Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Bold Statement

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This iconic image was brought to you by Bill Campbell

I am reading Walter Isaacson's brilliant biography of Steve Jobs.

Yesterday afternoon I came to the fascinating part of the book where the history-making TV spot for the Apple MacIntosh is being made.

Jobs was, of course, very enthusiastic about the ad and had hired film director Ridley Scott, fresh off his work on Blade Runner, to helm the project.

But a good chunk of the Apple board, especially the hapless then-CEO John Scully, hated the commercial and didn't want to spend the big money to put it on during the Super Bowl.

I now quote directly from the book:

"Sculley, perhaps to avoid a showdown with either the board or Jobs, decided to let Bill Campbell, the head of marketing, figure out what to do. Campbell, a former football coach, decided to throw the long bomb. 'I think we ought to go for it,' he told his team."

The rest is history.

The MacIntosh commercial aired in the third quarter of Super Bowl XVIII and one of the greatest brands was born.

That was 28 years ago.

It's time once again for Campbell to push his team to take a bold step and win.

His team is the Columbia football program. As long as most of us have been around, it has always been his team.

Campbell needs to bite the bullet and make sure the replacement process for Head Coach Norries Wilson goes through.

He needs to make sure President Lee Bollinger keeps his resolve when the criticisms come from outside sources.

And then, Campbell needs to take the even BOLDER step and set out to find a stunningly brash choice to become the new Lions head coach.

Columbia needs someone as stunning and powerful as that Apple commercial a quarter of a century ago.

No more unproven assistants.

No more people without the maturity and proven track record of winning.

Someone who will make an impact as dramatic as that woman who threw the hammer and shattered the massive TV screen filled with the image of Big Brother.

Ivy Power Rankings

1. Harvard

Every team had to play in snowy, windy, and slippery conditions Saturday.

Only one team didn't miss a single beat.

The Crimson thrashed Dartmouth 41-10 to hold serve atop the Ivies and inject a new round of fear into their remaining three opponents... the first of which is Columbia, of course.

2. Brown

An amazingly mature performance by the Bears got the job done in a 6-0 win over Penn on Saturday.

But Brown is still forced to pray for a Harvard loss if it wants to get any piece of the championship pie.

3. Penn

A very gutty performance by the Quakers came up just short in Providence.

Penn seems to be getting better as the season moves on.

It too needs Harvard to lose to get a share of the title.

But unlike Brown, the Quakers can handle that on their own with an upset at Harvard Stadium next week.

4. Yale

The Elis proved that they have the running game to win in any conditions Saturday.

They also proved that maybe the coaches are silly to have Witt passing so much when running is a lot less risky.

5. Cornell

The Big Red were almost as impressive as Harvard Saturday, it's just that they won their game against an awful Princeton team in New Jersey.

6. Dartmouth

Buddy Teevens was probably fired after that loss at Harvard. These will be his last three weeks in Hanover unless they give him a job in the administration.

Meanwhile, the Green have a real challenge this week with Cornell and it may serve as a nail in the Teevens coffin.

7. Princeton

The Tigers have two things going for them: freshman RB Chuck DiBillio, and the fact that they already played Columbia.

8. Columbia

The Lions let a golden opportunity for a win against a superior opponent slip through their hands with a questionable game plan in the snowy slop at Wien Stadium. 0-10 seems like a certainty now.


At Wed Nov 02, 01:05:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Jake, & thanks for all you do with this blog. I disagree with you about the lions going 0-10 for the season. The only two games this year that were not winnable in my opinion was Albany & Dartmouth. The Lions had every opportunity to win the other games. I'm going way out on a limb here and I smell the biggest upset of the year happening this Saturday at home. These guys have been through a lot this year & I think they’re on a mission to prove that they're way better than the record reflects. Watch for a huge upset this Saturday as this team will prove many wrong. We need Olinger, Mistretta, Murphy, Martin, Waller, Miller, and the whole entire Lion defense to play like possessed individuals. I also think Brackett will have the best game of his Lion career this Saturday. Watch for the upset of the century.

At Wed Nov 02, 01:36:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jake, are you hinting that Bollinger may cave and not move on the coach?

At Wed Nov 02, 01:47:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

With all due respect, Bill Campbell doesn't "need" to do anything.

At Wed Nov 02, 02:57:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Kevin DeMarrais '64 said...

What some saw as players jumping around merely to keep warm in those horrid conditions last Saturday, I saw as enthusiasm and resolve, a sign that the players have not given up on themselves and their teammates. They go into the final three games as undeerdogs, and there are more than enough distractions with all the talk about the coaching situation, but that kind of team unity and spirit can pay off in victory.

