Fresh off arguably his best ever season as head coach of the Michigan Wolverines, Jim Harbaugh has set his sights on a new challenge.
Ever since Michigan’s campaign came to an abrupt conclusion in the College Football Playoff semis against Georgia, Harbaugh has been strongly linked to potential openings in the NFL.
And it’s not just idle gossip. Harbaugh has reportedly gone as far as to let potential recruits know that him returning to Ann Arbor next year is not a definite.
Obviously, as soon as it became apparent that Harbaugh had a desire to return to the NFL, the obvious question became: why?
An answer emerged this week.
According to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, Harbaugh’s desire to leave Michigan for the pro ranks can be summed up in two words: unfinished business.
“As a source with knowledge of the situation explains it to PFT, Harbaugh is watching and waiting to see whether a team with a reasonable ownership and General Manager situation is interested in giving him an opportunity to continue an NFL career that resulted, from 2011 through 2014, in a record of 44-19-1 and a Super Bowl berth. At age 58, Harbaugh wants to get back to the Super Bowl and win it.”
It’s all about that championship trophy.
“Some think Jim Harbaugh is simply trying to leverage Michigan into paying him more,” Florio continued. “Per the source, that’s not what it’s about (which will obviously make some say, ‘Of course that’s what it’s about’). It’s about unfinished business from nearly a decade ago, when Harbaugh took a 6-10 team and turned it around almost immediately, without the benefit of an offseason program in his first year, thanks to the lockout.”
It will be interesting to see where Harbaugh ultimately lands. According to Adam Rittenberg of ESPN, the Las Vegas Raiders are his likeliest landing spot and the New York Giants are a job that intrigues him.
Re: Jim Harbaugh/NFL situation @BruceFeldmanCFB reported, the Raiders are likeliest spot if JH wants to return to NFL. He started coaching career w/ Oak Raiders. Before Michigan, he and his wife lived on West Coast. I’d heard Giants job could have interested him if it was open.
— Adam Rittenberg (@ESPNRittenberg) January 5, 2022
The Raiders will likely start making a move on Harbaugh sooner rather than later now that their season has come to an end.
This has been a year of high highs and not-so-low lows for Harbaugh. Yes, he got mocked endlessly for the t-shirts he allowed his guys to wear before they got smashed by the Bulldogs. But he also got to smack down his rival, Ohio State’s Ryan Day, with a brutal 12-word message after beating him this year. Finally.
Joe Burrow won in more ways than 1 last night. https://t.co/BTfyH9VQzb
— Game 7 (@game7__) January 16, 2022
And Harbaugh also got a lot of credit from fans for the way he handled an “Urban Meyer-style” situation.
All in all, Harbaugh is on a hot streak. And by all accounts, with a promising NFL opportunity just around the corner – the streak is showing no signs of letting up.