(Rich Rodriguez saying his final goodbye and thank you to Chloe and Tony Almeida's Cubs coffee mug)
24 closed down shop on Monday night after an up-and-down, yet strong finish to season 8. I loved the first four seasons of the show, hated seasons 5-7, and came back full circle for Jack's final stand this season. What was different? Oh, I don't know for sure. Maybe it's because they let him be a cold-blooded killing machine again? Maybe it was that Steven Root is STILL rotting away inside the walls of CTU? Maybe it was Hassan's hair that added 18 inches to his height? Maybe it was an appearance by Don "The Matador" Everest from Tilt (AKA Michael Madsen)? Whatever it was, the show was usually entertaining and will be missed on Monday nights in the Money household.
But it got me thinking, for as awesome as Jack was and is, rarely did anyone believe in him. He was ALWAYS right yet only 3-4 people ever trusted him. You would think that after all he did and all that he sacrificed, no one would ever doubt him. All he wanted is for good to prevail and for his family to be safe. What he got in return was the government, in which he worked so hard for, putting a shoot-to-kill order on him. The President was after him. A former President was after him. The Russians were going to eat his face off. Somali pirates were OK with him though. He basically had to take on the world by himself. And you know what, in the end, he still won.
And I kind of see some of those same parallels with RichRod at Michigan. While some of it is deserved and self-induced, he is getting dumped on by EVERYONE. Everything is his fault apparently. Now I'm not even close to being an expert on Michigan football, but from what I gather, all the guy is trying to do is to do what they brought him in to do: win football games with his style of play.
From what I can tell, he hasn't made excuses for his shortcomings. It is still a work in progress. Regardless of what the fanbase may want, you don't go from slow, plodding, outdated Lloyd Carr shit to quick hitting, big play Rich offense over night. You can't even do that in one season. It takes time. When he was hired, everyone said this and knew this. Yet for some reason, he isn't getting that time anymore. It's quite evident that he is on the hot seat. For what though? Bringing a dying program into the 21 Century and breaking a few minor rules (yes, they are very minor).
It appears that no one in the athetlic department seems to back Rich. The Free Press fucking hates the guy and has no problem making the smallest little story into a national disaster. The fanbase is buying into all this shit, too. It's laughable to me that Rodriguez took the blame for the "over-practicing" debacle in which UM has recently tried to punish themselves for. Yeah, he's the fall guy. Why aren't people blaming the real assholes here? Every athletic department in the country has a fucking NCAA COMPLIANCE DEPT.! Making sure that coaches and players at the university follow the rules IS THEIR FUCKING ONLY JOB. They should punish themselves for allowing this to happen. They knew about these long practices on Sundays yet they did nothing. Fire those fucking people!
Is Rich the cleanest guy in the world? Of course not. Who could forget about his outstandingly awkward break-up with West F'n Virginia? But is he to blame because Michigan's entire athletic department is a divided joke? Hell no. He's a football coach, not a rules interpreter. His job, much like Jack's, is to get the job done. Sometimes, in order to get the desired results, you may need to turn down a dark alley or two. It's part of the job of being a successful coach. Now, he hasn't been getting the job done so far and he would probably be the first person to admit that. Two straight seasons with no bowl game is unacceptable for that program. But they appear to be trending in the right direction and isn't that what you want to see? It's not like this program was racking up national titles before he got there.
So consider me the lone crusader on the RichRod bandwagon. It's getting old watching the man take the blame for every little thing that goes wrong in the state of Michigan. You know, maybe it would be for the best if they fired him so that he could move on to a place with less fuck-ups running and supporting his program. Maybe that dickbag from Domino's will call him up after the season and let him know that he needs to disappear since the university, the media, and the fanbase are all after him. And they will destroy him if he sticks around. Give him the Jack Bauer ending. Let him know that you appreciate everything that he did but it's time for him to disappear into the shadows. They won't do that though. There is no chance in Hell that these people will let Rich out of town without one last smear campaign.
Michigan fans...can't live with 'em and they can't pee standing up.