Every NFL analyst, insider and reporter believed Jim Harbaugh would never leave the unrivaled NFL for a lower tiered level of competition, like college football. However, as happy as every Michigan fan is with his hiring and return, I believe every NFL team is as happy to see him go. And here’s why:
1. No more playing against him or his teams
– Harbaugh stepped into the NFL and took the league by storm. He quickly turned around a San Francisco 49ers franchise that went 6-10 under Mike Singletary and led them to a 13-3 record and an overtime field goal away from the Super Bowl with a “bust” of a quarterback. He followed that up with another NFC Championship appearance after going 11-4-1 record in 2012 and then a Super Bowl appearance after going 12-4 in 2013.
The former Michigan quarterback took a soft, underperforming team with quarterback issues and turned them into a perennial power in the NFL. He infused competition and toughness into both the offense and defense, and it separated them from everyone else.
In his four years in San Francisco, there was not a team (maybe outside of rival Seattle) that coaches, players and fans hated playing against more. And now, they can all take a big sigh of relief.
2. No more postgame handshakes
– In his first year, Harbaugh didn’t make any new fans in his former home state of Michigan when he completed the handshake seen around the world after the 49ers close win over the Jim Schwartz coached Lions.
While his near fight was after a big win, his other handshake issues came after close losses. One of the most known happened this past season after a loss to Bruce Arians\’ Arizona Cardinals.
But you can’t blame Jim 100%, as it looks like handshake issues run in the family.
3. NFL ready prospects
– Most conferences in college football seems to be known for producing certain types of players, and the Big Ten is no different. They’ve always put out big, physical players on both sides of the ball, as well as pro-style quarterbacks. And with Harbaugh (and his elite level coaching staff) in the fold, NFL teams can expect Michigan to get back to being a top source for pro ready talent at just about every position.
One position that has NFL teams the most excited will be at quarterback. Harbaugh’s last college quarterback, Andrew Luck, just so happens to be the prototypical signal caller that every franchise is looking for on and off the field.
While Harbaugh didn’t exactly build Luck, he had him ready for the league. And that’s the biggest perk he’ll provide to the NFL. It’s no secret that scouts and GMs are upset with the lack of NFL ready signal callers because of the spread offenses and sideline play calling cards. Expect each Michigan QB to at least be ready for a true pro-style offense at the next level.
With young talent on the Michigan roster already, and plenty of top recruits looking to don the Maize and Blue, there’s a solid chance Harbaugh turns Michigan into the new ‘Quarterback U’.