you can say MAC-WAC-12PAC little league offense, the knives were out and Rich Rod was banished to the middle of a desert; humiliated perhaps, but now fundamentally aware that it’s awfully hard to win games with a tinker-tot, basketball on grass football team in the cold blowing winds of a bitter Michigan autumn.

Of course, then there was an overreaction Jim – after all, as I’m sure you know, one just does not suck sweaty donkey nuts against Sparty and the Fuckeyes while simultaneously pissing all over our traditions like a stint in fucking Morgantown makes you King Shit of Football; if one expects to keep the Michigan job that is. And so, all director dipshit David Brandon’s horses and all of his men began the search for a homegrown champion to restore the full pride and glory of the football program – only Michigan Men need apply. If you want to know the truth Mr. Harbaugh, we were looking for you; but, sadly, you weren’t available and neither was that grass chewing pinhead down in Louisiana. That’s right sir, Michigan, the greatest program in the goddamn history of college football was shunned by Les fucking Miles of all damn people and into the resulting maelstrom of pain, confusion and unrequited longing; an impostor slid. In retrospect, that fat fuck Brady Hoke got the Michigan job because nobody better was available, he made Lloyd Carr smile a couple fucking times back in the day and he was either too stupid or too stubborn to say the word “State” after he uttered the word “Ohio.”

"Has anyone found a set of car keys? I think I dropped them during warmups."
“Anyone found a set of car keys? I dropped them during warm-ups. Small, key-like things? Anyone?”

It started out all right; but even during that magical 11-2 season (completed entirely with players recruited by RichRod), there were signs of trouble only the most absurdly fanatical acolytes could ignore – not the least of which were embarrassing losses to Sparty and those pig-fucking corn farmers in Iowa. Soon, the true depth of Hoke’s staggering, mind-blowing fucking incompetence would become clear however sir, as more of Rodriquez’s players departed and the staff’s inability to actually, you know, fucking coach anything, took its awful toll. Fuck, I probably don’t have to tell you that Hoke’s minions failed to develop any goddamn quality offensive linemen and our recruiting at the quarterback position looks like some kind of obscene, scatological joke in retrospect do I? Every year under Hoke, the program got measurably worse Mr. Harbaugh; and through it all that mountainous, meandering moron kept talking tough about tradition and refusing to wear the color red – as if any of that symbolic nonsense meant a goddamn thing if you couldn’t win the bloody Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl for fuck’s sake. By the end Jim, our beloved Wolverines couldn’t even execute a fucking punt formation correctly and the Brady Hoke era ended just as the Rich Rod era had begun – with Michigan a national punch line as the likes of Sparty and Team Sexy Band Camp waved their piss-scented, engorged cocks in our faces. Christ on a crutch Jim, the sheer fucking existential horror of just remembering the whole mutherfucking mess is moving me to tears as I write you this letter.

Sad Michigan Fan
Seven seasons summed up in one perfect reaction shot

Do you understand the awful, wretched truth of it all now sir? I wanted to believe Jim, I so desperately wanted to fucking believe that this time things would be different; but my heart was too broken by false idols and empty promises to trust so easily. After all the pain, embarrassment and excessive consumption of narcotics the past seven years had wrought – I just wasn’t ready to hear about tradition, secret training camps and magical maize and blue fairy dust. I am ashamed to admit it Jim, but I was goddamn terrified that the program had fallen so far, it would pull even a ball-busting bastard like you into the vortex of stupefying suck and failure that seemed to perpetually encase Ann Arbor. I’d lost the ability to trust Coach, the ability to believe in something bigger than myself and well, let’s be fair Jim – that last season you puked out in San Francisco was fucking horrible, if we’re both being objective here sir. I was lost Mr. Harbaugh, and then, in the re-birthing haze of back to back shutouts somehow achieved despite continuing to start Jake fucking Rudock at quarterback, I became found. As the final whistle blew, and the rest of whole goddamn football world started to look towards next week’s potential crime against offensive football against Northwestern – I knew I had to sit down and write you this letter.

So, in conclusion Jim, I’d just like to say – oh thank fucking god you’re finally here to save us; and to once again pledge my undying loyalty to all things maize, blue and Yost. If you ever need a hand with anything Mr. Harbaugh – like say privacy hedge maintenance or perhaps solving our mutual goddamn Jake Rudock problem on a permanent basis, please don’t hesitate to ask Coach. I don’t like to brag, but I know a guy who knows a guy who’s in Obie Trice’s entourage; if you understand my meaning sir. God bless.

– Nina Illingworth