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Raiders coaching search: Pro and cons of hiring Jim Harbaugh

Would Michigan coach fit Raiders?

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NCAA Football: Michigan at Minnesota
Jim Harbaugh
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

The Las Vegas Raiders may hire a new head coach if they don’t decide to hire interim head coach Antonio Pierce in January (there needs to be a search, anyway).

One potential name to watch is Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh. The Athletic recently reported that the Raiders and Chicago Bears (he played there) are two potential jobs he would have interest in and there may be others.

Raiders’ owner Mark Davis has had interest in Harbaugh in the past and he admires Harbaugh, a former Raiders’ assistant. So, a Harbaugh pursuit could make sense. Let’s look at the pros and cons of the Raiders going after Harbaugh.


He’s a winner:

Harbaugh, who turns 60 next month, has won pretty much everywhere he’s ever coached. He has brought Michigan back to prominence (college cheating will likely not bother NFL teams). He turned the San Francisco 49ers into a winner more than a decade ago. He knows what he’s doing.

High-profile coach:

Hiring Harbaugh would get people’s attention around the NFL. Davis badly wants his franchise to be relevant. Hiring Harbaugh would qualify. It could help in free agency as players may be impressed by Harbaugh’s resume.

He’s knows quarterbacks:

One of the keys for future success in Las Vegas is the quarterback position. The Raiders will need to identity a quarterback. Perhaps it will be rookie Aidan O’Connell who Harbaugh is already familiar with form his Purdue days in the Big Ten Conference. Yet, Harbaugh could try to make a big swing for a rookie quarterback in the draft next year. Either way, Harbaugh has a strong track record with quarterbacks.

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Oakland Raiders
Jim Harbaugh in 2014
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports


He’s gets a wandering eye:

Harbaugh has flirted with leaving Michigan on multiple occasions over the years. He did the same thing in previous tops. Harbaugh always seems to have his eye on the next gig. That can get tiresome for his employers and team.

He can be difficult to deal with:

He has a reputation for wearing out his assistants and support staff and even players. This has happened at multiple stops for him. He’s very demanding and he can bring some people down. That could be a little touchy for the Raiders after the Josh McDaniels’ disaster. And, of course, he is serving a suspension for a sign-stealing scandal. That may turn off some.

10 years is a long time in the NFL:

Harbaugh last coached in the NFL in 2014 season with the 49ers. If he returns in 2024, it will be after spending the past 10 seasons in the college ranks. The NFL is always changing. It could take Harbaugh a while to adjust to the game. We saw that happen with Jon Gruden when he returned to the Raiders in 2018 after being out of the league for nine seasons.


Honestly, I can get fans wanting the Raiders to go after Harbaugh (the dude wins), but I could also get if fans think it wouldn’t be worth the while.