Mr. Monday’s review is in: Mike Gundy’s performance art is wearing thin

Mr. Monday’s review is in: Mike Gundy’s performance art is wearing thin

Coaches will always get their share of squawking from the social media hordes. Bad play calls, recruiting misses and upsets always rile up some Twitter keyboard jockeys (of whom Mr. Monday has long been a pioneer). But the vibe coming from OSU’s online faithful is starting to coalesce around a common theme: Gundy seems like he doesn’t care anymore.

Mr. Monday

By Mr. Monday

| Sep 25, 2023, 5:00am CDT

Mr. Monday

By Mr. Monday

Sep 25, 2023, 5:00am CDT

Let’s make things perfectly clear right off the bat: Mr. Monday has never been the biggest fan of a certain college football coach from Stillwater, America.

The roots of that wind there way back to 16 years ago, when Mike Gundy let his feelings get the best of him and spent more time hollering at one of Mr. Monday’s esteemed colleagues than focusing on a.) the truth and b.) a fairly decent win over Texas Tech.

Alas, while Mr. Monday was on the shelf between gigs, the antics of Gundy have gotten weirder, his team has gotten much better and much worse, and the latest steps in his life journey have been, shall we say, inconsistent.

Between hairdos, dance moves, contrarian opinions and questionable media choices, Gundy has Mr. Monday plumb puzzled. 

Is he a bad guy, a bad coach or, as Mr. Monday believes more each day, a brilliant performance artist?

Since that fateful night in 2007, when Gundy’s red-faced ranting turned him into both a punchline and a rhetorical sledgehammer, Mr. Monday thinks Gundy embraced his life as a meme. Everything since then has been in service to his virality. 

Each media availability, each chat with a recruit, each postgame step in front of the cameras has become a performance, the world’s strangest combination of Pat Jones and Marina Abramović.

(Mr. Monday now pauses to allow some sports fans to Google Marina Abramović).

There’s no doubt Gundy enjoys attention. He’s been in the spotlight for decades, from his time as a Midwest City prepster to his new role as the seemingly untouchable coach of the Cowboys.

And that’s why, after this weekend’s OSU loss and Gundy’s “What, me worry?” series of explanations, Mr. Monday is starting to wonder if the artistic tastes of Cowboy Nation are beginning to change. 

Coaches will always get their share of squawking from the social media hordes. Bad play calls, recruiting misses and upsets always rile up some Twitter keyboard jockeys (of whom Mr. Monday has long been a pioneer).  But the vibe coming from OSU’s online faithful is starting to coalesce around a common theme: Gundy seems like he doesn’t care anymore.

Artists can survive many of the ups and downs of people’s tastes by reinventing themselves: Picasso had his Synthetic Cubism, and Abramović had The Artist is Present. Many of the best notice trends (ahem, NIL anyone?) and then leverage that into new work. 

What an artist can’t do is become stale. If the critics and public sense you’re going through the motions, they may just move on.

Gundy seems savvy enough that he’s going to inject some more life into his performance art. So be on the lookout for an explosion of new work (perhaps around savage criticism of local anonymous humorists) or a downward spiral into obscurity.

A few other stray observations and unused jokes from the weekend: 

  • The Pac-12 (soon to be 2) is suddenly the hottest brand in college football. There hasn’t been a near-dead brand this interesting since hipsters made Pabst Blue Ribbon the drink du jour.
  • Despite the results, Mr. Monday is still a Deion believer. Ex-pro jocks have always had swag in the college basketball coaching ranks. Expect college football programs to try to catch Deion’s lightning in fairly desperate bottles. Imitation is flattery, so let’s all try to endure the time when Michael Strahan is named the coach at Liberty.
  • USC plays at Colorado on Saturday. Or at least that’s what Lincoln Riley wants us to believe. 

 

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Mr. Monday is both anonymous and fictional, so try not to get too worked up. Mr. Monday lives in a gated community but refuses to admit it is in Edmond. He enjoys walks to Braum’s with Mrs. Monday, being snobbish towards Tulsa and spending time with his three impressive children and two rather dumb dogs. Mr. Monday is on Twitter at @MrMondayOKC. DM’s are open.

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