The clock is ticking on Harbaugh

goofy harbaughThe The clock never strikes zero on some games.

Michigan’s 62-39 loss to Ohio State is one of them. In other words Wolverine nation, the world and our entire community will live that game for years to come. It was a statement game that we won’t soon forget.

It still runs in our minds which means the clock has yet to strike zero.

Michigan seems to have a lot of those games because the program is so well established and followed and does not live up to expectations.

One game that never struck zero was the stunning loss to Appalachian State in 2007.

Who was like me and believed Michigan had a decent chance to win the OSU game? Who was like me wondering what the heck is going on as the points kept rolling for the Buckeyes?

You can’t blame the refs or bad weather or bad luck for this one. This was a bullet between the eyes.

This is not just another loss to Ohio State. This is a black eye. This is a dagger and this opens up debates that will haunt the program.

For instance, if the losses to OSU continue Michigan must fire the man the administration and most of its fan base believed was the savior. Harbaugh received a pass that no other coach in the nation would receive in Ann Arbor. He kept losing to the States (Ohio State and Michigan State) and folks kept believing he’d turn this around.

He was beyond criticism in Wolverine nation.

For instance Harbaugh made a huge tactical error in 2015 against MSU when he sent two gunners out to defend the last punt of the game instead of using maximum protection. The play resulted in a bobbled snap, muffed punt and a last second touchdown by the Spartans Jalen Watts-Jackson.

Most Michigan fans called the play a fluke and refused to lay blame on Harbaugh.

Now the honeymoon is officially over for Harbaugh. He must realize that winning 10 games without beating Ohio State or at least winning a Big Ten title is not good enough. There are different expectations at UM.

This is supposed to be a football power, not Iowa with better uniforms.

You must beat your rival now and then. Bo Schembechler was a hero for going 5-4-1 against Woody Hayes in the 10-year war. Bo, by the way, was a heavy underdog in his first game against Ohio State but found a way to win.

Harbaugh is now being compared to former Ohio State Coach John Cooper — except Cooper accomplished more. Cooper was 111-43-1 at Ohio State, won three Big Ten titles, a Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl. But his 2-10-1 record against Michigan got him fired. Three times Michigan beat unbeaten Buckeye teams under Cooper.

Michigan fans clamored for Ohio State to keep Cooper just like Buckeyes are screaming for Michigan to keep Harbaugh.

While Harbaugh prepares his team like he is Bo Jr. current OSU coach Urban Meyer has turned up the heat in Columbus with speedy and strong players that can compete with and beat anyone in the country outside of Alabama. And he long ago abandoned the three yards and a cloud of turf offense Harbaugh imposes.

Michigan can never beat Ohio State with this current style. OSU is 11-1 but played terrible football this season until it faced Michigan. The Buckeyes got run off the field at Purdue and were in dog fights with Maryland, Penn State and Nebraska.

Michigan was playing better football until it was on the same field with Ohio State.

The clock is now ticking on a game that will never end and on Harbaugh.

 

 

 

 

Toxic atmosphere prevented success for Ebron in Detroit

ebronTight end Eric Ebron was never going to work out in Detroit and we are all to blame for that.

The Detroit Lions, Lion fans, Ebron. Everybody. You name it.

For those of you who remain Detroit Lion fans, you often turn an angry eye south to grumble over the success Ebron is having with the Indianapolis Colts. His good fortune there angers you and many of you wonder why it could not happen in Detroit.

Ebron has nine touchdowns with the Indianapolis Colts which would make him the Lions team leader by a wide margin on a lethargic Lions offense. The Lions (3-6) not only fail to score but they are getting run quickly out of games by opponents.

Why couldn’t the Lions get the same production out of him? Why was he more known for drops than touchdowns with the Lions? He scored 11 touchdowns in four seasons with the Lions and the team released him last spring.

Five days later the Colts signed him to a two-year, $15 million contract. He became an instant hit there, but we were never going to see this production out in Detroit. The pubic never forgave him or the Lions for making him a first-round pick in the 2014 draft. The toxic atmosphere played on his mind and he could never play care free football in Detroit. In Indianapolis fans don’t care that the Lions made him a first round pick. It is never discussed or is the topic on talk radio and the rest of the media.

