Watch: Michigan football national champion Crisler Center celebration highlights

There was pomp, circumstance, and a whole lot of celebrating as the University of Michigan football team was honored at Crisler Center Saturday night. 

The night opened however, with Michigan Athletic Director Warde Manuel addressing the 800-pound maize and blue elephant in the room - Coach Jim Harbaugh's expiring contract.

"I will start off by answering the question I got about 500 times on the parade route today: I am working on getting this man a new contract, I promise you," he said, to thunderous applause.

Harbaugh put his hand over his heart, looked down, then clasped his hands together.

Related: Michigan Wolverines: Watch the parade of the 2023 football national champions

Once that was out of the way and the trophies presented, the 2023 College Football National Champion Wolverines took the stage and had plenty to say.

Senior defensive back Mike Sainristil mentioned the advanced scouting cheating allegations that the team dealt with this season, albeit briefly.

"As far as this season goes, when they doubted, when they disrespected us, when they called us names, when they said we're cheaters and said we didn't deserve what we had - none of that mattered to us," he said. "We stayed focused, kept our heads on straight, and week to week we just gave spankings out."

Harbaugh addressed Team 144 and called them "Michigan football legends, beloved sons of Michigan, mighty men - and now known simply as national champions. No one has it better."

Record-setting running back Blake Corum reflected on an interview he gave at a Michigan basketball game at Crisler on Feb. 9th where he guaranteed a national championship for the then-upcoming fall season. 

"I promised y'all we would win a national championship and a whole year later, on Monday, January 8, 2024 what did we do? We won a national championship,"  said Corum wearing a ‘Business is finished’ shirt. "These last four years have been nothing I could have ever dreamed of, and it is because of the guys we surrounded ourselves with and it's because of you guys - I love you (fans) so much.

"It didn't matter if we were playing a home game, it didn't matter if we were playing an away game, you guys were there, 100,000-plus or taking over half of other people's stadiums, I can't thank you enough, it's been a great ride."

In the meantime, Harbaugh was as colorful as ever, even quoting from Shakespeare's Henry V play at one point. Above all, he praised the the team for its unity and battle-tested mettle.

"The 2023 Michigan Wolverines your love for the game is genuine," he said. "You paid the price with perseverance, accountability, integrity, discipline, refuse to be divided, rather chose to be galvanized. Mighty men who chose to be unselfish and play together as a team. 

"You attacked each day with an enthusiasm unknown to mankind. You bow to no man, you bow to no program.

"Team 144, we salute you. A band of brothers. Thank you."

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The sell-out event's proceeds went to the Champions Circle Collective, directly benefits student-athletes.