He has reminded everyone over and over that this is a happy ride.

No anger, no anxiety, no fear of any kind.

Just love and ball and a stated goal, and finding a way to get to the top of the mountain as one.

Yeah, it’s hokey and corny — and certainly not hip. But enjoy it, Michigan fans.

This might be the last run with Jim Harbaugh.

“There’s a lot of buzz, much more than last year,” an NFL scout told me. “It’s going to take the right franchise, the right fit. But there will be (teams) coming after him.”

This isn’t exactly a shocking revelation. Harbaugh was interested in the NFL last year before an awkward interview with the Vikings ended with Minnesota looking elsewhere and Harbaugh returning to Michigan.

What’s surprising is there’s still NFL interest despite Harbaugh saying earlier this month that he will “enthusiastically” be back at Michigan in 2023. He wouldn’t be the first coach to say one thing and do another.

Last year didn’t feel right for a move, it felt more like Harbaugh — who has publicly made clear his affection for the NFL numerous times since he returned to his alma mater in 2015 — was executing the obvious next step after returning the Wolverines to the top of the Big Ten. Checking the box.

This year is different. After an unbeaten season in a rebuild year of sorts, after yet another clobbering of rival Ohio State and another Playoff run — a Playoff Michigan could win — Harbaugh has truly set up the program to remain among the nation’s elite. He’s not running from anything, and the timing is perfect.

One former NFL personnel executive who has followed Harbaugh all season, offered up this intriguing analysis: “Watch Jim after every game, he defers everything to the players every chance he gets. It’s their program, and he’s making sure everyone knows that.”

Translation: Long after Harbaugh is gone, it’s still about players.

Every coach at any level of football will tell you players win games. Coaches motivate and scheme plays and concepts, but when you hit the grass, better players win.

Players who are invested and prepared, and confident in that preparation. Players who play for each other, not a coach.

Everything Harbaugh has done since the program hit rock bottom after the 2020 COVID season has been about giving players more control of their program. Key word: their.

He formed a leadership council, where a group of players would speak for the team — good and bad — and be part of building a program that could compete with and beat Ohio State, and eventually, win a national title.

He changed his verbiage and began speaking of love and joy and a ride, a season, that should be savored and enjoyed. Players responded, and talented guys became elite players.

Like Aidan Hutchinson and David Ojabo and Hassan Haskins. Or Donovan Edwards and Zak Zinter and Mike Morris.

Giving players more control of their program allowed Harbaugh this season to revert to a core NFL belief: Good teams win with good quarterbacks, championship teams win with the better quarterback.

So when Harbaugh decided to hand the keys of the offense to 5-star hope JJ McCarthy and bench Cade McNamara — who a year earlier led the Wolverines to a win over Ohio State, the Big Ten title and a spot in the Playoff — there was barely a blip in the locker room because it’s their team.

In the NFL, players know who should be on the field. And who shouldn’t. Harbaugh has this Michigan team, this program, thinking like a professional team.

It’s their team — he’s just the guy motivating and game-planning and putting them in position to execute at their ceiling. Again, players win games.

And Harbaugh lets everyone know it every chance he gets. It’s their team now, and will be their team if and when he leaves for the NFL.

It will take a unique challenge in the NFL, a fit like none other. When Harbaugh left Stanford for the 49ers after the 2010 season, San Francisco had losing seasons in 8 of the previous 9 seasons.   

The once proud franchise was desperate to return to the Super Bowl for the first time since 1994. It took Harbaugh 2 seasons to make it happen, sandwiched around 2 other seasons of playing in the NFC Championship Game.

His final 8-8 season was marred by butting heads with general manager Trent Baalke, and eventually a firing. Despite 3 conference championship games in his first 3 seasons — and the reality that NFL coaches who win playoff games are rare — he was out of a job.

Two weeks later, he arrived a Michigan.

There are 3 NFL jobs currently open, and 2 could be intriguing. There will be more on the way for a league full of annual turnover.

The Colts, where he is a member of the team’s Ring of Honor, would be compelling because Indianapolis will have a high pick in the NFL Draft and needs a quarterback. Harbaugh could start from scratch with a player he drafted.

The Broncos, much like the 49ers in 2011, are desperate for a return to the elite of the league. It has been 7 years since the Broncos won the Super Bowl, and the franchise hit rock bottom this season.

Nathaniel Hackett was fired after 15 games, and franchise quarterback Russell Wilson played his worst season in 11 years in the league. If any job looks familiar to the 49ers job Harbaugh took the last time he left for the NFL, it’s the Broncos.

After last season ended with a blowout loss to Georgia in the Orange Bowl Playoff semifinal, Harbaugh told his team he was interested in the NFL. He’d listen to teams, and there was a chance he could accept a job.

He was last to interview for the Vikings job, and many in the league believe he could’ve had the job with a strong interview. Or if he truly wanted it.

“He was interested in the flirtation, not necessarily the job,” an NFL scout told me. “It will be easier this year to walk away (from Michigan). If he’s going, it’s going to be this year.”

Enjoy it, Michigan fans.

No anger or anxiety. Just love.