Jim Harbaugh is rejoining the NFL ranks, but his new Chargers team won't have the luxury of squaring off against the 49ers soon.
Ever since he "mutually parted ways" with the San Francisco 49ers, Niners fans have wondered whether or not head coach Jim Harbaugh would make some sort of return to the NFL ranks.
Particularly after San Francisco endured some pretty bleak years following his departure in 2015.
Harbaugh, who just wrapped up a College Football Playoff national championship at the University of Michigan, has seemingly been surrounded by "going back to the NFL" rumors over the years. Having finally achieved the ultimate goal of winning that national championship, the well-traveled head coach ultimately elected to give up being a king at Ann Arbor, Michigan, to return to the pro ranks once more.
Honestly, living in Los Angeles is probably a lot nicer than living in Michigan, right? No offense, Michiganders.
Jim Harbaugh named Chargers' next head coach
On Wednesday, multiple reports broke the news how Harbaugh was ditching his job at Michigan to take on the Los Angeles Chargers' head-coaching job in the wake of them firing their former coach, Brandon Staley, late during the regular season.
The Bolts, who have long played second fiddle in Southern California behind the Los Angeles Rams, immediately become a high-profile team because of the Harbaugh hire.
It's also great news for quarterback Justin Herbert, who gets a top-notch head coach who can maximize his exceptional skill set.
Most importantly, at least for LA, Harbaugh brings a pedigree that includes turning downtrodden programs around. Much like he did with the 49ers, who boasted a talented roster prior to him coming aboard in 2011, Harbaugh has displayed a knack for getting the absolute most from a team that simply needed the right head coach.
Considering the Chargers have to face off against MVP quarterback Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs twice a year to remain competitive within the AFC West, it's very much a win for Los Angeles.
It's just too bad Harbaugh and the Bolts won't square off against the Niners anytime soon (in a meaningful game).
49ers won't face Jim Harbaugh, Chargers anytime soon (at least not in regular season)
San Francisco won't get the luxury of welcoming Harbaugh back at any point in the foreseeable future. That's a shame.
The 49ers squared off against the Chargers and the rest of the AFC West back in 2022, and with that division not set to play the NFC West until 2026, it's unlikely the Niners face Harbaugh and the Bolts anytime soon. The only other way would be one of the three at-large games on the regular-season docket, and it would involve both San Francisco and Los Angeles finishing in the same spot within their respective divisions. Case in point, the 49ers host the Chiefs in one of those at-large games in 2024 because of both squads winning their divisions this season.
So, no Chargers versus Niners next year. Unless it's in preseason action.
The 49ers hosted the Chargers in an exhibition game this season, and it's common for the league to schedule these preseason games between teams with relatively close proximity.
Perhaps in that fashion, albeit meaningless in terms of the outcome, Niners fans can finally see Harbaugh again on the sideline.
That day, whenever it arrives, will be fun to see.