Jim Harbaugh's perplexing devotion to steak is well documented. The Michigan coach has been quoted as referring to a prime cut of beef as both a vitamin and steroid, claiming to eat at least one a day – with a glass of milk, of course.
But it seems it goes a little deeper than that. Not only does Harbaugh canonize steak, he demonizes chicken, sincerely believing that white meat is to blame for a type of sickness that found its way into the human population.
How do you explain the Harbaugh Experience? Former Michigan (and current UCLA) quarterback Wilton Speight tells a story to sum it up nicely. Early in his Michigan tenure, Harbaugh pulled Speight aside and told him not to eat chicken, a protein that is considered fairly safe by nutritionists. When Speight asked why, Harbaugh said, "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 says. "And he believes it, 100 percent."
"He's a real as it gets. He's just how you'd think he'd be," Patterson says. "He's definitely a character, a little bizarre. You'll be sitting there talking to him, and you're thinking, What the hell is this guy talking about? Is this real life? But I really like him."
I'll give him this much, Harbaugh is nothing but consistent and genuine. He acts, dresses and talks almost like a cartoon caricature of a head football coach, but he's 100 percent real and never breaks character.
As long as he continues to lose three games a year and falters on the last Saturday of every November, he's totally harmless if not thoroughly entertaining, and I pray he continues to be himself, unabashedly.
May he stay at Michigan forever.