Harbaugh, who said recently he’d coach at Michigan for free because he loves it so much, said after the game that he sees this season as a “beginning” for the program at the next level. However, that hasn’t stopped the speculation of a return to the NFL from running rampant, especially as a franchise like the Las Vegas Raiders is looking for a coach to make a big splash with.
The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman said on Tuesday that the rumblings are getting louder that it might actually happen, with one source saying of Harbaugh’s NFL interests, “I think it’s real.”
Feldman added that the most likely landing spot would be with the Las Vegas Raiders. Harbaugh began his coaching career with the franchise, which would love a splashy hire to replace Jon Gruden. He also posited that the Chicago Bears might have some interest once they fire Matt Nagy in bringing in their former quarterback to be the new coach.
However, ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg threw an interesting twist on Twitter when he said that he’d “heard Giants job could have interested him if open.”
Re: Jim Harbaugh/NFL situation @BruceFeldmanCFB reported, the Raiders are likeliest spot if JH wants to return to NFL. He started coaching career w/ Oak Raiders. Before Michigan, he and his wife lived on West Coast. I'd heard Giants job could have interested him if it was open.
— Adam Rittenberg (@ESPNRittenberg) January 5, 2022
The New York Giants seem to be sticking with Joe Judge for now, despite going 10-22 so far through two seasons and seemingly cracking from the pressure in real-time. But perhaps if the feelers would put out there and the opportunity knocked, they’d consider moving on from him to make the home-run hire.
After all, say what you want about Harbaugh, but in four seasons leading the San Francisco 49ers to a 44-19-1 record and a Super Bowl appearance. The Giants haven’t made the playoffs since 2016 and haven’t been to the Super Bowl since 2011.
Perhaps it’s all just idle speculation and Harbaugh will soon get another extension and that will be that. But until then, expect there to be more reports, rumors, and what-ifs about NFL possibilities.