After weeks of NFL speculation, Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh will be returning to Ann Arbor for the 2022 season. There were a lot of questions surrounding this latest rendition and it’s nice to finally know the answer. So what do you think lies in store for Michigan now with his return?
For one thing, it looks like the trajectory Michigan is on will continue. The Wolverines have met success with Harbaugh in the past but after this 2021 season, there is more to be hopeful for. Michigan got its first taste of the College Football Playoffs and even though it didn’t go the way we wanted, it was finally able to break into that elite club of teams. The Wolverines brought home a Big Ten Championship and finally got a win over their rival for the first time in a decade. With an incredible resume, with the addition of this past season, it shouldn’t have been a shock that Harbaugh was looking into the NFL once more.
The Harbaugh to the NFL storyline isn’t anything new, but this time around it felt a lot more serious. It seemed a little obvious from my perspective that the turnaround Michigan had after the 2020 season was as good as any reason why he would explore the NFL once more. At the end of the day, it was a career decision for himself. I can’t fault him for looking again, who wouldn’t want to see if that next step is there for them?
There were a multitude of reactions to how this story panned out and I think those responses fall among three groups. One side of fan response was frustrated about the whole thing, going to such lengths as saying it was a break of trust like cheating. This response only makes sense to me because we all watched how Lincoln Riley and Brian Kelly burned bridges with Oklahoma and Notre Dame. Perhaps we feared the same for Michigan and Jim Harbaugh. Even then, it’s hardly the same because those two left their teams right before their bowl games.
The other group seems adamant Harbaugh is the end all be all. It’s no question Harbaugh represents the Michigan Man mentality, and that dedication speaks volumes to those elated about his return. They believe Harbaugh is as dedicated to Michigan as they are, and I don’t fault them for that passion. However, is Harbaugh truly the long-term answer? Can we expect him to be that way?
Lastly is the group that falls in the middle, the ones that are almost indifferent. I find myself here thinking about the two ends of the spectrum of the responses I have seen. Am I glad Harbaugh is back and we aren’t in the midst of a search for a new head coach? Absolutely. Do I think he had to extinguish this NFL dream for the sake of his coaching staff, players and recruits? Not really. Would it be nice not to worry about whether he leaves after every season? Definitely, but that should come with the territory of having a good coach.
Could the timing have been better? Sure, but navigating between the schedules of the NFL postseason and the collegiate football offseason is probably a logistical nightmare. While there could be a sense of distrust after seeking the NFL once more with promises to incoming recruits, the current roster and a fanbase that reaches far and wide, there are methods of redemption. I’m sure in the coming weeks, Harbaugh will make the necessary steps to redirect the focus back to the 2022 season.
How do you think this recent story of “Is Harbaugh going to the NFL?” was handled?
At the end of the day, Michigan has its coach. Now that the latest Harbaugh/NFL story has been put to rest, we can look forward to what lies in store for the Wolverines this upcoming season. Included with his announcement about his return was Harbaugh’s intent of winning a National Championship. Do you think Harbaugh can get us there? What lies in his future if he does? Do you think the NFL is truly off the table for Harbaugh?
Share all your thoughts and feelings with us in the comments below!