Since Desmond Howard became the first Michigan player to receive a Legends Patch, there has been much debate surrounding which players deserve the award as well. In an effort to settle some of the debate, we will be breaking down a former Michigan football player that we believe should be analyzed as a nominee for a Legends Patch. This does not mean our writers believe they should be formally nominated in some way, but only that their credentials should be reviewed. If you have an opinion please comment or contact our writers via Twitter.
Nominee: Bennie Oosterbaan
"Michigan's first, and one of only two, three-time All-Americans. Considered one of the greatest pass receivers of his era. Chosen on the All-Time All-American team in 1951. Also a National Football Hall of Fame member with his team-mate Benny Friedman to join such other Wolverines preceding him as Snow, Heston, Schulz and Kipke. Named to Michigan Hall of Fame as well. One of the greatest all-around athletes in Big-Ten history, All-American in basketball and All-Conference in baseball as he won nine letters. With Friedman, formed one of football's foremost passing combinations. Later coached his Alma mater when the Wolverines won or shared Big Ten titles three times, captured the 1951 Rose Bowl and earned national football championship in 1948. Football Coach of the Year in 1948." - Bentley Historical Library
Does Bennie Oosterbaan Deserve A Legends Patch?
Thomas Beindit - Yes
I wrote about Oosterbaan in the early days of the blog and called him one of Michigan's best players ever. He was an incredibly player on both the football field and the basketball court. Along with both of those, he contributed extensively as a head coach. He coached both the basketball team and the football team. In this period, he won three consecutive Big Ten championships and won the 1951 Rose Bowl. However, the Legends Patch is primarily about contributions as a player. Oosterbaan had nine varsity letters, broke records in all three of his sports (football, basketball, baseball), and won three All-American awards as a football player. That's incredible. Only two Michigan players in Michigan history have achieved All-American status for three years, Oosterbaan and Anthony Carter. We said that Anthony Carter deserved a Legends Patch in an earlier post, so I see no reason why not to give Oosterbaan a Legends Patch. As I said in the post regarding Ron Kramer, the jersey retirement shouldn't matter in this case because he doesn't have something distinct like President, such as Gerald Ford, that is pretty much impossible for a new player to replicate.
Kyle Curtiss - No
Again, no no no no. It's a retired jersey. That's all that needs to be said. Honoring players like Anthony Carter, Howard, or maybe Edwards and Woodson...those are different kind of guys. Those are your Legends Patch guys (Criminy, I just made them sound like dolls). Anyway, retired jerseys are in a hallowed place, set for players that placed above most anyone else. Oosterbaan was one of those guys. I won't speak of his records, or his legacy. It's not needed. If this keeps happening...the Legends Patch is going to gain more recognition than it needs, and the history of a retired jersey is going to fade into nothingness.
Tyler Desy - No
I gotta go with a No on this one for the simple fact that the jersey number was retired for a reason. The fact that it's retired and may never be worn again is a more honorable gesture than a patch. Benny Oosterbaan was a ridiculously talented player and an even greater coach. But the fact of the matter is this...his jersey is retired. Leave it retired. The fact that saying no player is worthy of wearing his number is greater than any patch would be. Legends patches are ok for guys that aren't retired (ex: Desmond Howard), but as far as jerseys that are retired...leave them alone. They are retired for a reason and they should remain that way. Give the patches to legends that aren't retired....they don't have that form of tribute so the patch will be a great gesture in doing so such as the way they did with Desmond Howard this year.
All writers are entitled to their own opinion and those may or may not represent the held beliefs of Hoke's Mad Magicians as an entity. Readers are welcome to comment below or contact the writers via Twitter with their thoughts,