Is Jim Harbaugh the right fit for the Bears?
Rhona Wise - USA Today Sports

Is Jim Harbaugh the right fit for the Bears?

by - Senior Writer -

One of the biggest stories in college football this season has surrounded Jim Harbaugh and the entire Michigan Wolverines program in general. Sure, the Wolverines went 12-0 during the regular season and just knocked off Iowa to claim the Big 10 title. Michigan also shot to No. 1 in the final playoff rankings with a perfect 13-0 mark and will face Alabama in the college football playoffs at the Rose Bowl.

However, what went into that record is that this program took a ton of heat as Harbaugh was suspended once and twice the season, totaling four missed games. The first suspension was one game due to recruiting violations, while the second was a three-game ban from sign-stealing allegations. Sherron Moore took over and went 4-0 with the team as the coach, but now there are many questions surrounding the Michigan program.

The biggest question is once again on Harbaugh and whether or not he will return to coach the team next season. Everyone at Michigan wants him back, but after all the drama he put the program through this season, is he worth the headache? Not to mention that Harbaugh has already hinted at heading back to the NFL, and you could make the case that he won't be back next season and will once again be jumping to the NFL.

Las Vegas has already been mentioned as a logical destination for Harbaugh, but expect that list to continue as several teams will need a new head coach and Harbaugh will be at the top of their list. That includes the Chicago Bears, who are still trying to figure out if they want to keep Matt Eberflus around but have also discussed bringing Harbaugh in to replace him.

Those discussions lead me to believe that the decision has been made on Eberflus and his future, no matter how he finishes the season. Whether you love or hate him, you know what you will get with Harbaugh, which is a winner. Everywhere he has gone on to coach, he has done nothing but win, which can't be taken away from him. Adding him to the Bears would be a huge shot and come with mixed reviews, but if the winning continues, no one would care.

The 59-year-old Harbaugh has had a lengthy coaching career and that came after a long playing career that saw his first seven seasons with the Bears. Although not the most successful during those seasons, Harbaugh did post back-to-back 10-win seasons at one point, with one of those seasons leading to a division title. It wasn't until he retired from the game and got into coaching that you saw his true value, and he has become one of the best coaches in the game since.

His first coaching opportunity came in 2004 with the University of San Diego, where he posted a 29-6 record in three seasons. That included back-to-back 11-1 seasons in 2005 and 2006 before winning a bowl game in his final year. He then traveled north to Palo Alto, California, to become the next head coach of the Stanford Cardinal, where he spent four years from 2007-10.

Unlike San Diego, where he had instant success, Harbaugh had back-to-back losing seasons to begin his Stanford tenure before going 8-5 in year three. He then went 12-1 in 2010 to finish 29-21 with Stanford while winning the Orange Bowl with Andrew Luck that season. Looking for his next challenge, Harbaugh stayed in California and became the next San Francisco 49ers head coach before the 2011 season.

Over the next four years, Harbaugh was nothing short of amazing, going 44-19-1 with one Superbowl appearance. However, after going 8-8 in his final season with the 49ers, Harbaugh took the easy way out and returned to Michigan, where he has been since 2015. Apart from the COVID season, where Michigan went 2-4, Harbaugh has won nine games or more each season with Michigan and has compiled an 87-25 record with the Wolverines. Take in his previous college success, and Harbaugh is 142-52 at the college level and 186-71-1 overall as a head coach.

As mentioned above, all he does is win games everywhere he goes, even if the attitude and antics aren't always the best guys love playing for him. With the reports surfacing that the Bears are indeed interested in Harbaugh, could team President Kevin Warren make this move after the season? When you look at Warren's relationship with Harbaugh while running the Big 10, you can see why Warren would want him, and the move makes a ton of sense.

Harbaugh has a history in Chicago that came with some success and, of course, some failures. However, he would be the best coach the Bears have had since Lovie Smith, and for the first time in nearly 15 years, the Bears would have someone to hold them accountable. Even if most fans don't want the headache of having Harbaugh join this team, he is a winner, and the Bears need a winner to lead this organization.

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