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Will Jim Harbaugh be an NFL head coach in 2023?

We discuss whether an NFL team will hire Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh and which opening fits him best.

Big Ten Championship - Purdue v Michigan Photo by Aaron J. Thornton/Getty Images

Monday, January 16 Update: According to Michigan president Santa Ono, Harbaugh will be remaining as the University of Michigan head coach. There had been rumors all along that Harbaugh was itching to get back to the NFL. Whether he wasn’t getting the desired interviews or if the door is really closed on an NFL return, Harbaugh is fully expected back as the head coach of the Wolverines in 2023.


Michigan Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh will once again draw consideration this offseason for a number of head coaching vacancies in the NFL. After achieving success at both the college and professional levels, Harbaugh’s combination of experience should make him a front-runner for consideration for a number of teams.

Who is Michigan Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh?

Harbaugh is an experienced coach, both at the college and NFL level, as well as a 14-year player that played quarterback in the NFL, most notably for the Chicago Bears. Since the end of his playing career, Harbaugh has had stints as the quarterbacks coach with the Oakland Raiders from 2002 to 2003, before accepting the head coaching position at San Diego back in 2004.

After becoming the head coach of Stanford in 2007, Harbaugh revived the Cardinal’s program to their first 11-win season in 2010, resulting in a 40-12 win over Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl. Harbaugh eventually made his way back to the NFL as head coach of the San Francisco 49ers, whom he coached from 2011 to 2014. During his tenure in San Francisco, the 49ers reached two NFC Championship games and one championship game, where they fell to the Baltimore Ravens in Super Bowl XVII.

Since departing the NFL in 2014, Harbaugh has been head coach of the Michigan Wolverines since 2015. Michigan has currently won back-to-back Big 10 titles and reached the College Football Playoff in back-to-back seasons.

Why would he make a good head coach?

Harbaugh has undoubtedly reached the highest level of success at both the college and professional levels with his head coaching stints at Stanford, with the 49ers, and at Michigan. In the case of Stanford and the 49ers, Harbaugh’s coaching style has a proven track record of success in reviving a struggling program and underwhelming organization, which is a trait that is appealing to any NFL team in need of a proven head coach.

His success in sparking a comeback of Alex Smith’s career, as well as subsequently rolling with Colin Kaepernick amid their Super Bowl run, should speak volumes to teams in need of turning around a struggling quarterback, whether young or a veteran.

Which teams are interviewing him?

Denver Broncos

The Broncos have considerable talent in place on both sides of the ball. Jim Harbaugh has done great things with quarterbacks in his time across the NFL and college football, so getting a chance to work with Russell Wilson is likely enticing. Harbaugh is a massive upgrade from Nathaniel Hackett, which on its own should be enough to get the team back over .500 and competing for a playoff berth.

What teams is he connected to in rumors?

Carolina Panthers: Panthers owner David Tepper talked to Harbaugh about the team’s head coaching opening, per ESPN. According to the report, Harbaugh has a “sincere interest” in the position.