This is going to become a yearly event, Michigan fans. And we had better wise up real fast because WAY too many of us lost our minds in the last 72 hours over a piece of fake news perpetuated by an OSU graduate NFL reporter that knew EXACTLY what he was doing when he made his statement to Colin Cowherd.
For those of you that don't know about it, here's the fake news that was making the rounds over the last few days:
From the beginning, this was filled with as much "fail" as you could possibly imagine. Articles popped up with every cliche you can think of from "he's notoriously nomadic" to "he'd love to potentially beat down the 49ers twice a year" as reasons as to why Jim Harbaugh, Michigan's head football coach who when he was hired, talked about building a home that he would like to live in and that's what he was hoping for in Ann Arbor, would bolt that dream job after two seasons to go coach the dumpster fire Los Angeles Rams.
That wasn't the worst part of it, though. That came when so many Michigan fans tossed whatever sanity they had right out the window and started panicking as though this was actually going to happen. Conspiracy theories within our own fanbase started to surface:
"Maybe this is why Les Miles hasn't taken another job! He's replacing Jim!"
"If it's not true, why doesn't Harbaugh come out and make a statement refuting it?"
This is just a fraction of the lunacy among Michigan fans about this fake story. It only got worse when the Rams fired their head coach Jeff Fisher, not long after his contract extension was announced. The most paranoid of us Michigan fans absolutely freaked out, deeming it a sign that we were losing our prodigal son just when the fun was really getting started with Michigan Football.
The truth is, this non-story from Albert Breer is nothing more than wishful thinking on his part, the part of all of Michigan's rivals and competitors, and the NFL itself. There was never any basis or fact to it and it was all just deviously well-timed smoke and mirrors. Why deviously well-timed? Because this happens to be a week where a number of highly ranked top recruits across the nation are making their announcements of where they will be attending school to play football and a number of them have Michigan on their lists along with other top flight schools.
How convenient that this story pops up on the Internet about the Wolverines' head coach being coveted by the NFL once again, prompting the notion that he would leave his alma mater and return to the grind of Napoleonic team owners and egostistical general manager so long as the price was right. Just enough to plant seeds of doubt in the minds of young kids that might reconsider Michigan perhaps? This is all speculation, but no more than the speculation that Breer was paid to spread all over the Internet.
A lot of Michigan fans took the bait, though. Sadly. There was never a reason to worry. Jim Harbaugh did not leave the NFL for Michigan because of money. He was and is being compensated more than any other football coach on the planet right now, but he came back to Ann Arbor because of Michigan, because of Michigan Football and the place it holds in his heart, same as it does for many of us. $10 million or more from an NFL owner isn't going to change those feelings like that, whether you believe it does or not.
The thing is, we need to get used to this because it's going to happen every year. Seriously, every year so long as Harbaugh is our head coach. When you hire someone that had a 44-19-1 record of success in the NFL along with three NFC championship game appearances and a Super Bowl appearance, he's going to command attention and interest from the NFL until he goes back for two reasons: Someone in the NFL is always looking for a great coach like Harbaugh, and it's still impossible for NFL pundits and experts to accept that he left their precious pro league to coach kids that are looking to get to the pros. In their minds, he willingly took a step back and it simply must have been because the "right" job wasn't available in the NFL at the time. No other explanation, even the truth, is acceptable to a lot of the NFL experts.
This happened last year when it was suggested that Harbaugh would jump back to coach the Indianapolis Colts and rejoin his old QB from Stanford, Andrew Luck. Now it's happening with this Rams situation this year. Next year it will be another NFL team, and then another the year after that, and another a year after that and so on. It's not going to end until Harbaugh is back in the NFL, should that ever happen.
There's no definitive way to say that it won't happen at some point because none of us are Jim Harbaugh and he makes his own decisions, but you can be pretty comfortable in saying that it won't happen this year, likely won't happen until aftert 2021 when his contract at Michigan is up, and may not even happen at all. Right now, Jim Harbaugh is living his dream job, the same one that his legendary coach Bo Schembechler had for decades in building the tradition of Michigan Football, and so long as Harbaugh continues to build on the 20-5 record he has built in his first two years on the job, The University of Michigan will do all it can to keep him here and in charge of the football program.
So take this opportunity Michigan fans to learn an important lesson about these Harbaugh rumors as they come up. Until you start hearing it from the man himself, they are nothing but a needless, trolling distraction meant incite clicks and lather up the paranoids out there. Spare us all that chaos and just exercise caution next time, please. Jim Harbaugh is Michigan's head football coach. That's not changing anytime soon......if ever.