Sports

Jim Harbaugh should get out while the gettin’s good


Should Jim Harbaugh bolt for the NFL?

Should Jim Harbaugh bolt for the NFL?
Illustration: Getty Images

Jim Harbaugh’s tenure at Michigan is done.

There’s nothing left there for him to do except fall back into the abyss he was in prior to this season, have his reputation sullied and his existence mocked.

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When you climb out of such a hole, you don’t want to drop back in it.

That’s why Harbaugh, the quirky coach, should iron a fresh new pair of khaki pants, load the wife and kids in his station wagon, and head for the hills.

Run, Harbaugh, run!

That’s right. Harbaugh should hightail it out of Ann Arbor A.S.A.P.

If there’s an NFL head coaching job for the taking — looking at you Chicago, Las Vegas and Jacksonville — he should grab it, the loot that comes with it, and bolt his alma mater.

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The report on Tuesday that the NFL is once again on the table for Harbaugh comes as no surprise. According to a report in The Athletic, which cited both NFL and Michigan sources, Harbaugh could be “tempted” with the possibility of leaving college and returning to the pro ranks.

Some might think why would Harbaugh, 58, do that? For sure, he finally had a bust-out season with the Wolverines, who beat Ohio State for the first time in his seven-year tenure there, won the Big Ten title and reached the College Football Playoffs for the first time in school history.

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That should be reason to celebrate, dig in.

But don’t forget, in 2020, Michigan had an embarrassing 2-4 record during a pandemic-shortened season. It was so bad that he had to take a huge pay cut, going from $8 million a season to $4 million in accepting a new four-year extension.

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At that time, Harbaugh was toxic. Some even thought he was a fraud. The alumni were down on him. Nobody in the NFL was interested in him, not even the Detroit Lions, who were looking for a head coach at the time.

For sure, Harbaugh’s coaching career — and credibility for that matter — were at the cliff’s edge.

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Somehow, he was able to bounce back in a big way this past season. There’s no denying that.

Truth be told, Harbaugh’s stock may never be higher again.

That’s why this is the time to make a move, especially with some of the attractive jobs that will be open. There is even an outside chance that the New York Giants might have an opening.

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Harbaugh — who played quarterback for 14 seasons in the NFL — had his most success in the coaching ranks in professional football. He led the San Francisco 49ers to three straight NFC Championship Games, including a losing trip (to his brother John) to the Super Bowl.

There aren’t that many coaches out there with that on their resume. He was a proven winner in the NFL. And you get the sense Harbaugh has some unfinished business in the NFL: Winning a Super Bowl.

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On the flip side, Harbaugh must know that winning a National Championship in college is a million times harder. The SEC is the monster in the room. His Wolverines, ranked No. 2 this season, were demolished by Georgia. Michigan looked as if it didn’t belong on the field, losing 34-11.

That should have given Harbaugh a moment to pause and realize something that’s real: He can’t win at Michigan.

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To be honest, no one can really.

Not even Bo Schembechler, the legendary coach. He NEVER won a national championship and was 5-12 in bowl games.

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Only Lloyd Carr won a mythical national championship at Michigan in 1997. The AP Poll voted for Michigan No. 1. But the Coaches Poll voted Nebraska No. 1. Hence, the two schools shared the title that year.

Given Michigan’s storied history in college football, it’s hardly impressive.

Sure, Harbaugh could stay there and be beloved like Bo. He might even get a statue for NOT winning like Bo.

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The fans at Michigan seem to only care about being relevant and beating Ohio State, and not in that order. They are so used to not winning a national title that it doesn’t bother them anymore. They are immune.

But those five losses to the Buckeyes to start Harbaugh’s tenure hurt, and had the fanbase salty at Harbaugh.

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That can easily turn again because Ohio State isn’t going anywhere. Michigan can be sure Ohio State will be back for that ass next season.

As for Harbaugh, it’s best to get out of Dodge with his hind still intact.

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