Jim Harbaugh Jim Harbaugh

Michigan Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh was suspended for Saturday afternoon’s game against the Penn State Nittany Lions as a result of the NCAA and Big Ten investigation into allegations of an illegal sign-stealing scheme. Unsurprisingly, Harbaugh wasn’t all that open to discussing that situation during his Monday press conference. What he talked about instead was far more bizarre and entertaining.

The closest Harbaugh got to addressing the controversy on Monday came when he boldly claimed that Michigan was “America’s team” for overcoming “adversity” and criticism as a result of the cheating scandal.

“It’s gotta be America’s team. It’s gotta be America’s team,” Harbaugh said. “America loves a team that beats the odds, beats the adversity, overcomes what the naysayers, critics, so-called experts think. That’s my favorite kind of team.”

The rest of the press conference was far more bizarre as Harbaugh recanted his anti-chicken narrative, touted his “iron wall” immunity against viruses, and discussed his affinity for Judge Judy when discussing Michigan’s upcoming legal battle against the Big Ten.

The first bizarre moment came at the beginning of the press conference when Harbaugh denied being sick despite sounding a little bit raspy at the podium.

“I’m the iron wall that viruses bash against and shatter,” Harbaugh told reporters, according to Austin Meek of The Athletic. He then claimed that to fight off any potential virus, he would simply “do some more pushups and eat an apple.”

Later in the press conference, Harbaugh also recanted a previous bizarre stance on chicken meat. Back in 2018, Michigan quarterback Wilton Speight told Bleacher Report that Harbaugh pulled him aside and urged him not to eat chicken “because it’s a nervous bird.”

“He thinks some type of sickness injected its way into the human population when people began eating white meats instead of beef and pork,” Speight told Bleacher Report. “And he believes it, 100 percent.”

But Harbaugh backtracked from that stance on Monday, revealing that he purchased some chicks around Easter in 2020 and has been their sole caretaker since then. After taking care of the chickens, he says that he was “dead wrong” and has completely changed his opinion.

“I’m the one that takes care of them, and the respect I have for chickens. I know there was a time I said that chicken is a nervous bird, I don’t eat chicken, I only eat meat. But I was dead wrong,” Harbaugh said. “I stand corrected. These chickens are low maintenance and high production. They lay an egg every 26-27 hours. They need water, they need food and I play with them too.”

Still, Harbaugh could not fully escape the questions about the upcoming legal battle between Michigan and the Big Ten – but even that question elicited quite a wild response.

When asked if he would be testifying in court on Friday as Michigan seeks a temporary restraining order against the Big Ten that would allow him to return to the sidelines during games, Harbaugh said that he did not yet know if he would testify, but acknowledged that if it comes to that, he is well-versed in Judge Judy.

“That’s not my dance floor,” Harbaugh said, according to Meek. “I’ve watched a lot of shows. I’ve watched Judge Judy a lot.”

To be clear, nobody expected a particularly forthcoming press conference from Harbaugh on Monday, given the circumstances. But it’s safe to say what he delivered was a bit more bizarre than anyone was prepared for.

[Brad Galli]