HOUSTON— Jim Harbaugh had one goal when he returned to collegiate football nine years ago: to save Michigan.
He quickly threw elbows and caused trouble. He established satellite recruitment camps. He claimed SEC fraud. Sleepovers at prospects' homes. He fought coaches and authorities. He said, “Who’s got it better than us?” even though he lost three games a year, including to Ohio State.
Jim Harbaugh, a billionaire who previously refused to wear anything except khaki trousers, worked youth camps shirtless, and criticized poultry as “nervous birds” only to raise them himself, was unlike anything the sport had seen.
He was strange and atypical. When he could merely get Michigan decent, it made more sense than late Monday's scenario.
Harbaugh stood on a makeshift platform beneath national championship confetti. A guy who seldom seems comfortable was suddenly pleased, calmly scanning embracing teammates, smiling parents, proud alums, and dancing fans.
And an entire sport underneath him. Washington 13, Michigan 34. Jim Harbaugh's Wolverines won the national title 15-0. “Glorious,” he said. They accepted everyone. We're last.”
He was dubbed Captain Comeback for his 16-year NFL career as a determined quarterback with more tenacity than talent. Coach Chaos strolls nonchalantly, seemingly obliviously, while his own chaos explodes around him.
This might end the Harbaugh era in college football. He stated, “I just want to enjoy this,” when asked about returning to Ann Arbor if the NFL calls again. “Just enjoy it. Hope you give me that. Can a man have that? Should constantly be 'what's next, what's the future?'" If he goes, he will leave a sparkling trophy on top of the mountain, a remarkable feat for Michigan.
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