No matter how well Ebron played in Detroit, it was followed by a ” yeah but he was a first round pick and he remains a bust.”

It bothered Ebron. He never got into a comfort zone and Colts fans are benefitting by it.

 

Trump media war is out of control

trump mediaDonald Trump is right. Some of the news reported by the press is fake.

It is not right. It never happened. But deep down he realizes that much of it is accurate and dead on. His problem is the way the media analyzes the news that it gathers. He also does not like that the press ignores much of the good news coming out of the White House.

That’s why we witnessed the unprofessional exchange between Trump and the media the day after the mid term elections.  CNN reporter Jim Acosta lost his White House press credential because of it.

I’ve never witnessed a more hostile media-source environment than the one between Trump and the media.

Much of it is Trump’s fault. He created the environment and people who work for him are fueling it. Here is why I believe some of the news never happened. Most of it comes from unnamed sources. Sometimes those sources are wrong. Sometimes those sources only know part of the truth. Sometimes those sources have an agenda.

The reporter must trust that the source is telling the truth and knows the entire story. Most of the time they do. Some of the time they don’t.

From my years as a reporter I’ve found that leaks begin when people inside an organization don’t believe in the leader or in the product. There are people inside the West Wing who disagree with Trump’s policies and the way he is running the country.

I was not allowed to used unnamed sources most of the time. During the rare times I was allowed I had to name the source to my editor. That always made me nervous because if the source’s name got out they could lose their job and I could lose access.

The White House sources believe that they are doing what’s best for the country when they leak stories to the press. If Trump talks about something privately they deem to be bad for the people, they leak it in hopes that public pressure causes Trump to change his position or soften his view.

I do not believe that reporters from the Washington Post or the New York Times wake up in the morning looking to make up stories about Trump. But I do believe they look for dirt on Trump.

Trump created this environment by being rude to the press and his Republican opponents during the primary. Trump can’t be a bully and then when things blow back in his face plead for everybody to be civil. That’s not the way it works. People go by the  motto of I will treat you like you treat me.

For example. If you invite me over to your house and I am polite, how are you going to treat me?

If you invite me over to your house and I complain that the drapes and carpet are ugly and I grab the wife by the ass, would you treat me differently? I would guess yes.

Trump has been that rude and drunk guest for two years now. What does he expect?

Trump stirred up the hornets nest during the latest press conference by talking about the dishonest and fake media for the billionth time. That set the tone for a hostile meeting.

CNN reporter Jim Acosta did some grandstanding and should have relinquished his microphone after his first question. He brushed aside an interns attempt to take the microphone away. His actions were wrong but not enough to have his credentials revoked.

However, he should have backed down no matter how mad he was. The media is not supposed to be part of the story.

On this day I am calling a double technical foul on Trump and Acosta along with two minutes in the penalty box.

 

 

 

 

CMU visit encourages me to new ventures

CMU in FlowersThis may sound corny, but I fell in love with my alma mater Central Michigan University all over again last weekend.

I felt love and self worth and ran into a bunch of people that wanted to remind me of what a great career I had in journalism and they want me to embrace a new journey during the golden age of life.

I’ve been encouraged to teach journalism, which I did to a little bit of this fall during a month long mentorship with the Detroit Police Athletic League at the old Tiger Stadium site.

After returning from my trip I heard from a doctor at Henry Ford Health System who wants permission to pass along my story and treatment to other physicians. My story might help push along a Wellness Center that the hospital wants to add to its West Bloomfield location.

By the way Doc, you have my permission to pass along my story.

I attended the Central Michigan University journalism Hall of Fame dinner in Mt. Pleasant and ran into current students and old pals during the weekend. No stop is complete without a trip to The Bird Bar and Grille downtown where we swapped tales both real and fabricated over beer and bourbon.

One young man grilled me for nearly an hour on my legacy. He said that I must know that I influenced a lot of people during my career in newspaper and radio. He was one of those people indirectly influenced because his journalism professor spoke highly of me and passed things I did to his students.

“So you must know how many people you influenced,” he said over and over again.

Actually I don’t. I was so busy with life that I never had time to take a breath and think about what I was doing and who I touched. And secondly social media does not allow you to think that way.

I’ve been called every shade of scum over the years for the transgression of rarely believing in the Detroit Lions. Or for saying that Michigan State played better football over the last decade than the University of Michigan.

Detroit sports fans are passionate, which I appreciate, but people make it personal. When you attack a team, people believe you are attacking them. So when people use four letter words to describe you, you don’t think about being this great guy spreading the word.

It stung a little bit a couple years ago when I became ill with a stroke. I did not read social media for six months. Doctors said that I needed a positive frame of mind to get through some tough stretches. They feared that depression would put me in a state of mind where I might not recover.

My childhood friend Lamont suffered a stroke two days after I did. He did not have the right frame of mind and died last winter.

After a while I began to read messages and was overwhelmed by the positive and supportive messages. They really made me happy and put me in the right frame of mind. But there were some creepers.

Some wrote that they hoped I had another stroke. Normally that would not bother me, but I went through some dark days where I was not certain I’d be able to talk and walk like a normal human being. I was not sure I’d ever be able to go out to dinner and laugh and talk with family and friends.

I was not sure I’d even be able to write a blog. And one doctor said that if I had another stroke that he believes I’d either die or regress so much that life might not be worth living.

But some bastards wants me to have another stroke? Nice.

At CMU I bummed around with my old pals from CM Life Gibby and Mickey Finn. We reminisced about the fun days of being a student. We enjoyed walking the campus and touring new spots in Mt. Pleasant. We restocked our supply of CMU sweat shirts and met with current students.

The Hall of Fame dinner was filled with friends and no one mumbled a discouraging word. That was encouraging.

Harbaugh places cone of silence around humbled Wolverines

michigan-vs-michigan-state.jpgI’m a bad husband.

I picked out the biggest Michigan Wolverine booster I could find and waited for him to be within listening distance of my wife Abs. Just to let you know,  Abs is a die hard Spartan. She is always nervous during Michigan-Michigan State week for fear that Michigan might beat her team by a ridiculous score of 82-0.

Any way this guy is strolling around Kroger with the biggest, boldest Michigan Wolverines shirt in history. I waited until he was near Abs to ask: “Who is going to win the big game this Saturday?”

In years past the Wolverine would pause for effect, take a stance like they were John Wayne before proclaiming: “We are going to kick some Sparty ass.”

This guy didn’t. My Wolverine friends at the gym didn’t either.

“Well you can tell who I am rooting for,” he said. “I think we should win but you just never know. I am worried.”

He went on to proclaim MSU coach Mark Dantonio to be some kind of magician who spins wins out of thin air. The Wolverine was nervous.

A Michigan writer asked Coach Jim Harbaugh can his team muster up enough energy to face a Spartan team who makes this game their Super Bowl and World Series all rolled into one.”

That is no longer true. The Spartans do not make this a life or death situation any more even though beating Michigan is important to them. They get riled up when Michigan players bombard them with “little brother” talk and other disrespectful terms. Harbaugh, who once guaranteed victory over Ohio State as a player, has put the cone of silence around his players this week and they followed his lead.

Harbaugh has won the week by his players not talking a lot of noise. MSU is already fired up about this game. Why add fuel to the fire?

Do your talking on the field.

And you know the media is dying for a Michigan player to utter the term “little brother.” So is Dantonio.

The Spartans have finally humbled the Wolverines. They’ve won eight of the last 10 meetings, won two Big Ten championships and been to the BCS national championship semi final.

Michigan, who used to rule the state, hasn’t even played in a Big Ten title game.

MSU also wins games it has no business winning. That is why the Michigan program is being more respectful and silent.

I’ve spent years snooping around the Spartan program as a journalist. MSU players would give us the standard “we hate Michigan” sound bites. Calm stuff. Then someone from Michigan would talk about little brother and suddenly State players had razor blades piercing from their eyes with anger.

My advice for Michigan players was to shut up and play the game. It looks like the humbled Wolverines learned their lesson and it is one of the reasons I pick them to win a dreadful, boring game over the Spartans.

 

 

I miss my tennis road dogs

burwellWe were drenched in sweat as we trudged into an Atlanta Buckhead restaurant with tennis rackets in hand for lunch and a refreshing drink.

We’d just completed a couple seats of doubles tennis in the Georgia heat during an off day during the opening round of the 1991 playoff series between the Detroit Pistons and Atlanta Hawks.

I was enjoying an afternoon with my road dogs at the time. Later that night we’d create some devilish times also. Free Press sports writer Drew Sharp and Washington Post columnist Mike Wilbon sat across the table from Detroit News columnist Byron Burwell and myself.

I must have loved these guys because I never called any of them by their given names. Wilbon was “Bubbles” for reasons I can’t remember. I called Burwell Home Box Head because he had a gigantic head and appeared on HBO. Drew was Boodini.

We swapped NBA and newspaper stories and I’m sure Wilbon told Charles Barkley tale or two, which always cracked us up. Wilbon and Chuck were boys and worked on a couple books together. I’d had my funny moments with Barkley, including the time he allowed me to stay in the dressing room after the media was kicked out before a game at the Palace.

And there was the time Barkley went on a 20 minute filibuster on Manute Bol’s feet and ashy legs. I bent over in laughter as Bol, who stood a helpless 7-foot-7, tried to get Barkley to stop.

Between every joke Bol would raise his arms and say: “Come on Chuck. Stop it Chuck. Oh Charlie. You are not funny.”

He was.

Back to lunch. Wilbon, Sharp, Burwell and I ordered lunch and cold, refreshing home made lemonade. This was not Country Time or powdered lemonade. This was the real stuff with real pulp and real taste just like momma made.

The real lemonade was $1.25 a glass, which was worth every penny. After we sucked down our first glass Wilbon asked if we wanted refills. We all shook our head yes.

We flagged down the waitress and told here we wanted four refills. A petrified look flooded her face before she nervously told us it would cost 75 cents for a refill. We thought her reaction was strange but Wilbon quipped: “I think we got the money so fill us up.”

The Washington Post, Free Press and News were paying for these meals and lemonade.

“She probably thought four brothers were going to riot over a 75 cent glass of lemonade,” Burwell quipped.

That might have been the case. She later apologized for her reaction and said we seemed like good guys. If only she knew.

I miss those days of hanging with my boys on the road. And I miss my boys period. We could never recreate that championship doubles match. Burwell died at age 59 of skin cancer. Drew died at age 56 of a heart attack.

Wilbon is alive but suffered a heart attack in 2008 and I was downed by a stroke in 2016. We all had major health setbacks before the age of 60.

Being a sports writer is an exciting and rewarding profession. But the lifestyle is hazardless to your health. The food is too good, the drinks too plentiful and you don’t feel like working out at a Seattle hotel after flying in from Los Angeles that morning. Wilbon is still on the road for ESPN and admitted during the NABJ conference in Detroit that he has not been able to take care of himself like he wants because of it.

I miss my friends. I miss my life.  However, I am grateful because I am alive, walking and talking without assistance. I want to write again but you can have the road.

I’m just fine here in Detroit.

Tennis anyone?

 

 

 

 

 

 

I want to lend my services

teacher.jpgI have a story to tell and life experiences to share.

And I believe that I am at a stage of my recovery from a stroke to do both.

Here are my goals.

Next fall I want to mentor a high school or college news organization.

I want to mentor stroke and heart attack victims also. I have talked to my speech therapists who is trying to pave roads through the Henry Ford Health system. All we need is a room and time for people to join us.

I have life experiences in both and believe I can assist young and old alike.

I have run like a chicken with my head cut off for most of my 59 years on the planet. Now that I’ve slowed down in retirement it is time for me to help others. I still have a lot in the tank and I want to share.

If you know of an organization or school that can use my services leave a message on my blog, on twitter at TerryFoster971 or shoot me an email at TerryFoster74@comcast.net.

I want to help.

Why can’t Detroit become the next Music City?

