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'A Huge Hire': Harbaugh Addition Draws High Praise From Radio Row 

JH Radio Row

The hiring of Jim Harbaugh has the NFL world buzzing.

There's been an excitement surrounding the Chargers over the past few weeks, something that was on full display in Las Vegas in the lead up to Super Bowl LVIII.

Chargers.com spent some time at Radio Row before the big game, chatting with analysts and experts alike to get their take on Harbaugh landing with the Bolts.

Their reaction? It's as big of a move as there could have been this offseason.

"The Chargers now are not only the biggest story in the NFL, they're one of the biggest stories in all of sports," NFL Network Insider Tom Pelissero told Chargers.com. "When you bring back Jim Harbaugh, who has had success everywhere he's ever been from the University of San Diego, Stanford, to the 49ers, to Michigan coming off a National Championship and now pairing him up with Justin Herbert, it's huge."

NFL Network's Brian Baldinger added: "I think it's the biggest, most important hire of this entire offseason. I think he can single-handedly, just the way he goes about his business, turn the Chargers around and make them winners and consistent winners because that's what he does."

Get a behind-the-scenes look as Jim Harbaugh is formally introduced as the head coach of the Los Angeles Chargers on February 1st, 2024

Harbaugh's resumè speaks for itself.

Having won at every level as a head coach for nearly two decades, he now brings a standard of building winning programs to the Chargers.

"Huge. I mean, universally approved I think is the impression I got, at least on our airwaves," ESPN's Mina Kimes said. "Proven winner at both levels, very good at turnarounds, not saying necessarily that's what's needed in LA, and certainly not on both sides of the ball.

"What I like about Jim and I think beyond the cliches is that he has evolved," Kimes added. "He's very modern and progressive in his thinking… I'm excited to see it all pan out."

The Athletic's Robert Mays added: "It's incredible when you look at this coaching cycle. I feel like he was the guy that people were really after, what he's done to build programs at the NFL level, at the college level. What he can do to just set the baseline of what the franchise should be. And it's exciting."

Even former players who were on opposing sidelines as Harbaugh during his last stint in the NFL can't wait to see what he brings to the Bolts.

"It's huge. I'm super excited to watch Jim again," former NFL defensive end Chris Long said. "I played in the NFC West when he was in San Francisco. Just an awesome coach.

"I think when you look at Justin Herbert, everybody wants to see him realize that potential, which I think he's already started to do," Long added. "But you need good coaches and you need good systems. I think it's going to be awesome. Fireworks."

Take a look at the top photos of Jim Harbaugh during his playing days as a Charger.

Something Harbaugh has brought to every coaching stop throughout his career have been quick turnarounds.

Whether it was at the University of San Diego, Stanford, the 49ers or Michigan, his teams have won — and won quickly.

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport believes the same applies this time around for Harbaugh.

"I don't see why it couldn't be this year," Rapoport said. "If you look at the Chargers roster, it's not perfect… There's some things that need to happen.

"This is a good football team with a lot of good players. They got a great quarterback, got some really good skill guys," Rapoport added. "To me, this is a team that could turn it around in one year and I wouldn't be surprised if that happened."

Baldinger echoes this sentiment, as his belief is this won't be a long-term turnaround.

"I think it can happen in one year. I don't think that there's a two-year, three-year plan," Baldinger said. "I think he knows that he has a talented quarterback, he's got talented players. I think he'll oversee the whole roster, the type of players that he wants, whether it's free agency, trades, draft picks. I think this thing can turn around real quickly."

Part of the reason why pundits believe they can turn it around quickly comes from who they have under center.

With Herbert as the face of the franchise, the pieces are there for the quick turnaround.

"Well, you have a quarterback in place, so you got a chance to do this thing in a hurry… There's a very high bar that you're trying to reach in the AFC West," ESPN's Field Yates said. "But, you know, a season removed from being in the playoffs, Justin Herbert still the centerpiece of your roster. This could be as soon as this upcoming season they are right back there in the AFC playoff picture."

The Ringer's Steven Ruiz added: "I mean, the pieces are in place. When you have a quarterback like Justin Herbert, I don't think it takes more than a couple of moves, a couple of tweaks here and there to get it back on track. And I think he has the know-how of how to get the most out of a quarterback like that."

Harbaugh has hit the ground running since joining the Bolts, building out his staff over the last couple of weeks and getting ready to attack the next phase of the offseason.

The Chargers have a whole offseason in front of them, but Yates still believes the team could be back in the playoff picture next season.

"I think making the playoffs is in play," Yates said. "Ceiling is tough with so much to see in terms of personnel movement this off season. They're a year removed from playing in the playoffs with a chance to be right back in that mix again this year."

Ruiz, however, believes that Harbaugh being paired with Herbert makes the ceiling that much higher.

"I'm going to get myself in trouble with this one. I think AFC title game, and they can win it if they're there," Ruiz said. "They have, I think, one of the best three quarterbacks in the NFL. As long as you have one of those guys, you always have a chance."

A lot of things are yet to be determined about how the Chargers will look like heading into Week 1 of the 2024 season — but with Harbaugh the ceiling is sky high.

"As high as it gets," Rapoport said. "To win a Super Bowl, you need a great quarterback and a really good supporting cast, you need to be well coached, you need to be tough and physical. I think they could be all those things.

"I think the only problem with the Chargers is the expectations are going to be high. But, like okay, I don't think Jim Harbaugh cares at all," Rapoport added. "Expectations are always high, no matter where he coaches. So, I do think it's a really good fit."

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