01/27/16 by Matthew S. Vandriak
A year ago, the San Francisco 49ers and Jim Harbaugh parted ways. It was written here that the 49ers organization was making a big mistake letting Harbaugh go. A year later, it sure looks like Jim Harbaugh was right and the 49ers were dead wrong.
Harbaugh led the 49ers to 3 NFC Championships and 1 Super Bowl appearance in his tenure as head coach. In the 8 seasons prior to his arrival, San Francisco was a down franchise that had zero playoff appearances from 2003 through 2010. Harbaugh turned the 49ers into a contender and perennial playoff team during his time as coach. But 2 years after leading the franchise to their first Super Bowl appearance since 1995, Harbaugh was pushed out as coach.
Life after Harbaugh wasn't so sweet for the 49ers this past season. The team went 5 and 11. Frank Gore and Michael Crabtree left via free agency before the season started. Vernon Davis was traded during the season. Colin Kaepernick completely fell apart. The former Pro Bowl quarterback was a shell of himself without his former coach. The same quarterback who led the 49ers to the Super Bowl was benched by mid season and on IR to finish it. Many felt that Kaepernick's demise was because Harbaugh allowed him to play his game which led to Kaepernick's on field success.
Oh, and the man the 49ers replaced Harbaugh with, Jim Tomsula, was fired after just one season. He's been replaced by Chip Kelly, who despite having a winning overall record, was fired in Philadelphia. Kelly, who's personnel decisions and inability to manage players infuriated management, is now taking over as coach where management couldn't co-exist with a proven winner like Harbaugh.
Harbaugh led the University of Michigan in his first season to a 10 and 3 record. The Wolverines finished ranked #11 in the country and crushed Florida in the Citrus Bowl. Word out of Ann Arbor is that Michigan should be better next season than they were this year and that the future is even brighter. Harbaugh was a stud college coach at Stanford and one of the rare college coaches who found instant success in the NFL.
The book isn't completely written yet, but the first chapter belongs to Harbaugh. And it's looking more and more like in the long run, the 49ers are going to be wrong. And Jim Harbaugh is going to be right.
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