Nashville — They are dressed in colorful shorts, cowboy boots and daisy dukes. They add flavor to the West End and Broadway Street.

They boost the economy in Music City. And they are nice to look at. They are the brides maids and brides that make this the Bridle Party capital of the United States.

They come for the food, but they mostly come for the country music and the endless booze on Broadway Street.

I love the atmosphere here in Music City. My question is why can’t this happen in Motown?

A few years ago I couldn’t find anyone interested in coming to Nashville for vacation. Now folks from all around come here.

Downtown Detroit is enjoying a rebirth. We have new buildings, new hotels, new stadiums and new people. What downtown Detroit lacks is the old school identity that put us on the map.

Would a street or section that pays homage to Motown music and cars work the same way that Beale Street in Memphis and Broadway in Nashville work. In Memphis bars and restaurants are lined up blazing the blues. In Nashville there are dozens of bars with country music dominating the air. There are also hotels, gift shops, coffee shops and ice cream parlors.

Where is Detroit’s Motown Blvd? Motown Museum isn’t even a part of Detroit’s destination highway. It is tucked away on West Grand Blvd in an area that people don’t otherwise travel. I grew up with three miles of the Motown Museum and have never been.

We need a street downtown lined with the Motown Museum, the Motown Cafe, the Old 20 Grand Night Club, Motown Coffee, Motown pastries, Motown auto museum and the Motown hotel. It would be Greek Town with a motor city feel.

If Nashville and Memphis can do it, why not Detroit?

 

 

 

Lomas Brown prepared to rip Lions offense

lomas brownLomas Brown knows his relationship with Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford and offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter won’t be as friendly because he is prepared to criticize the offense, if need be, as the new color man on WJR’s Lions broadcast.

“I know it’s going to be tricky with Matthew Stafford,” Brown said Tuesday night. “I am not sold on the offense. I hope its a case where Jim Caldwell had the handcuffs on Cooter and it will be different this season. I am not impressed with the offense.”

Brown admits that he is in a tough spot replacing Jim Brandstatter as the color commentator for Lions broadcast, a man he considers a good friend. But he thought the wheels were in motion for change last season when he did weekly Lions segments on the station.

“I think they were auditioning me to see if I could do it,” Brown said.

Still Brown was as shocked as anybody when told he was replacing Brandstatter, who was fired on earlier this week. He thought WJR was going to a three-man booth with Miller, Brandstatter and Brown. About 2-3 weeks ago the conversations with WJR changed and Brown believed he might replace Brandstatter.

Brown said the move was made by WJR because the station wanted someone affiliated with the Lions in the booth. Brandstatter is viewed as a Michigan man because he played for the Wolverines and is the play by play man for their broadcast.  Dan Miller is viewed as a Fox 2 man because he is their sports anchor. Brown played left tackle for the Lions for 11 seasons and lasted 18 seasons total in the NFL. He also played for the Arizona Cardinals, Cleveland Browns and New York Giants. He won a Super Bowl with the Tampa Bay Bucs before retiring.

He wanted to return to the Lions as an offensive line coach. Brown was even fitted with a coaches shirt by the team but the club did not hire him. Instead Brown mentored young linemen for the New York Giants.

Brown promises not to parrot the company line in the broadcast booth.

“I am going to try to tell people what I am seeing and with my 18 years of NFL experience” Brown said. “I think my 18 years of playing will give me credibility with the (players) when I am criticizing them. I hope they view it as constructive criticism rather than just ripping them. If I don’t tell the truth the fans will see right through that. My relationship might not be the same with the team or with some of the players but I have to call it like I see it.”

Brown will give up his duties on WDIV’s Sunday Sports Final Edition sports show with Jamie Edmonds in a dispute over money.  Brown said the new job comes with mixed emotions because of his strong relationship with Brandstatter.

“That’s my man,” Brown said. “When they first told me about getting the job I was more in shock. I consider Jim to be a great broadcaster. And Jim and his wife Robbie Timmons are dear friends. Those  are some huge shoes to fill. I thought he did a very good job. I am putting a lot of pressure to not be at his standard but to keep the standard going.”

 

 

 

 

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