If Jim Harbaugh were to leave Michigan football, hopefully it is not for one of these NFL teams.
After leading the San Francisco 49ers for four seasons in the early 2010s, Harbaugh went back to the Michigan Wolverines in the final days of 2014 to fix the mess created by his predecessor Brady Hoke. Six years later and it feels like Harbaugh is running out of time in Ann Arbor. Though he will not leave for another college job, he could make a return to the NFL in 2021 if he wants to.
3 NFL teams that should not hire Jim Harbaugh ahead of 2021 season
Haven’t their fans have been through enough already?
The Detroit Lions are one of three NFL head-coaching jobs that are open through Week 12. While it could be appealing for Harbaugh to leave Ann Arbor for Detroit, this one feels like it will be doomed from the start if he were to go there. With many Lions fans also being Wolverines fans, have they not suffered enough at the expense of a Harbaugh-led team over the years?
Sure, Harbaugh could theoretically get the most out of quarterback Matthew Stafford, but when has he done that with any quarterback returning to Michigan? Ole Miss Rebels transfer Shea Patterson was also a five-star recruit coming out of high school. Under Harbaugh, Patterson was not even drafted after his four years in college. Harbaugh is no longer a quarterback whisperer.
Even if the Lions were to move on from Stafford and bring in a new face of the franchise, who is to say Harbaugh will get the most out of that new passer? Keep in mind this is easily the worst job in the NFC North division, so why would Harbaugh want to even go there? Given that one of his former teams in the Chicago Bears could have an opening as well, and he may end up going there.
Ultimately, this only feels like a splash hire in a tactless attempt to make the Lions semi-relevant. They are better served seeing what interim head coach Darrell Bevell does the rest of the way or try their luck with another first-time coach than going with Harbaugh. For the Lions to win this hiring cycle, they need a coach who can win on the field and not just win the press conference.