Jim Harbaugh Lands In Top-10 in New NFL Coaches Ranking

Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Jim Harbaugh hasn’t coached an NFL game in almost a decade. But his reputation as a football team turnaround artist proceeds him. Matt Johnson of Sportsnaut gives the Los Angeles Chargers new coach a high slot in his latest 10 best NFL coaches in 2024.

Jim Harbaugh Ranked 8th Best Among NFL Coaches

Here are their rankings and reasoning for putting Harbaugh 8th:

  1. Andy Reid
  2. Kyle Shannahan
  3. Sean McVay
  4. John Harbaugh
  5. Mike Tomlin
  6. Matt LaFleur
  7. Dan Campbell
  8. Jim Harbaugh
  9. Mike McDaniel
  10. Kevin Stefanski
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Jim Harbaugh wins everywhere he goes. Fresh off a national championship and undefeated season with the Michigan Wolverines, leaving behind a .720 winning percentage. Harbaugh is back in the NFL. While the pro game hasn’t seen him since 2014 and a lot can change in a decade, let’s not forget that Harbaugh currently has the fifth-highest winning percentage (.695) in NFL history.

Harbaugh connects with players, knows how to lead a locker room through ups and downs and he certainly knows how to pick up-and-coming coaches (Mike Macdonald, Jesse Minter, Vic Fangio and David Shaw). The Chargers might not have the roster to contend immediately, but Harbaugh is already building the culture to get them there. It won’t be long before Los Angeles is a Super Bowl threat.

Too High? Too Low? Just Right?

NFL: Super Bowl XLVII-Baltimore Ravens vs San Francisco 49ers
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In his Chargers introductory press conference, Harbaugh set his bar very high. He expects “multiple championships,” a bar he has not been able to meet in his past coaching positions. Will the Chargers improve significantly from last season? Definitely, but as Mr. Johnson points out the Chargers roster lacks starters and depth pieces right now to make a serious play for a championship this season.

But will that be true for the duration of his Chargers tenure? While Harbaugh has earned his reputation, he has never proven that he can seal the deal and win the big games consistently. He lost two NFC Championship games and a Super Bowl as head coach of the 49ers and only won two of eight bowl games the Michigan Wolverines played in. He also started his Michigan career losing five straight to Ohio State.

Harbaugh’s time with the Chargers is completely hypothetical from a win-loss perspective at the moment. He’s proven he can win, but he hasn’t proven that with this team yet. So determining if this is too rich or too poor of a ranking is left to intangible qualities such as leadership and culture building.

NFL: Los Angeles Chargers-OTA Jim Harbaugh
Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports