by | Nov 30, 1986 | Detroit Free Press | 0 comments

TO: Jimmy Johnson, coach, Miami

FROM: Bo Schembechler, coach, Michigan

Dear Jimmy,

First, let me congratulate you on a fine season. Well done. Undefeated? Wow. You couldn’t do better than that, even if you played real teams.

Listen, Jimmy, the reason I am writing: I’m a little concerned — as a fellow coach — about all this criticism concerning your program. It’s not right that the No. 1 team in the nation keeps hearing the words “cream puff” wherever it goes.

Just because you played Tulsa? And Northern Illinois? And Cincinnati? And they call that cream puff? Honestly! I have all the respect in the world for the . . . the, uh . . . what’s the Tulsa team called again? Well, dang it. It doesn’t matter. It’s all the media’s fault anyhow.

You know how the media are, Jimmy.

Anyhow, I see you’re going to the Fiesta Bowl. Fine place. We were there last year. Of course, we didn’t get $2 million per team like you guys will.

But I don’t care about that.

Here’s the thing, Jimmy: You should rid yourself of all this cream puff criticism. You’re No. 1 right? But look — your Fiesta Bowl opponent is Penn State. Heck, they’re just you in blue and white uniforms. Another independent with an easy schedule. So what if they’re No. 2? People say their opponents are as marshmallow as yours.

No, Jimmy, clearly what you need is one more challenge from a school solidly entrenched in a conference tradition. Somebody big. Somebody Big. Somebody . . . Big Ten.

Why, of course . . . Say, here’s an idea How about us?

We’re not too busy after this week. We’ve got to play Hawaii, which is as least as tough as the last three teams you’ve played. And then, we’re free until the Rose Bowl. Heck, why don’t you and your team come on up here the week before Christmas and we’ll play us a little football?

Let me tell you a bit about us, in case you don’t know. We are a large-sized Midwestern university nestled in the town of Ann Arbor. (I’m copying this right from the brochure.) Ann Arbor is in Michigan. Which borders Indiana. Which borders Illinois, which borders Missouri, which borders Arkansas, which borders Oklahoma, which is where you find Tulsa.

You know Tulsa, of course.

What is their team called again . . . ?

Oh, well, forget it. Now, Jimmy here’s the reason I suggest you come up here.


Yes, I said snow, Jimmy. Prove you can play in it. All the great college champions have played in snow, and we’re sure to have some by mid-December. Besides, I think our winter wonderland may be a safer place for your team.

Safer? Yes. Look at what happened last week after one of your practices down in the sunshine. Your star quarterback, Vinny Testaverde, was riding home on his scooter and crashed. Got all bruised and cut. You couldn’t even use him against East Carolina, which must have caused you great concern, as tough as they are.

We don’t use scooters up here.

We use steel-belted radials. Think of it as a tune-up I’m only thinking of you with this proposal Jimmy. As a fellow coach. Hey, who needs all that cream puff talk? You don’t. Come on up here and play us, and beat us, and you can shut them all up.

Of course if we win . . .

Well, let’s not get into that now.

It might be good for your men to lose a little of their tans, too, and let some of that cocoa butter dry up before New Year’s. Football players should have black stuff under their eyes, not white cream on their noses.

Besides, we have a pretty decent quarterback of our own, and we’ve been known to play some defense now and then. I feel confident we can give you at least as tough a game as, say . . . Texas Tech. You did play Texas Tech, didn’t you? What’s their team called, again? Well, dang it. Doesn’t matter.

Anyhow, a game with us will help clear up this rankings stuff once and for all. You’ll soon play No. 2, you’ve already played No. 3 (Oklahoma), now you can play No. 4. That’s us. Not that I care about a national championship. I don’t. Heck.

That’s why I let us lose that Minnesota game.

So there it is. Just a challenge. You know me, Jimmy. I don’t believe in taunts. I won’t try to make you mad just to get you to play us. Good clean football, that’s always been my approach.

By the way, who does your hair? You look so much like Glen Campbell, it kills me.



Jimmy Johnson


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