By now, you’ve at least heard of yesterday’s legendary Michigan vs. Michigan State game, if you weren’t one of the many fans furiously yelling at a TV. The ending of said rivalry game was so bonkers, so perfectly set up to make everyone’s head explode, that it put one fan at the game in the hospital with a heart attack (now in stable condition).
In short, Michigan punter Blake O'Neill dropped the ball with ten seconds to go and lost it in the chaotic onslaught. The change of tone in those seconds was dramatic and swift, and it’s only a matter of time before the gif below becomes a go-to meme.
But at this instant-classic moment’s core is a college student making an error with an insane amount of pressure on him. That’s not exactly a thing that deserves death threats, which unfortunately became the case and prompted Michigan’s athletic director, Jim Hackett, to pen an open letter to Michigan fans today, reminding them of a good many things that can sometimes fall by wayside in sport fan fevers.
Here it is in full.
Dear Michigan family,
This Saturday’s game continued to prove the progress that we are making in our football program.
This isn’t only the way I feel the morning after a sudden change of euphoria took us to a heartbreaking loss. I know that many feel this – we are proud of our kids.
I know that all of our friends believe in what they saw for nearly 60 minutes of that game. This team left nothing on the field but its best effort.
The quality of Michigan football filled the chilled air.
Today I awake to the shocking reality that our community who care so much about this program would send hurtful, spiteful and vicious comments to one of our students. To be clear, such comments come from a small minority, none of whom are reflective of our institution.
The program I know at MICHIGAN speaks about the team, the team the team. The people I have been associated with my whole life around this fantastic program - some whom are living and some whom have passed on - would never, I repeat never, spread blame.
As our head coach said yesterday, “…this outcome will steel our spine.”
That means all of us.
I’m asking that our community not lose this game twice by condoning thoughtless comments and remember the Fielding Yost comment that this is the “Michigan of ours.”