10 Advancements in Human History Since the Last Time Michigan Football Was ‘Back’
If you're friends with any Michigan fans (for some inconceivable reason) or you pay attention to what the Detroit media says, then you've probably already heard.
"Michigan is back!"
But if you're like me, you wonder exactly what that means.
When I really think about it, "back" can't mean the Wolverines' football program has returned to the level it was at with Lloyd Carr. That's because many of the skunkbear faithful hated Carr so much that they chased him out of town for averaging nine wins a year. So that means "back" also can't be referring to 1997, when Michigan won half a national championship, since it happened during Carr's tenure.
And "back" certainly can't be defined as a return to the standard of Bo Schembechler. After all, Bo's bowl record was a paltry 5-12, obviously not up to Michigan expectations. Plus, Bo never won a national championship, and we all know that's the real mark by which all Michigan teams are measured considering how often Wolverine fans remind Spartan fans that Michigan State hasn't done anything until Mark Dantonio wins a national title.
So that takes me back to 1948. U-M won its second of back-to-back national championships that year, an impressive feat without a doubt.
Turns out it's been a long time since Michigan was "back." Just look at how far we've come as human beings since then!
Imagine driving from Lansing to Detroit on back roads, or Detroit to Grand Rapids on roads with speed limits topping out somewhere around 50 mph.
That was the only way to make those commutes until 1962, when I-96 was completed thanks to the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956. President Eisenhower championed the cause as America boomed after World War II.
The original portion of the massive infrastructure project wasn't finished until 1991. Today, its total length is more than 47,000 miles. Its estimated cost is upward of $400 billion.
The 1950s and '60s were a tumultuous time for America as the nation became divided over sensitive race issues, many of which stemmed from lingering issues of the Civil War.
In the late '50s we finally desegregated schools, allowing black people access to the same public education as white people. And in the ensuing decade we enacted a series of civil rights legislation that prohibited discrimination in employment, public accommodation and business.
And since we got on this topic by way of the gridiron: Integration in college football didn't really pick up steam until the '50s and '60s. Coincidentally, then-Michigan State head coach Duffy Daugherty was instrumental in breaking college football's color barrier as he was one of the first to recruit black players. Small world!
The devices practically all of us use for work and recreational purposes every single day weren't invented until 1975 with the MITS Altair 8800.
The first human to exit our planet and enter space was Yuri Gagarin in 1961.
Yes, the Soviet Union beat the United States to space, but America responded in 1969 by putting the first human on the moon when Neil Armstrong set foot on our dusty lunar satellite.
Electronic color was not introduced to television until 1953. Most broadcasting stations upgraded from black-and-white to color TV in the '60s and '70s.
It's a resource we use to stay connected with each other and information at virtually all times now, but the earliest iteration of the Internet didn't come about until 1962. Computer scientist J.C.R. Licklider came up with the idea to allow computers to share information on a connected network.
The Internet as we now know it did not become a household thing until the mid- to late-1990s, back when it was still dial-up.
And since we're talking about the gridiron: Integration in college football didn't really pick up steam until the '50 and '60s. Then-Michigan State head coach Duffy Daugherty was instrumental in breaking the color barrier in NCAA football as he was one of the first to recruit black players. Small world!
The global conflict between superpowers the United States and the Soviet Union ended in 1991 when the latter dissolved from within. It was a conflict that threatened to literally end the world, by way of nuclear war, as the U.S. and U.S.S.R. fought a series of proxy wars throughout much of the second half of the 20th Century.
Polio was basically a plague on humanity in the 20th Century until Dr. Jonas Salk announced in 1952 that he had developed a vaccine. Human trials began in 1957 and in 1962 the vaccine was officially licensed.
Thanks to the medical breakthrough, polio has been virtually eradicated in almost every country on the planet.
The United States was composed of just 48 states until 1959, when President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed Alaska and Hawaii into statehood.
Remember back when you had to use pay phone if you needed to make a call when you were out and about?
Cell phones became ubiquitous sometime between 1990 and 2005, depending on how you define that. Before that, the pager--or beeper--was a popular "mobile device," and its decline in popularity naturally coincided with the rise of cell phones.