Skip to main content

Chargers Official Site | Los Angeles Chargers -

5 Takeaways: How Jim Harbaugh Will Bring a New Attitude & Era to the Chargers


Jim Harbaugh was officially introduced as the Chargers Head Coach on Thursday.

Here are five takeaways from Harbaugh's introductory press conference:

1. A new era for the Chargers

Jim Harbaugh strolled to the podium Thursday afternoon dressed in a sharp navy suit and yellow tie, a wide smile spread across his face.

Yes, it's a new era for the Los Angeles Chargers.

Harbaugh was introduced as the new Chargers Head Coach at YouTube Theater, a short walk from SoFi Stadium.

And he made it clear that it's a new day in Los Angeles for the Bolts.

"I'm not going to be shy about stating it: we want to be known as world champions," Harbaugh said during his nearly 60-minute press conference.

Harbaugh has turned around every program and team he's been a head coach at in his career, initially finding success at the University of San Diego or at Stanford.

He then jumped to the NFL in 2011 and took a 6-win 49ers team to 13 wins and the NFC title game in his first season. San Francisco made three straight NFC Championships as Harbaugh won 44 games in four seasons there.

Then came his stellar run at Michigan, his alma mater, that recently culminated in a national title.

Harbaugh said Thursday that he plans on constructing a similar turnaround with the Chargers, but added it will be fueled by grit and work ethic.

"The team, the team, the team. It's going to be a team effort," Harbaugh said. "There won't be any magic formulas.

"The only ones I know are good old fashioned hard work and teamwork," Harbaugh added.

Harbaugh has used a phrase a few times in the past week since being hired, noting that the Bolts will have "an enthusiasm unknown to mankind." It's a phrase he gleaned from his father, Jack, a longtime college football coach.

Harbaugh expanded on his personal mindset Thursday when he described what lies ahead for the Chargers and their new head coach.

"Just waking up and seeing how productive we can be, how we can dominate the day," Harbaugh said. "You talk about expectations and what are those expectations, the expectations are to have a great day today, to make it a great day.

"Some people say, 'Have a nice day'. That doesn't quite resonate with me. That leaves something to chance," Harbaugh added. "Let's make it a great day. Let's have a great day if we want to. So that's what we're doing and happy to be here today. Again, just thankful for this opportunity and ready to attack it."

The work begins now for Harbaugh. He's more than ready for it.

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

2. Work together, win together

It's been nearly a decade since Harbaugh coached in the NFL.

And while the league has certainly evolved since then, Harbaugh said Thursday he plans on bringing his old-school principles to the Bolts.

"We're going to aspire to be a team that Vince Lombardi could be proud of: blocking, tackling, toughness," Harbaugh said. "Playing fast, playing physical, that's going to be very important.

"I know a lot has changed since I was in the NFL. The last year was 2014," Harbaugh added. "But the thing I'm pretty sure hasn't changed is that you have to win. That's what we're attacking."

Harbaugh outlined his vision for his players and credited his daughter, Katie, for coining a phrase that exemplifies what he wants from his team.

Work together, win together.

"The operating word there is together. Everything we're going to do is be done as a team," Harbaugh said. "Collaborative, anything and everything that I can do as a coach for our players.

"It's about them, those helpful warriors, those mighty men, so that they can be successful. I feel like that's what my job is, put them in a position to be successful," Harbaugh added. "The other operating there is work. Nothing is ever achieved without work."

The central focus of Harbaugh's program? The weight room.

"We want to get to that center of player development — that weight room — and let's have at it," Harbaugh said. "You're hungry? You want to eat? This is an all you can eat buffet right here.

"Let's get that work in. And that's what the players have been saying back to me, 'Let's get it coach'. So yeah, let's go," Harbaugh added.

3. Hello, Justin Herbert

Harbaugh said he's met or texted with nearly everyone on the Chargers roster in recent days.

That includes quarterback Justin Herbert, the unquestioned face of the franchise that Harbaugh called a "crown jewel" on Thursday.

Harbaugh said over the weekend that he was "starstruck" when he met Herbert. And he gave an animated reenactment of that meeting at the podium.

"Talk about someone getting me fired up. Let's go," Harbaugh said. "Justin Herbert walks up on you like…"

Harbaugh, who is 6-foot-3, recalled looking up at the 6-foot-6 Herbert in astonishment.

"It's like, 'Okay, alright, this is awesome,'" Harbaugh added.

The comical moment aside, Harbaugh later turned serious when outlining the vision he has for Herbert and the offense.

"First of all, the quarterback we have, protect him and protect his environment," Harbaugh said. "Also, beef up the run game. Play-action pass and the dropback game, we're going to try and get it as great as we can.

"I think we can be extraordinary there with the receivers we have and the quarterback," Harbaugh continued. "But also, the running game, work just as hard at that get to be a balanced football team, always protect the football. That's where it starts.

"I sometimes tell other players, it's not that I love the quarterback more than other players on the team. I love all the players like sons," Harbaugh added. "But the quarterback, he does touch the ball every single play. That person is somebody we've got to protect."

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

4. Kudos to the Spanos family

There were multiple conversations between Harbaugh and the Spanos family in recent weeks as the interview process heated up.

But it wasn't as if the two sides needed to really get to know each other.

Harbaugh, of course, played quarterback for the Chargers in 1999 and 2000 and already had an established relationship with Dean Spanos, the Chargers Owner and Chairman of the Board.

Harbaugh said he "got emotional" when he realized the full-circle journey that was taking place.

"Now I'm going to the Chargers … and the family was just so sincere when I played," Harbaugh said. "This is from Alex Spanos to Dean Spanos, to John Spanos, to A.G., this is a family. Faith, family and football, those are my priorities."

Harbaugh later added: "All those steps in the coaching profession, it's the relationships that I cherish. Trusting, lasting friendships … it drives me."

Dean Spanos opened up the press conference with strong words of support for Harbaugh.

"I want you to know that my family, myself and the entire Chargers organization are 100 percent behind you in this," Spanos said. "And we'll do everything in our power to provide you with whatever support and tools you need to be successful."

Harbaugh noted the commitment and resources that the Spanos family has displayed in recent years, whether it's a brand-new practice facility in El Segundo or having one of the most expensive rosters in the NFL.

He also recalled a recent conversation with Dean Spanos that highlighted the owner's desire for success.

"Dean, I said, 'I'm hungry to win. We're hungry to win,'" Harbaugh said. "I told you that and you said, 'You're starving'. It just resonated with me so much.

"You're about it, you're a grinder. You're one of the first in the building, I've been watching and one of the last to leave," Harbaugh added.

5. The time was now

Harbaugh joins the Chargers after reaching the college football mountaintop with Michigan. The Wolverines just completed a perfect 15-0 season and capped it off with a national championship.

Harbaugh, as he alluded to above, has the same goal in mind for the Chargers.

"The Lombardi Trophy, that's my mission," Harbaugh said.

And that chase for a Super Bowl is why Harbaugh felt now was the time to leave the college ranks and come back to the NFL.

"The opportunity was presented and I felt that the Spanos family, the Chargers organization, they made it clear they liked what I did and how I did it," Harbaugh said. "That's all you can ever want from somebody that's employing you.

"This opportunity, as my dad would say, 'Who's got it better than us?' It was time," Harbaugh added. "I said this the other day, I got so many sands left in the hourglass and I want another shot. I want another shot to be simply known as world champions."

Bolt Up!

Be the first to learn about 2024 Chargers Season Tickets

Related Content

From Our Partners