The (Stolen) Signs Were All There That Jim Harbaugh Was Leaving Michigan & Returning To The NFL

Jim Harbaugh Michigan
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It’s official… the reigning college football national champions have a job opening at head coach, and the Los Angeles Chargers have finally got their guy.

The news that Jim Harbaugh is leaving the Michigan Wolverines and making the move back up to the NFL should come as no surprise. Pretty much everyone and their brother was calling it (I called it here, but like I said, I’m not special), and it was just a matter of what NFL team was right for the longtime head coach.

As it turns out, Harbaugh found a perfect fit, and no I’m not talking about his patented khaki pants. I’m talking about the fact that Jim Harbaugh is leaving Michigan behind after winning them a national championship to go out to sunny California to coach the Los Angeles Chargers.

So now, after coaching at the University of Michigan for nearly ten years (2015 – 2024), and finally bringing the blue and gold a national title, Harbaugh heads back to the NFL. He formerly coached the San Francisco 49ers from 2011 to 2014, and had plenty of success while he was there, so he’ll look to pick back up where he left off at the pro level.

But why was now the right time for Harbaugh to head back to the NFL? Well, to put things succinctly, the signs were really all there:

Perfect Storybook Ending

First off, Harbaugh gets to ride off into the sunset as a Michigan legend. He was finally able to lead the Wolverines over the hump and to a national championship, and what could be a better ending than that?

Though some Michigan fans will be upset he’s leaving, now would probably be the best time to do it as the “we are the champions” honeymoon phase is still in full effect.

Things Still Left to Prove in the NFL

Secondly, though Harbaugh was viewed as a successful head coach in the pros (3 NFC Championship appearances in four years), he was never able to deliver the 49ers to a Super Bowl victory. He came very close in 2012 when San Francisco made it to the “Big Game,” but they lost 34 – 31 to the Baltimore Ravens…who were (and still are) coached by Jim’s brother John Harbaugh.

Now that he’s got a championship at the college level, it only makes sense to go for the same in the NFL. And what better team to take over than the underachieving, highly-talented Los Angeles Chargers led by young quarterback Justin Herbert? It was almost too good of an opportunity to pass up.

The Stolen Signs

Oh, that’s right, one of the “signs” that Harbaugh was likely leaving Michigan are the “stolen signs” that got him in trouble during the college football season. To start the season, Harbaugh was suspended by the first three games of the season by Michigan (self-imposed) for violating recruiting standards.

Then, the sign stealing scandal heard round the world busted wide open in October, which led the Big Ten Conference to suspend Harbaugh for the last three games of the regular season. Long story short, Harbaugh was being watched closely for breaking rules at the collegiate level, and the NCAA was still in the process of investigating both of those scandals (they move as slow as Christmas).

So if you’re Harbaugh, why not cheat coach your way to a national title, and then get the hell out of town? Harbaugh can basically wash his hands clean with a fresh start in the NFL, and who is the NCAA going to punish for all of that stuff now?

Really smart thinking by the now head coach of the Los Angeles Chargers. It was a wild ride for Harbaugh in his last year at Michigan, but now all anyone will remember is the championship he won there, and now he’ll get to count his money when his contract with the Chargers is finalized.

I’ve got a feeling that Jim Harbaugh is stuffing his khaki pockets with cash and running all the way to California shouting what his father (and identical twin) often says:


A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock