Michigan Football: Don’t stress about Jim Harbaugh to NFL chatter

Michigan head football coach Jim Harbaugh talks Dec. 30, 2022 about playing the TCU Horned Frogs in the Fiesta Bowl on New Year's Eve in Glendale, Arizona.Michfiesta3 122822 Kd 169
Michigan head football coach Jim Harbaugh talks Dec. 30, 2022 about playing the TCU Horned Frogs in the Fiesta Bowl on New Year's Eve in Glendale, Arizona.Michfiesta3 122822 Kd 169 /

There is already chatter about Michigan football head coach Jim Harbaugh and the NFL. Here’s why I wouldn’t worry about it. 

Michigan football hasn’t played its first game yet, and already, there are analysts from ESPN suggesting that the Wolverines head coach could leave for the NFL after the season.

Sure, there are reasons to think that Harbaugh is sick of being a college football coach. Not because of anything to do with Michigan football.

But the NCAA is trying to make an example out of him and Harbaugh is already suspended for three games to open the 2023 season, including Saturday’s opener.

You also have the rampant pay-for-play under the guise of NIL that has given some of Michigan’s top opponents for the national championship a major advantage. The Wolverines are one of the best when it comes to using NIL as designed, but they don’t pay recruits upfront.

That all could push Harbaugh to the NFL. But as far as it impacting this season? It won’t. That’s just not how Harbaugh operates as Chris Balas of The Wolverine points out, citing this quote from the Michigan football head coach:

"“It’s the beauty of my dad’s motto — attack each day with an enthusiasm unknown to mankind,” Harbaugh said. “It just frames it right there. Attack each day, attack this day, with an enthusiasm unknown to mankind, and living by it daily. And it’s worked.”"

Balas also wrote this in response to ESPN’s Harry Douglass mentioning Harbaugh and the Cleveland Browns, even though the Browns also haven’t played a single game.

"“One thing we know — that’s not even on the coach’s mind. When Harbaugh is in season, he’s fully concentrating on the team he’s coaching and making sure he’s not cheating his squad. Period. That’s how he’s wired. When a reporter tried to get him to say recent events might push him out the door, he did what he always does in those situations — avoided the discussion.”"

Harbaugh won’t leave Michigan in a bad spot

If Harbaugh wins another Big Ten title or a national championship, would anyone blame him for leaving? Heck, even if he falls short of that ultimate goal, Jim has done more than enough for Michigan football.

Harbaugh committed for seven years. He’s now getting ready for his ninth season. The Wolverines have had five double-digit win seasons. Two conference championships and two playoff berths.

Harbaugh turned around the rivalry with Ohio State and has re-established Michigan as the top program in the state, as well as an elite power in the conference.

Michigan is back on par with Ohio State. The Buckeyes are going to win games in the coming years. But the rivalry is back on.

So we owe Jim a huge thanks, for whatever he decides to do in the future. I could see him coaching Michigan football for the next 10 years. I could also see him leaving after 2023.

But if he does make that choice, Harbaugh will leave Michigan football in a good spot, just as Urban Meyer did and just like the Buckeyes, the Wolverines should be able to maintain the success after he’s gone.

We’ll get an idea this week of what Michigan looks like without Jim Harbaugh. But as far as Jim leaving for the NFL, I wouldn’t be worried about it at all.

If it happens, it happens. But I have a feeling if Harbaugh ever leaves, Michigan will be in a really good place when he does, which might not be for another 20 years.

Next. Game-by-game predictions for Michigan Football. dark

With Jim, you just never know. What I do know, is that he will attack this season with an enthusiasm unknown to mankind. With Harbaugh, that’s one thing you can count on.