San Francisco 49ers CEO Jed York anxiously awaits his team’s rematch with the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LVIII, while one of his former coaches, Jim Harbaugh, is embarking on his second NFL head-coaching stint.
This time around, it comes with the Los Angeles Chargers and after winning the National Championship at his alma mater, Michigan.
Despite their partnership not producing a Super Bowl — and ending rather abruptly — York has nothing but positive remarks to make about Harbaugh.
“I congratulated them when they [Michigan] won the championship game. We’ve texted back and forth. I think Jim is a helluva coach. I think it’s a great spot for him,” York said on the latest edition of “The TK Show” about Harbaugh. “I’m excited for the Chargers. I think they will be very, very successful.”
Michigan put together an undefeated championship season and made the College Football Playoff in each of the last three seasons. The Wolverines went a combined 89-25 under Harbaugh from 2015-23. Harbaugh was also the head coach of Stanford from 2007-10, highlighted by a 12-1 campaign in 2010, before becoming San Francisco’s head coach in 2011.
Harbaugh was in command of the 49ers from 2011-14, going a combined 44-19-1 in the regular season and 5-3 in the postseason. In his second season, 2012, San Francisco reached Super Bowl XLVII but lost to the Baltimore Ravens. The 49ers won 11-plus games in each of Harbaugh’s first three seasons before an 8-8 campaign in 2014, which later led to the two sides parting ways.
York, who is 44 and the oldest son of team co-chairman John York, is in his 19th season with the 49ers and 14th as CEO. San Francisco has reached the Super Bowl twice in that span (2012 with Harbaugh and 2019 with Kyle Shanahan), coming up short both times.
“I think it is a team that had talent, that didn’t achieve what they hoped to,” York said about the Harbaugh era. “I don’t want to speak too much about somebody else’s team, but it’s certainly a talented team. I think he has the chance to do really, really well with the Chargers.”
What are realistic expectations for Harbaugh in L.A.?
Harbaugh has developed a reputation for building programs from the ground up.
Stanford was coming off a 1-11 season in 2006 before Harbaugh took over. The 49ers hadn’t posted a winning record since 2002 before Harbaugh’s first season, and they proceeded to reach the NFC Championship Game in Year 1 (2011). Michigan went 5-7 in 2014 before Harbaugh’s arrival and then went 10-3 in his first season (2015).
The Chargers went 5-12 this season and have missed the playoffs in four of the last five seasons.
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