DETROIT — EDITOR'S NOTE: The video above original aired in November of 2019
The Detroit Lions are one of a few NFL teams already looking for a head coach following the firing of Matt Patricia more than a month ago. According to oddsmakers, two Ohio natives could be among the top candidates to land the position.
FanDuel SportsBook currently gives current Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh 9-2 odds to end up with the position, while former Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer is not far behind at 9-1. The two are third and fifth on the list, respectively, with San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh the favorite for now at 2-1.
Harbaugh and Meyer were born at the same Toledo hospital less than seven months apart, and will forever be linked by their respective careers in Ann Arbor and Columbus. The pair battled four times in what many consider college football's greatest rivalry, but each time, Meyer and the Buckeyes came out on top.
Harbaugh gets a decisive edge with NFL experience, having been a Pro Bowl quarterback in the league before becoming the 49ers head coach in 2011. He made the playoffs three times and won an NFC championship in those four seasons before eventually departing for Michigan, and while he is a solid 49-22 at his alma mater, the team went just 2-4 in a COVID-19-shortened 2020 season and is 0-5 against Ohio State in his career.
The Ashtabula St. John grad Meyer clearly gets the nod with on-field success, with 187 wins and three national championships (one at OSU) in 17 seasons as a head coach. The 56-year-old retired from Columbus in 2018 due to health concerns, but has garnered interest from NFL teams despite no previous experience working in the league.
One of the people who will be in on the Lions' hiring decision will be Massillon native Chris Spielman, an Ohio State legend and three-time All-Pro for Detroit who recently joined the organization as special assistant to the owner and CEO. Spielman has ties to both Harbaugh and Meyer, playing against the former when he was the Wolverines' starting quarterback and playing for the latter when he was a graduate assistant for the Buckeyes in the mid-1980s.