Seven months ago, I wrote about the pros and cons of Shea Patterson’s decision to return to Michigan in 2019.
One of the biggest pros was that he’d get to be the man at Michigan, and that’d be pretty awesome. I know what you might be thinking.
“Wasn’t he the man last year?”
Yes and no.
Yes because when you win 10 games in a row at a place like Michigan and you’re a top-5 team, people notice. No because last year Patterson’s offseason was dominated by an NCAA ruling and a quarterback battle. And even when that was settled, Patterson’s performance in the opener against Notre Dame cooled some of the hype.
Now, though, it’s clear that Patterson is the man. He’s got preseason Heisman odds and oddsmakers are giving him a favorable shot at leading Michigan to its first Playoff berth. The light has never shined brighter on Patterson as he prepares for his final college season.
We got a reminder of that on Sunday night when a tweet surfaced from the @cfbquotes Twitter account. In the tweet, it appeared that Patterson tweeted about himself in the third person with criticism of Jim Harbaugh and new Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields. It appeared that Patterson was either hacked or that he mistakingly thought he was tweeting from a different account.
“Appeared” being the key word.
As we found out soon after the tweet got traction, it was a made up quote. Patterson himself took to Twitter to address the speculation that he committed a social media sin.
In regards to the nonsense from earlier today…The calls and notifications really jammed me up on the front 9 🏌️ pic.twitter.com/dXbjqQmpol
— Shea Patterson (@SheaPatterson_1) July 8, 2019
And you know what? He’s got a point.
Hand up. We ran a story on the initial tweet. That was our mistake. We certainly weren’t alone in that, though.
Sadly enough, plenty of people probably only saw the initial tweet with the Fields/Harbaugh shots and it’ll now form their opinions on how they feel about Patterson. Some probably saw Patterson’s explanation and still believe that he tweeted from a burner account or that a family member sent the tweet, all while ignoring the fact that the @cfbquotes account has “quotes” in their bio and they’ve been busted for fake quotes before.
They had one about Oregon coach Mario Cristobal that caught traction even though it proved to be fake. Earlier in the offseason someone made up a quote about Florida quarterback Feleipe Franks guaranteeing a win against Georgia that also proved to be fake.
The worst thing is, a lot of people don’t even realize those quotes were fake. It’s not difficult to make these fake quotes and make people believe that they’re real. In 2019, that’s easier than ever. It’s no longer just “everyone has a cell phone and you can’t do something stupid in public.”
As Patterson said, he was golfing when all of this went down. He probably had friends, family and coaches texting him and calling him like someone died all because of a fake quote. The guy was probably just trying to not chunk it on a chip and he’s got this mess going on because someone was hungry for some retweets. That’s the part where being “the man” sort of sucks in 2019.
At least when you have a bad game and you get blasted on social media, you can just delete Twitter for a few days and know that it’ll go away.
This wasn’t that. Patterson had to address this because if he didn’t, it would’ve implied that it was true. It would’ve created an unnecessary divide between him and his coach, on top of providing bulletin board material for an Ohio State team that doesn’t need any extra motivation to beat Michigan.
Of all the things Patterson has to focus on this offseason — getting even more in sync with his receivers, improve at reading coverages, study Josh Gattis’ offense, etc. — the last thing he should have to spend a second on is a fake quote.
But welcome to being a high-profile quarterback in 2019.
Granted, it’s not all bad. Patterson deals with that headache and within minutes of firing off a tweet denouncing the quote, he’s got every Michigan fan from Tacoma to Boston in his corner. That’s not the worst thing.
To his credit, Patterson handled it well. He kept his cool enough to birdie the 18th and then he took to social media to address it like an adult. Not every high-profile quarterback is going to handle similar situations like an adult.
We often talk about how quarterbacks in the NFL will handle playing in a big market like New York. Maybe the more topical question is how high-profile college quarterbacks will handle becoming household names and social media targets in 2019.
This fake quote story will be a distant memory by the time B1G Media Days roll around next week, and Patterson will get back to business as usual. This story got more attention than usual because it’s July.
What a perfect reminder of how being “the man” doesn’t have an offseason.