One of the grittiest football guys of all time recently sat down with the two grittiest bloggers ever in what became one of the best interviews in all of sports. “Pardon My Take,” hosted by Dan “Big Cat” Katz and PFT Commenter (real name unknown), is the best podcast in sports. The two alpha hosts sit down with guests across the sports spectrum, including players, coaches, and other journos. It’s a funny show that asks real questions of guests while incorporating a certain level of ridiculousness. Some guests play into it really well, and others are more subdued.
Their recent interviews with Paul Lo Duca and Donovan McNabb are must-listens, but last week’s show with Jim Harbaugh was like an artist meeting his muse. The hosts have long considered the University of Michigan football coach the ideal football guy, and their interview with him is an incredible piece of journalism. You can subscribe and become an award-winning listener here.
Here are the seven best Harbaugh quotes from this interview.
1. On Recruiting
Harbaugh: “It’s an amazing process to just go all across the country, and you meet really good people. And it makes you feel good that there’s genuine down to earth good people. … You become like part of the family, when it really works the best.”
PFT “It seems like they probably trust you if they’re letting you roll out a sleeping bag and sleep on their floor.”
Harbaugh: “Pop a little popcorn, watch some highlights.”
Harbaugh seems like an incredibly gracious houseguest. He doesn’t even ask for a guest bedroom, apparently. He’s so gritty he’ll just sleep on the floor. He’s polite, too, noting he used to snore, but now he’s got a machine to stop that.
2. On Meeting the Pope
PFT: “You gave him some Jordans—how’d you know what shoe size?”
Harbaugh: “My wife researched that. I don’t know how she found it…that our Holy Father is a 9 or a 9 ½ but I don’t remember which, and he wears orthotics.”
We can only assume Pope Francis was happier about getting Jordans from Harbaugh than about that photo-op with President Trump, but Harbaugh’s sense of awe when recounting his meeting with the pope is a nice reminder of his strong Catholicism. The whole Harbaugh interview is nothing if not entirely genuine.
3. On Dreams at Night
Harbaugh: “I play in dreams. I don’t ever have coaching dreams. But I have football dreams, still. … I’m in the D3 now, and I’ve got another year of eligibility, nobody would sign me…it’s usually fourth quarter when the dream starts. Almost always in the dream, maybe we’ve gotten just within seven. … the dream ends and I’m out there for the final series, and I’ve never gotten one where the game finishes. ”
Dreaming football is possibly the most amazing revelation from the interview. The man is 24/7/365 football. He was put on this Earth for one thing, and dammit he’s going to do that all the time.
4. On His Hobbies
Harbaugh: “[Recruiting] became my hobby, the thing that I do on the off-season.”
Big Cat: “Your hobby is football.”
Here’s further proof that Harbaugh is football incarnate, America made flesh.
5. On Drinking Milk
Big Cat: “How much milk would you drink?”
Harbaugh: “As much as my belly would hold. I had a great job at school, St. Francis Elementary, where they asked for somebody to deliver milk, and they said you get a free carton of milk… the thing that I learned was that every kid that was sick or absent from school, I got to drink their milk too. I never missed a day of school.”
PFT: “Did you ever get sick and still go?”
Harbaugh: “Well, yeah, you just walk it off and go.”
Harbaugh: “The proof being that nobody in my family is over six foot. My brother, John, and my dad are the second tallest guys, they’re like six foot, I got to six three.”
I recently turned my soon-to-be brother-in-law into a fan of PMT. He’s a 49ers fan and a big Harbaugh fan. His reaction to the show was, “I drank a half gallon of milk immediately after.” Hearing Harbaugh speak about his passions just makes you want to run through a brick wall for the guy, or chug an insane amount of milk.
6. On Delivering a Calf
Harbaugh: “Fair Oaks Farm in Indiana—listen, if you have a chance to go there, it’s better than Disney World, because it’s all real. Here’s what I learned, vegans don’t know what they’re talking about. And, two, the people who are organic, that’s a sham too.”
Jim goes on about what he learned at the farm and tears into the whole “organics” movement in a free markets kind of way, so Federalist fans might find a new appreciation of him. Also, look at him delivering a calf. It’s just grit and Americana wrapped head-to-toe in Michigan gear and khakis.
7. On Baseball Games
Big Cat: “I’ve always been a fan and a defender of wearing a baseball glove to a baseball game.”
Harbaugh: “Why wouldn’t you wear a glove to a baseball game?”
Big Cat: “You’ve never thought for a second, I’ll leave my glove at home?”
Harbaugh: “No. Never.”
If you thought Harbaugh took watching baseball games seriously, you were right. He only counts his Major League Baseball catches—he’s at 21. Not only does he bleed America’s Game, he’s the most intense fan of America’s Pastime.
Forget The Rock. Jim Harbaugh should be our next celebrity president. Unfortunately, it doesn’t sound like he has time for it between football season, off-season recruiting, and dreaming about football. It also wouldn’t fit into his life plan: “Honestly I knew from the very youngest age that I was going to play football, then coach, then die. I never thought about a deviation from that plan.” So, fortunately for Mary Katharine Ham, The Rock won’t have to worry about a strong primary challenger.
The whole interview is incredible. We haven’t even mentioned his thoughts on handshake lines, getting into a 2-on-1 fist fight, and some other gems. My favorite podcast has put together a Mount Rushmore-worthy episode.
So, for everyone who’s bored or turned off by ESPN (or, as the guys have taken to joking, MESPN) PMT is an incredibly funny show that manages to have smart takes on sports. Definitely mash that subscribe button. I’d be a bad contributor if I didn’t also suggest that you subscribe to the Federalist podcast, which features interviews with a variety of political, news, and culture figures.