49ers fans should be thrilled if Jim Harbaugh returns to NFL

Head coach Jim Harbaugh of the Michigan Wolverines (Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images)
Head coach Jim Harbaugh of the Michigan Wolverines (Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images) /

There’s growing speculation former 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh could once again cross back over to the NFL ranks if he were to leave Michigan.

There are a few sizable things that still leave a sour taste in San Francisco 49ers‘ fans mouths.

Perhaps those playoff losses to the Dallas Cowboys in the 1970s and early 1990s hurt. Same with wide receiver Kyle Williams’ fumbles during the 2012 NFC Championship game. The Seattle Seahawks having their way with the Niners for the better part of 10 years, too.

Another one, though, was the “mutual” parting of ways between San Francisco and its former head coach Jim Harbaugh at the end of the 2014 season, one which dropped the 49ers into laughingstock status around the league as Harbaugh took over the head coaching job at his alma mater, the University of Michigan.

After Georgia knocked off Michigan in the College Football Playoff semifinal during the Orange Bowl, reports are surfacing Harbaugh could again be in the running for an NFL head coaching job once more.

Jim Harbaugh eyeing a return to the NFL ranks?

Harbaugh’s stint with the Niners was one of the most successful in franchise history, and his .688 winning percentage from 2011 through 2014 ranks second best and only behind former head coach George Seifert (.755).

It was only clashes with the front office that ultimately doomed Harbaugh’s tenure in San Francisco, and his prior history of rebuilding downtrodden franchises is likely one of the reasons behind a presumed return to the NFL ranks.

Perhaps it’s only speculation at this point. But a source told The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman Harbaugh “might be tempted to leave the Wolverines:”

Not surprisingly, one of the teams popping up as a potential suitor is the Chicago Bears, a team likely to fire head coach Matt Nagy this offseason and ultimately looking for someone who can groom rookie quarterback Justin Fields in the forthcoming years.

Harbaugh played with the Bears from 1987, the year Chicago drafted him, through 1993 before joining the Indianapolis Colts.

49ers fans should be thrilled if Jim Harbaugh rejoins the NFL

This might not always be the case if Harbaugh winds up joining a team like the Bears, whenever they square off against the 49ers.

But in all other aspects, Niners fans would surely embrace the idea of Harbaugh coming back from the NCAA coaching ranks.

Few press conferences were as entertaining as those of Harbaugh, and there’s certainly an overwhelmingly large percentage of San Francisco fans who sided with Harbaugh and not the team’s front office during his departure in the early days of 2015.

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In a simple way of looking at things, the NFL was far more entertaining when Harbaugh was coaching the 49ers. Whether it’s from his rivalry with Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll, the altercation between Harbaugh and then-Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz or even the notorious “Who’s got it better than us? Nobody!” chants Harbaugh’s Niners teams became known for, there’s no shortage of memorable moments.

And gifs, too. Like this one:

At any rate, it’s only speculation as of now. Harbaugh’s future is surely nowhere close to being decided, although it wouldn’t be shocking whatsoever if a few teams, perhaps the Bears, are interested in his services in 2022 and beyond.

And unless San Francisco is playing a Harbaugh-led team, 49ers fans are surely going to be rooting for him.

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