College coaches have been making waves in the NFL for many years. This offseason, Jim Harbaugh is the lead candidate.
He is a unique case since he was previously the head coach of an NFL team. He also had a lot of success with that team. His four-year tenure with the San Francisco 49ers gave him a record of 44-19-1 and a Super Bowl appearance.
He is considered an offensive coach, stemming from his 14-year career as a quarterback. Harbaugh was a Chicago Bears first-round draft pick in the 1987 NFL Draft.
After spending his first seven seasons in the Windy City, he took his conservative play to Indianapolis. While it was a short four-year stint, he notched the only Pro Bowl nod of his career and two playoff appearances, including a conference championship appearance in 1995.
Despite that background, the 49ers weren’t much of a threat offensively outside a decent 2012 season. The defense, on the other hand, was elite every season. Considering the makeup of Dallas’ current team, Harbaugh has the opportunity to run an elite offense and defense.
With the 49ers, Harbaugh had the dual-threat Colin Kaepernick as his quarterback. He played well in 2013 and 2014 but struggled outside those years. Having Prescott at the helm is a significant upgrade, so Dallas should not struggle offensively as San Fran did.
He has been coaching at his alma mater Michigan since 2015. Under Harbaugh, the Wolverines appeared in the top five best teams in the nation three times, including finishing third after losing to Georgia in the College Football Playoff this past season.
The downside is that he has a record of 1-5 in college bowl games. It is always a little concerning when a coach doesn’t hold his own on the biggest stage. Jerry Jones’ patience has been running thin to win a championship, so there is a lot of pressure to change that.
Harbaugh’s recent success with Michigan and past success with the 49ers give him the advantage to be a leading candidate to win the job in Dallas if he wants it. Not to mention Jones’ history of favoring offensive-minded coaches.