Jim Harbaugh is making no secret of the fact that he was interested in leaving Michigan to become the next head coach of the Minnesota Vikings. But when the Vikings didn’t offer him the job, he says he decided to stop chasing NFL jobs.
Harbaugh told Mitch Albom of the Detroit Free Press he views winning the Super Bowl as the ultimate accomplishment in the sport of football and always wanted another shot at it after losing the Super Bowl as head coach of the 49ers.
“There was a tugging at me that I was once that close to a Super Bowl and I didn’t get it. Some NFL jobs came open. I was contacted by the Vikings. For better or for worse, it was something I wanted to explore. I went in thinking, ‘I’m gonna have 100 percent conviction on this, and if they [Minnesota] have 100 percent conviction on this, then it’s something I’m gonna do.”
But when the Vikings didn’t offer him the job, Harbaugh says he let Michigan know he won’t be looking for NFL jobs again.
“I called Warde [Manuel, the Michigan athletic director] and I asked him if he wanted me to be the head coach. And he said, ‘Yes, 100 percent.’ And I said, OK then. That’s what I want to do.’ And I told him, ‘Warde, this will not be a reoccurring theme every year. This was a one-time thing.”
Harbaugh says his focus now is a national championship.
“Sure, the Super Bowl is the greatest prize in our sport,” he said. “But winning a national championship. That’s pretty darn great. Let’s do that. There was a pull to the NFL because I got that close to the Super Bowl, but this was the time [to try and return.] And this is the last time. Now let’s go chase college football’s greatest prize.”
Realistically, it’s unlikely that Harbaugh can really promise he won’t be tempted by another NFL job. If a team that appears to have most of the pieces in place to win a Super Bowl contacts him, is Harbaugh really going to say no? He might think he’s all-in on Michigan now, but this is probably not the last time we’re going to hear his name connected to the NFL coaching carousel.