After winning national title at Michigan, could Jim Harbaugh leave for NFL?

January 8, 2024: Michigan Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh after winning the College Football Playoff National Championship game between the Michigan Wolverines and the Washington Huskies at NRG Stadium in Houston, TX. Darren Lee/CSM. (Credit Image: © Darren Lee/Cal Sport Media) (Cal Sport Media via AP Images)

Jim Harbaugh celebrates after winning the College Football Playoff National Championship game against the Washington Huskies.Darren Lee/APCNN — 

He just won a national title, but did Jim Harbaugh potentially just coach his last game at Michigan?

Harbaugh said he “can now sit at the big person’s table in the family” after the Wolverines won the College Football Playoff national championship game 34-13 against the Washington Huskies on Monday night to finish the season 15-0.

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“They won’t keep me over there on the little table anymore,” Harbaugh said to reporters. “My dad, Jack Harbaugh, won a national championship and my brother won a Super Bowl. It’s good to be at the big person’s table from now on.”

But after winning a national title and reaching the “big table,” could Jim Harbaugh leave for the NFL?

There currently are six NFL head coach openings. There are also two active NCAA investigations into the Michigan football program.

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When asked Monday night about the possibility of adding a Super Bowl title to his resume, Harbaugh wouldn’t tip his hand.

“I just want to enjoy this,” he told reporters. “I hope you give me that. Can a guy have that? Does it always have to be what’s next, what’s the future?

“Like I said the other day, yeah, I hope to have a future. I hope there’s a tomorrow, a day after tomorrow, a next week, a next month, a next year.

“And just one last thing. I’ve got two great loves: my love at work, the people I work with – coaches, the staff, players – and the love I have for my family at home. It just means a lot. I see a couple of the kids right here – Jimmy, Grace, Sarah, Johnny, Jack, Katie, Addi – the loves of my life.

“And my brother John being here, and my dad and mom being here.
And then to be here with our team, and that’s those two families together celebrating, it’s glorious. It is just a beautiful thing.”

Harbaugh, 60, came close to winning a Super Bowl title before. In the 2012 season, when he was head coach of the San Francisco 49ers, he lost in Super Bowl XLVII – against his older brother and Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh.

In four NFL seasons as a head coach, Jim Harbaugh led the 49ers to the NFC championship game three times and had an overall record of 49-22-1, including 5-3 in the postseason.

HOUSTON, TEXAS - JANUARY 08: Head coach Jim Harbaugh of the Michigan Wolverines reacts in the first quarter against the Washington Huskies during the 2024 CFP National Championship game at NRG Stadium on January 08, 2024 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Harbaugh reacts in the first quarter against the Huskies.Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Meanwhile, a victory Monday was the crowning moment in a season filled with plenty of questions surrounding the Michigan football team – and potential NCAA punishment.

Harbaugh was suspended for the team’s first three games, a self-imposed sanction by Michigan’s athletics department, amid allegations of recruiting violations. The NCAA, which has an open investigation into the matter, could potentially choose to add further penalties in that case.

The NCAA opened a second investigation into the Wolverines in October for alleged sign-stealing, leading to the suspension and subsequent resignation of Michigan football analyst Connor Stalions. Linebackers coach Chris Partridge later was fired, but Michigan didn’t elaborate on why he was let go.

Harbaugh has denied knowledge of any scheme to steal other teams’ signs, and – after initial protest – accepted a three-game suspension, upping his total games away from the Michigan sideline to six.

Both NCAA investigations into Michigan remain ongoing.

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