Harbaugh leaves Michigan to return to the NFL

The Los Angeles Chargers have hired Jim Harbaugh, who just won the College Football Playoff National Championship with the Michigan Wolverines. Harbaugh returns to the NFL for the first time since 2014. He was 44-19-1 with the San Francisco 49ers in the regular season and won the NFC Championship during the 2012 season.

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Harbaugh had been rumored to be looking at a return to the NFL even before the sign-stealing scandal that cost him a three-game suspension to finish out the college football regular season. Now he’ll coach Justin Herbert as he heads to the AFC West after spending four years in the NFC West from 2011-14.

Los Angeles Chargers odds

The Chargers entered the day at +3000 per DraftKings Sportsbook to win Super Bowl LIX in 2025 and remained there after the news was announced. We’ll see how Harbaugh fills out his coaching staff in LA. Current Ravens defensive coordinator Mike MacDonald has been interviewing for head coaching jobs of his own, so a reunion there seems like a major long shot, but Harbaugh did a great job hiring coordinators in Ann Arbor over the last few seasons, so good hires should be coming.

Along with a 44-19-1 regular season record, Harbaugh was 5-3 in the postseason. He made the playoffs in each of his first three seasons before going 8-8 in his final season.

Harbaugh’s final seasons as a player came with the Chargers, as he was 6-11 as a starter in 1999-2000. He had 18 TD passes against 24 interceptions for them over that span.

Under Brandon Staley, the Chargers were 24-24 in the regular season and lost their lone postseason game. LA has the fifth pick in the upcoming 2024 NFL Draft.

Michigan Wolverines odds

Michigan, who was already going to experience heavy personnel losses to the NFL and graduation, still sits at +1200 to win the new-look College Football Playoff, which will feature 12 teams next season. QB JJ McCarthy and RB Blake Corum are among the top prospects from the title-winning team.

The expectation is that Michigan will just stay in-house and hire OC Sherrone Moore to follow Harbaugh, but the coaching carousel has been one of the most interesting in recent memory, so a surprise could still take place.