Pride and Pettiness: Chapter 1, Trolling Jim Harbaugh with a Staged Call About Milk

By David Regimbal on September 10, 2020 at 10:10 am
Urban Meyer, Troll God

You've made it to Pride and Pettiness.

We're living in tough times. Some people, like our very own Ramzy, like to cope by looking back at happy memories. I, personally, like to revisit moments of satisfying pettiness.

Like Ramzy, my philosophy is simple. From Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice:

For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbors, and laugh at them in our turn?

That we do, Jane. In today's chapter, we're traveling back to Ohio State's postgame press conference following the dramatic double-overtime victory over Michigan in 2016.

The Setup

Before we get to the press conference mentioned above, it's important to provide context. Pettiness can't exist without a moment in the past to build from.

Jim Harbaugh loves milk.

His obsession with milk is well documented and weird as hell. It predates his tenure at Michigan, but it has popped up several times during his years at the helm of the Wolverines. For instance, let's revisit this moment that came before he ever took the sideline as Michigan's head coach.

But his passion for milk was never more prevalent than in 2016. He starred in a commercial for Fairlife Milk in September of that year, but the real drama was created a few weeks later when Harbaugh appeared on The Dan Patrick Show and was “informed” that Meyer drank 1% milk.

Harbaugh's response was as follows:

We won't drink any of that candy-ass skim milk or 1%. Won't have any of that.

Imagine being a person who stans for whole milk.

Anyway, Harbaugh carried on, and his 2016 team evolved into one of the strongest squads in the country. The Wolverines marched out to a dominant 9-0 start behind the strength of an on-brand elite defense and ball-control offense.

And all the while, Meyer and Ohio State witnessed this nonsense.

High quality steak paired with... milk.

Michigan stumbled in a 14-13 loss to Iowa in Iowa City in the Wolverines' 10th game, but Harbaugh invaded Columbus with a fourth-ranked team that was on the doorstep of the College Football Playoff with a victory.

That victory never came for the Wolverines.

A back-and-forth defensive battle saw Michigan leading 17-7 late in the third quarter. Quarterback J.T. Barrett led a Buckeye rally, scoring the last 10 points of regulation to force overtime. The heated rivals traded touchdowns in the first overtime, then milk-fueled Michigan kicker Kenny Allen drove in a 37-yard field goal to give the Wolverines a three-point lead.

Madness ensued. The Wolverines had Ohio State in a terrible spot, but Curtis Samuel and Barrett saved the Buckeyes with a trio of legendary runs. Samuel clinched the game with a 15-yard touchdown run to seal the 30-27 Ohio State victory.

It was one of the greatest moments in Buckeye football history, but it's not what we're revisiting here.

The Pettiness

The pettiness came in the postgame presser with Meyer.

The Buckeyes head coach was approximately 18 seconds into one of the most significant postgame press conferences in his legendary career when the cell phone started ringing in his pocket.

A coach who didn't have ulterior motives would've moved to silence their phone, or ignored the call entirely. In truth, a coach who didn't have ulterior motives wouldn't have had their cell phone on in the first place, or at the least, would have had it on silent mode.

But 18 seconds in, you see Meyer react to the phone ringing in his pocket. And instead of ignoring or muting it, he unprofessionally excused himself from the press conference and answered the call.

“That was an exciting win,” Meyer said as he moved to pull the ringing phone from his pocket. He glanced at it as if he didn't know who was calling, then after looking at the screen, he offered, “That's my wife,” to the room full of reporters.

“I'll get right back to you, I'm at the press conference,” Meyer said to his wife Shelley. “Alright, bye.” 

Anxious and expectant laughter filled the conference room as Meyer hung up. Coaches don't take calls during their postgame conferences, and the rows of seasoned reporters knew something was up. You can hear it in their laughter as Meyer readdressed the reporters in front of him.

“She said bring a gallon of milk home,” Meyer offered as an explanation to a crowd that received the explanation like a warm blanket after a day in the snow.

It was such a small moment, but in the end it was so perfect. Ohio State had dominated its primary rival since the turn of the century, but that domination reached a new level when Meyer took over the program in 2012.

It's the attention to detail. Meyer often spoke about the importance of Ohio State's feud with Michigan and how every detail mattered. The way his team practiced, prepared for and approached this game was carefully crafted and calculated over the course of every year. No detail was left unnoticed or uncovered. 

Meyer made that notion emphatically clear in this postgame presser with a scripted call from his wife that was crafted and calculated perfectly. The Meyers didn't need milk that afternoon. They already had everything they needed, and that call was just a way to rub Harbaugh and Michigan's noses in it.

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