At Wed Nov 02, 03:38:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think we owe it to these young men to turn out in force this Saturday. If somebody has any influence with Spec, I hope that the sportswriters can urge that soem students and faculty show up for a change, including Lee Bollinger.

At Wed Nov 02, 04:06:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jake what are the costs involved in finding a new coach? Does Wilson or any of the other coaches have time left on their contracts? If the staff gets let go what will the price tag be? In addition to the next coaching staff? Any idea?

At Wed Nov 02, 05:38:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Norries is the only coach under contract (next year is his last - thankfully). All of the other coaches are on a yearly renewal. It would be short money to not keep him, OR they can employ him like Ray Tellier.

We could hire Gilmore/Margraff/Kelly, whoever, as Coach-in-Waiting. :0)

At Wed Nov 02, 05:38:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

For those that think that not having coats and a heater was just part of tough guy football, check this out:

15 players were treated for hypothermia during Saturday's game in Plainview, NY


Tough guy football went hand in hand with concusions until events like the captain of Penn's team committed suicide and a professor at Brown started to monitor hits on Ivy players' helmets. Many football players have died of heat stroke - including a pro player in the last couple of years. Why should we discount the real possibility of frostbite or hypothermia from being exposed for 3+ hours in 20 degree windchills (and that was on Long Island which didn't even get snow)? If the Ivy League isn't going to lead in issues like this, who is?

At Wed Nov 02, 05:39:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not one of the 1pct, but I would gladly purchase 2 sideline heaters for this team

At Wed Nov 02, 06:16:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for the post and link on the hypothermia article. As a previous poster said, have Dr. Levine step in and make it a medical mandate.

Do you realize that our SWIM team has parkas and we we don't! True story!

At Wed Nov 02, 08:55:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Comment on the coaching from one of the players:

""I wanted to finish my Columbia career knowing that I had given absolutely everything to the program. Although many of my closest friends graduated in the spring, dozens of my brothers remained on the squad, and having a great position coach in Aaron Smith truly solidified the decision."

At Wed Nov 02, 09:29:00 AM GMT+7, Blogger cathar said...

I'd like to add a few things about the famous "1984" commercial via which Apple was launched.

First, it only ran once. Once! A huge expenditure for a commercial which only ran once.

Second, it seemed done solely for show, to make guys in advertising feel good about their peculiarly insular take on, uh, "creativity." So it cleaned up at many advertising awards shows, which are no real indicator of market effectiveness of evfen of consumer recall.

Do you, Jake, even recall what it was about? A bunch of dumb, slobbering guys sit in some dingy room listening to some dictator-type guy rant at them. Then, suddenly, the blonde from your frame capture breaks in, runs down the center aisle, tosses the hammer she's carrying and destroys the image of "Big Brother." I worked on an advertising magazine at the time, so we had to note the awards it won, but the commercial's popularity always baffled me. (No matter that Bill Campbell, in urging it run, was also thus committing to a "long bomb.")

There may be some lessons to be learned about the once and future course of Columbia football from the "1984" spot, sure. But they may well be fairly unpleasant ones for those who remember the ad in some genuine detail, along with the curious circumstances surrounding its popularity (which seems to have been solely within the advertising industry rather than with actual consumers).

At Wed Nov 02, 06:36:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cathar. You are nothing more than a http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troll_(Internet)

At Wed Nov 02, 07:23:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Leave Cathar alone! He's entitled to his opinion. He's a bit insecure and niavie at times (makes obscure references to show that he can read), but some of his opinions are well thought out. I would also say that if he disagrees with a point of view, or Jake specifically, then his tone and demeanor should be less hostile. We are, after all, family of some sort here.

The one thing that fails me, is Cathar's blind loyalty to Norries? Statistically speaking, we should not even be engaged in the conversation to retain him, yet the debate goes on??? The argument that "this is Columbia after all...", or "we can't win in NYC", or even "the devil we know is better than the devil we don't know", is less an argument, and more of a cop-out! I, for one, refuse to settle for mediocrity!

Cathar, you keep coming with your point of view, no matter how narrow minded it may be. And Jake, I truly believe that the player, parents, alums, and the entire football/athletic programs are better off because of why ou do. Thank you Jake!

At Wed Nov 02, 07:30:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's a thought... Let's put one less toilette in that latrine looking building called the Bill Campbell Center and buy these kids some parkas so that they can at least stay warm! I saw all of the coaches wearing jackets and trying to stay warm. Most of these kids we exposed and it took them hours to recover from hypothermia.

