It’s well documented at this point that Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh interviewed with the Minnesota Vikings earlier this month. Harbaugh has since returned to Michigan and the program announced on Wednesday a new five-year contract for Harbaugh.
In an interview with Jon Jansen on the In the Trenches Podcast, Harbaugh talked about what went into the decision to interview with Minnesota. A major factor was being so close to winning a Super Bowl but ultimately losing 34-31 to the Baltimore Ravens.
“To me it went back to February 3rd, 2013 when our team in San Francisco got within five yards and one play of winning the Super Bowl,” Harbaugh said. “And two years after that, left the 49ers to come to Michigan, signed a seven year contract — the seven years were up and I wondered if that was the time, or if there would be a time to go back and try to finish that. So, I explored it.”
Harbaugh has no regrets about being interested in the NFL, nor does he feel the need to say say sorry about returning to Michigan.
“I don’t apologize for exploring it, and I don’t apologize for wanting to come back and be the head football coach at the University of Michigan,” Harbaugh said.
There’s been plenty of outside noise calling Harbaugh’s NFL interest a distraction and something that put the program in an odd position. However, Harbaugh thinks that type of chatter is overblown — Michigan’s coming off its first 12-win season since 1997, just won the Big Ten Championship, made their first College Football Playoff appearance. Harbaugh sees a team and staff that is ready to getting rolling in 2022.
“Been a lot of words used of ‘tumultuous off-season’, or ‘weird off-season’, ‘so much going on off-season’ — if the word tumultuous means we got a lot of momentum, and we’re having a blast over here at Schembechler Hall, then that’s what we’re having,” Harbaugh said.
Harbaugh may have had three consecutive NFC Championship Game appearances and one Super Bowl appearance in four years as an NFL head coach, but he’s moving forward with more playoff hopes and aspirations at Michigan.
“Winning football’s ultimate prize, the Super Bowl, that’s great — but let’s go win college football’s most ultimate prize and that’s the National Championship. And that’s what we’re completely focused on and want to do,” Harbaugh said. “Our team last year was outside the Top 25 when the season started and we went from 25 to 3, maybe farther to go to get from 3 to 1, but it may not be. We’re gonna attack that, and that’s the goal.”