ESPN’s Paul Finebaum: Don’t Rule Out A Jim Harbaugh Return To The NFL

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A win for Michigan in the College Football Playoff would go a long way for the program and head coach Jim Harbaugh.

For the Wolverines, the first National Championship to come to Ann Arbor since 1997. For Harbaugh, it could be the gateway for a return to the NFL.

ESPN’s Paul Finebaum thinks it’s a possibility, as he said this week on Keyshawn, JWill and Max.

“With a national championship, I do think Jim Harbaugh would be primed for the NFL,” Finebaum said. “I’ve always felt like he’s better in the NFL. Having said that after his best season as a college coach, but a lot of us have forgotten how good he was with the (San Francisco) 49ers. He went to a couple of (NFC) championship games. He went to the Super Bowl. Lost to his brother, of course, when the (Baltimore) Ravens won.

“I think he’s better suited for that game. It would be a Disney movie, the fact that Jim Harbaugh, the man that everyone wrote off, no one more than me, wins the national championship and then marches off to the (Chicago) Bears or wherever he decides. But I would not rule it out.”

As Finebaum pointed out, the end of Harbaugh’s tenure with the 49ers often clouds how good the beginning was. From 2011-13, Harbaugh’s 49ers went 36-11, appearing in the NFC Championship Game in every season.

San Francisco reached the pinnacle in 2012, representing the NFC in Super Bowl XLVII. The Ravens and Harbaugh’s brother, John, ultimately prevailed, 34-31. An 8-8 season in 2014 and a power struggle with ownership brought his tenure to a close, but led him back to his alma mater.

Seven seasons later, Harbaugh finally has Michigan (12-1) where he wants them: facing No. 3 Georgia (12-1) in the College Football Playoff Semifinal Friday at 7:30 on ESPN.

“It’s been great,” Harbaugh said Thursday, via The Michigan Insider. “As I said at the opening, we’re happy. We’re really happy to be here. Coach (Kirby) Smart was talking about it just a little bit ago and just it really resonated, yeah, you’re — there’s a great joy. There’s a great joy around the team, the locker room, practices. It would almost be like if you weren’t happy about that, then there would be something else we’ve got to look into.

“Why? Why wouldn’t you be happy? But not just happy. There’s a real narrow focus that the team has concerning this football game and making each day — making them good days. Having great meetings, having great practices, get the energy up and go play the game.”

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Written by Nick Geddes

Nick Geddes is a 2021 graduate of the University of Central Florida with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism. A life-long sports enthusiast, Nick shares a passion for sports writing and is proud to represent OutKick.

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