At Wed Nov 02, 07:36:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, the Campbell Center is NOT a latrine! As a previous post remarked, it looks like a subway stop, so we may make some money out of it. In fact, we could make it an express stop for the #1 and #2 trains.

At Wed Nov 02, 09:07:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lay off the Campbell center. It is going to be a first class facility and a huge boost to our recruiting. On the parka front, I emailed MDM. She said that the purchase and use of equipment is not her responsibility, and that it lies totally within the discretion of the coaches. I respectfully disagree.

At Wed Nov 02, 09:11:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice piece by Jeremiah Sharf in Today's Spec about Saturday's game. I agree with everything he said.

At Wed Nov 02, 09:28:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If there is one single telling sign of the disregard for the players, and I blame everyone in charge of the football program (I really don't care who it is) but if there is one telling sign that things are very wrong, it was the absence of heaters and coats at the game last weekend. I don't want to hear or read anything about toughness and what or how or why or anything. It was wrong and in a season where we thought nothing else could go wrong, it did. Someone needs to be held accountable. Until someone in this organization actually steps up in circumstances like this and does the right thing, don't count on a winning season. You reap what you sow.

At Wed Nov 02, 09:50:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Best suggestion yet was from 1:38 attend this week's game in support of THE PLAYERS!

After last week's effort in a blizzard in which the lions never gave up, spending a sunny afternoon at Wein stadium to acknowledge the PLAYERS will feel as warm as any parka. Call it the Parka game.

Want to do something positive for those that really count? Attend the games. Get the everyone you can to attend. Simple tag: Thanks you PLAYERS for last week.

At Wed Nov 02, 10:37:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Long ranege forcast has tempature in the 40s and rain for Ithaca. Maybe they can come up with at least seom coats by then.

At Wed Nov 02, 11:10:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dianne is passing the buck on the absence of parkas and heaters last Saturday. She is laying it off on the coach. She has to assume at least a minimal amount of responsibility. If she shows up on Saturday, let's make it our collective business to tell her that she must make sure that this doesn't happen again.

At Wed Nov 02, 11:25:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Harvard Game Notes are posted.

At Wed Nov 02, 11:55:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is there a sane person associated with the football program that works for Columbia? The sport is played in the fall, it gets cold in the Northeast in the fall. Parkas should be a part of the uniform assignment like jerseys, pants and shoes, among other items. The coach should not have the decision making authority on this issue, the AD should and have these provided. Jim and/or Dr. Levine should state that these are required for the health and welfare of the student athletes. Does the baseball team have warmup jackets, or is that a coaches decision as well? What if NW thought the team should use only one ball during the season, for all practices and games? Is that an acceptable decision also?

At Thu Nov 03, 12:02:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like some of you would prefer to carp about the coaches and the AD than solve the problem. Pass the hat and provide the parkas. Or shut up about it, fer crissakes.

At Thu Nov 03, 12:02:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

where are game notes posted? I cannot find them.

At Thu Nov 03, 12:27:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would like to throw another name into the hat for new head coach:
Greg Gattuso.
Greg was a D-Lineman at Penn State.
He took over a cellar dwelling Duquesne team and was head coach there for 13 years. Under his leadership he turned them into perennial league champions and a NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP in early 2000's. He then became assistant head coach and D-Line coach at Pitt under Wannstedt. He was voted Big East recruiter of the year and was responsible for NY, NJ, PA and Ohio. The D-line at Pitt was the marquis position under his coaching and led the nation in sacks. After Wannstedt left Pitt, he was picked up by Randy Edsall and is the D-Line coach currently at Maryland. Thus, we have a program transforming head coach who has been successful at the FCS (head coach)and FBS level (as an assistant). I think he could do magic at Columbia.
I'm interested in everyone's thoughts.

