Jim Harbaugh meets Pope Francis during Michigan’s visit to Rome and more Big Ten news
Pope Francis is presented with a football helmet by Michigan football team coach Jim Harbaugh during the weekly general audience at the Vatican, Wednesday, April 26, 2017.
Today’s Big Ten football links head across the Atlantic Ocean to follow Jim Harbaugh and Michigan through Rome.
The Wolverines appear to be having a grand time in Italy with a visit to Vatican City, Harbaugh gifting Pope Francis a pair of Jordan Brand shows and team-bonding through paintball match.
Harbaugh is without a doubt one of the most unique characters in college football, and Michigan’s jaunt to Italy, where it will wrap up spring practice, is his most unique move yet.
MLive’s Nick Baumgardner is on the road with the Wolverines to chronicle their trip through Rome’s most historic and legendary landmarks. He’s seen first-hand that it goes beyond any sort of publicity stunt and even beyond football:
When this trip was formally announced in February, some pundits called it another ploy by Harbaugh that was designed with the sole intention of besting the NCAA and snagging the next-best recruit.
But anyone who spent more than five minutes with this group Monday learned a few things.
This trip is about more than recruiting or public relations. It’s about family. It’s about football. It’s about enjoying one another with an incredible city as the backdrop.
Michigan didn’t win every game last season. It might not win every game this year either.
But right now, it’s tough to find anyone in the college football landscape who has it better than Jim Harbaugh’s Wolverines.
Jim Harbaugh delivers a Michigan helmet to Pope Francis in Vatican City
It’s unique, and it’s had a deep impact on the players, too.
“You feel like you’re witnessing history, a historic figure, a holy figure,” Grant Newsome said of seeing Pope Francis. “It’s hard to put into words what that meant.”
The college football season is still more than four months away. So much can change between now and then, and who knows if this trip will even have any football impact on Michigan. But it’s clear that Harbaugh has done something that no one in college football has done before.
And he and the rest of the Wolverines are enjoying themselves.
The rest of the day’s Big Ten football links: