Podcast: Ex-Wolverine Jansen debates best 1997 college football team

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News
Former University of Michigan players from left, Jeff Backus and Jon Jansen,  talk to former Wolverines coach Lloyd Carr.

Two-time Michigan football captain Jon Jansen, an All-American offensive lineman who had a lengthy NFL career, still bears some ill will toward the 1997 Nebraska football team and its quarterback Scott Frost.

Don’t expect Jansen, who appears on this week’s “View from the Press Box” podcast, to make nice with Frost, now the Nebraska head coach, when the Cornhuskers arrive at Michigan Stadium for Saturday’s Big Ten opener.

Jansen, now part of the Michigan radio broadcast, was a member of Michigan’s undefeated 1997 team that won the AP national championship. Suffice it to say, Jansen was a bit tongue in cheek when he discussed Nebraska and Frost. Sort of.

“I refer to him as Mr. Frost because it’s the only amount of respect I can muster when you start talking about Mr. Frost,” Jansen said.

It was pointed out that Jansen sounds bitter.

“They won all their games in ’97 and I’m excited for them,” Jansen said on the podcast. “What I didn’t appreciate was, after the games, after everything was done, we put on the field, on tape, for people to see what we did to say, ‘Hey, OK, this should be a team that we would vote on for a national championship.’

“What Mr. Frost decided to do was to lobby for a coach (Tom Osborne) that was retiring, and I lose respect for people when they can’t allow their play, what they do on the field, to speak for itself. When they have to come out and say, ‘Well, we did this, we won this game, we caught a little tip in the end zone which allows us to have the opportunity to win a national championship,’ those are the things that annoy me and annoy me about Mr. Frost.”

Jansen, at this point was laughing when asked if he has ever met Frost.

“Have I ever met him? He still has all his body parts attached,” Jansen said. “No, I have not met him.”

Can this ’97 best team debate ever be decided?

“I’m suggesting that sometime either before the game, could be a halftime show, could be after the game, that we strap it on and we go do a little old-school, sandlot one-on-one football,” Jansen said. “I can make a few phone calls, and I know I could have a handful, better than a handful of players, that are ready to play whatever they could scrounge up from that Nebraska team.”