At Thu Nov 03, 12:48:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jake, you mentioned a "questionable game plan" as the cause of the loss on Saturday. I have to take issue with that. While it would be preferable to run the ball in foul weather, you can't if your running game isn't up to it. With injuries on the OL and among the RBs and Bracket, the running game hasn't been up to it all season. Remember, just the week before, when Brackett was out and the backup QB wasn't throwing well, the running game netted only 78 yards on 32 attempts for 2.4 ypc. That was on a dry field against the Ivy ranked last for run defense. The prior week, the running game was worse, even with Brackett running, and netted only 2.1 ypc against Penn.
Yale does much better against the run than Dartmouth, about 120 ypg to 220 yog, and that includes CU's anemic Saturday at Hanover. Soooooo
do you hang your hat on the run, knowing that Yale will pack the box if you don't pass? Or do you try your passing game despite the weather, and tailor it to the conditions? Note that both CU TD's were on passes, and that on the first drive, the yardage was pass 33 and run 26; on the second, pass 4 and run 1 net. Under the circumstances and with this team it looks like the strategy was the right call to get them in the game at the end, especially if you wanted to protect Brackett (and the ball) from running the option (CU's stock in trade in the running game). The alternatives would have been to run less -- not a great idea under those conditions -- or quick kick repeatedly. That worked well for one side in an historic blizzard game, but would not have for Columbia with Cargill's day.
What would you have done differently?
And do you think the coaching decision to punt with on fourth down with 2 minutes left, behind by 10, putting pressure on Yale's return team instead of going for it, was a good one?

At Thu Nov 03, 12:55:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't forget Columbia athletics is the land of the limited budget. If you buy parkas, you give up something else. Without knowing what the budget decision was, it's impossible to criticize it. We know CU's football budget lags most if not all of the rest of the league, and certainly Yale.

At Thu Nov 03, 01:02:00 AM GMT+7, Blogger Jake said...

I think Columbia should have gone to Lowry much sooner and run with him as much as possible. The first CU TD was a beautiful play action play that was only set up because Lowry had been running well on the drive.

At Thu Nov 03, 01:04:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the budget lags then this has to be fixed. Let's get our priorities straight. Ho wmuch can parkas and heaters cost? $100 per parka, or around 10 grand? And another few grand for heaters. Look--I am a member of the hundred club, in which we pay $100 per victory. So far this season has cost me nothing. I and I'm sure other members of the hundred club would respond generously to a special plea if that is what it takes.

At Thu Nov 03, 01:28:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I want to see Griffin Lowry, 6' and 215, get at least 15 touches on Saturday. He is the power back we haven't had for years. Gerst is fragile and is not a blocker. Garrett has had 7 games to establish himself as the feature back and seems slower than he looked as a freshman.

At Thu Nov 03, 01:53:00 AM GMT+7, Blogger Jake said...

Gattuso seems great in many ways and if it were up to me, he'd get an interview for sure. Once again, he was a successful HEAD COACH, and that makes all the difference.

At Thu Nov 03, 01:54:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the poster who e-mailed Diane and her response was that the responsibility lies elsewhere (with the coaches), are you kidding me? Common sense must prevail at some point with that woman! I am dumbfounded by her response!

Let's call harvard or Cornell and see if we can take their used parkas. Better yet, just get the swim team parkas.

Interesting post on the $100 dollar per win club comment. Good call to transition those funds you set aside for wins to go to the parkas. Fyl- it's a safe bet that CU would owe you money.

Last thought... Let's just go to Home Depot, get some BIG garbage bags, some white out and put COLUMBIA FOOTBALL on the back of them. This way Norries can maintain the fact that everyone at least dresses alike.

At Thu Nov 03, 02:09:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jake, I appreciate the response. Question: how much of Lowry's running was set up by the passing threat? Also, at the end of the game, would more running while behind have created a clock management issue? These are judgment calls, and there is no righ and no wrong. But the fact remains, with respect to running the ball, the line has not shown itself to be reliable, even in the snow against Yale. For the game, CU averaged 2.2 ypc and Lowry averaged less than Garrett. Lowry's 3.2 is not terrible, but I'm not sure I'd count on it too. Heavily if I were tryng to win a game. Note that his run before the second TD lost 3 and put CU into a passing situation.

At Thu Nov 03, 05:41:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Finally some posters noting that we had to pass because we couldn't run (with rare exceptions). Maybe shake-up on O-line will help, though not likely with Adams out. Will need a super effort and some good luck vs. Harvard to stay in the game.

At Wed Nov 09, 06:56:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the errant hormone-driven poster who claims character assassination and/or desires a pugilstic confrontation with Jake -- on the contrary, the great majority of posters here have taken pains to always say something about Norries being a "nice guy" and a "fine gentleman," his abysmal record notwithstanding. Now we learn from a player's parent that perhaps we've been too generous in that regard. More than anything else, the fact that Wilson has kept his OC aboard despite years of complaints from alums and players backed up by dismal game-time performance especially in the crucial 3rd quarter, is testimony to his failure as a head coach. 'Nuff said, let's get to the new era.


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