Jim Harbaugh after winning national championship: J.T. was short

HOUSTON — Jim Harbaugh is every Michigan football fan — in the now and in the past.

As the Wolverines struggled to reach college football’s summit, almost as a rallying cry, fans would often note that “J.T. was short,” referencing Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett who was given a crucial first down after appearing short of the line to gain on a fourth-down play in 2016.

Had the spot been ruled otherwise, it would have propelled Harbaugh and Michigan to the Big Ten Championship and College Football Playoff in just his second year as head coach.

Apparently, that play is still on his mind, seven years later, the morning after winning a national championship.

Asked if the city of Houston will hold a special place in the team’s hearts, Harbaugh demurred momentarily, harkening back to the play that could have changed much of the narrative he endured early in his tenure.

“Getting to the CFP and not winning that kind of thing, some of those games. 2016, coming up, we thought that measurement was short, the fourth down, we thought,” Harbaugh said. “But sometimes you’ve got to go through those things. You’ve got to go through things to get where you are. Meant to be. Just lean on the counsel of God and the Holy Spirit. And there’s a time, a time and a place.”

All season, Harbaugh has spoken about Team 144’s resolve, and its one-track mind. While he loves all of his teams, he feels like this one embodies what he’s tried to build all along.

Channeling Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 in the Bible, Harbaugh shared that he loves every iteration he’s coached and this one is just one that found that elusive mountaintop.

“Our guys have never flinched, though, and never rejected the moment,” Harbaugh said. “There’s a time to live. There’s a time to die. But there’s never a time to reject the moment. That’s one thing you can say about every single Michigan football team that I’ve coached since I’ve been here. The guys have always given it their best and had at it. And this team, Team 144, you know how I feel about them, I think. They are ‘the team.’ Great.”

Story originally appeared on Wolverines Wire