Blog Entry

Report: Harbaugh unlikely to take Michigan gig

Posted on: January 4, 2011 9:46 am
Posted by Will Brinson

Sure, it seems like we've been talking a lot about Jim Harbaugh these days, but he's so damn hot right now. And given his refusal to speak about future jobs on Monday night, it sure does seem like he's not hanging around Stanford (at least he's not lying about staying though).

However, the Detroit Free Press now reports that Harbaugh is "highly unlikely" to accept the job at Michigan. That means one of two things: he's either coming back to Stanford or he's heading to one of five NFL teams who desperately covet him.

This would mean, based on what we think we saw last night, that Harbaugh is headed to the NFL. The timing would be perfect, too. A slew of teams --the Broncos (John Elway, Stanford alum, now runs things), the 49ers (Harbaugh and likely GM Baalki share an agent), the Raiders (Harbaugh and Al Davis are boys somehow), and the Panthers (he'd probably get to coach Andrew Luck again) -- all stand out as viable locations for the hottest name in coaching.

That doesn't include the Dolphins -- who sent a team of "ownership scouts" to the Orange Bowl Monday night, the Browns or the Bengals. (Have we covered everyone sufficiently? If not, check out our coaching tracker for all the latest.)

Anyway, look, Andrew Luck should go pro. He can get too much money and the timing's too right. And Harbaugh should follow suit in jumping ship from Stanford, because, really, there's not a whole lot of room to grow outside of a national championship.

If Michigan's out the window, then it's NFL time.

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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: January 12, 2012 1:55 am

Report: Harbaugh unlikely to take Michigan gig

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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: January 6, 2012 2:51 am
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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 9, 2011 9:11 pm
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Posted on: December 9, 2011 8:12 pm
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Since: Jan 5, 2011
Posted on: January 6, 2011 8:31 pm

Report: Harbaugh unlikely to take Michigan gig

Harbaugh will be named coach of Michigan. You heard it here first. AD Branden would not have let Rodriguez go without having Harbaugh as the next coach. Its the only opportunity where he can go, be unsuccessful for a few years and retain his job. Harbaugh knows that. Just CHILL!!!!!!!!!Harbaugh is enjoying the accolades. The Michigan deal is signed and sealed. Harbaugh will be delivered next week!!!!!!!

Since: Sep 11, 2006
Posted on: January 6, 2011 7:31 pm

Report: Harbaugh unlikely to take Michigan gig


Because it's Michigan that's why. It might have something to do with having more wins and a higher winning % than any other school in Division 1. Before Rich Rod came into the picture, Michigan hadn't had a losing season in 40 years.

Since: Feb 3, 2007
Posted on: January 6, 2011 7:19 pm

Report: Harbaugh unlikely to take Michigan gig

Good news for Michigan fans who would love to see Jimmy Harbaugh back in Ann Arbor:  The Detroit Freepress said that Harbaugh is "highly unlikely" to accept the job at Michigan.  That means, in Freepress talk, that the possibility of Coach Harbaugh at the Michigan football helm is very viable and plausible.  (The Freepress has been one of the finest gossip columns in print! It's a fine sports tabloid.)

Since: Jan 6, 2011
Posted on: January 6, 2011 9:43 am

Report: Harbaugh unlikely to take Michigan gig

1. San Francisco 49ers

Why it makes sense: The 49ers are clearly in the pole position in this race for any number of reasons. Let's start by remembering that San Francisco is the only job on this list in which he wouldn't have to move his family, given the proximity of Palo Alto and Santa Clara. Then there's the NFC West factor. What's the softest, most winnable division in the NFL, as the Seattle Seahawks just proved? Yep, the one the 49ers are in.

True, the 49ers have no quarterback of the future (or even the present), and need to find one before the 2011 season begins. But St. Louis is the only team in the division that doesn't have quarterback issues, and Harbaugh, a pretty fair QB himself in his day, has enough confidence that he can find a competent passer somewhere and upgrade the 49ers offense.

Other than at quarterback, San Francisco has a lot of the pieces to the puzzle already in place. There are two young weapons in the passing game to build around in tight end Vernon Davis and receiver Michael Crabtree, two first-round offensive linemen who started as rookies in guard Mike Iupati and tackle Anthony Davis, and the reliable Frank Gore remains the team's premier playmaker and go-to running back. San Francisco also has a ready-made defense that still has the potential to grow, with star middle linebacker Patrick Willis and defensive end Justin Smith being two of its most dependable cogs.

While there has been some speculation that the 49ers' decision Tuesday to elevate VP of player personnel Trent Baalke to their general manager job might hurt their chances of landing Harbaugh, league sources told me that's probably off base. While Harbaugh and Baalke don't know each other well, Harbaugh wouldn't shrink from the chance to work with a first-time GM, with whom he might have success exerting his influence over in terms of personnel decisions. Harbaugh has a lot of confidence that he knows what it takes to win in the NFL based on his own experience in the league, and that of his brother, Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh.

Lastly, the 49ers were considered the consensus favorite to win the division this season once Arizona quarterback Kurt Warner retired, and the hiring of Harbaugh would likely inspire hope and make them a popular pick again in 2011. Though San Francisco's playoff drought has reached eight seasons and spanned three head coaches (Dennis Erickson, Mike Nolan and Mike Singletary), it's not seen as a bad gig or a franchise devoid of talent. It's just in desperate need of direction and leadership.

Why it may not work: While San Francisco owner Jed York is desperate to find the right man to lead his team and help the franchise finally get a new stadium, he's reportedly not in the position to shell out the $6 million or $7 million per year that Harbaugh is rumored to be seeking. In that scenario, it's possible Harbaugh could price himself out of the 49ers price range.

2. Miami Dolphins

Why it makes sense: Dolphins owner Stephen Ross and Harbaugh have the University of Michigan in common, and that's no small detail. Ross is UM's biggest athletic booster, and the school even named its business school after him. I'm going to take a leap of faith and say the two men have probably gotten to know each other a little bit over the years, dating from when Harbaugh was the Wolverines' star quarterback in the '80s.

What did the 2010 Dolphins need that became even more glaring as their second consecutive disappointing 7-9 season wore on? Someone who can come in and fix the team's post-Dan Marino quarterback problems and bring a state-of-the-art NFL passing game to Miami. That could double as Harbaugh's calling card.

Despite their missing the playoffs eight of the past nine seasons, the Dolphins remain one of the league's flagship franchises, located in a glamorous part of the country. Ross has tried to add glamour to the Dolphins with every one of his celebrity minority ownership partners, and he's probably willing to outspend any other team in pursuit of Harbaugh.

Why it may not work: If you were a first-time NFL head coach, would you join the AFC East if you had other options? Two games a year against the Patriots and Jets is no walk down easy street, and I also believe Harbaugh has little interest in coaching in the same conference as his brother's team in Baltimore.

The Dolphins, for the foreseeable future -- which, granted, is about 15 minutes in today's NFL -- look like the third-place team they've been for a while now in their division (their 2008 AFC East title notwithstanding). There's talent, but not in spades. And who knows how Harbaugh really feels about Chad Henne, the former Michigan quarterback he'd inherit? By even the most generous interpretations, Henne regressed significantly in his third NFL season.

3. Denver Broncos

Why it makes sense: Much like in Miami, the Broncos' best hope in their quest for Harbaugh lies in a personal relationship. Denver just named Broncos legend John Elway the team's new football czar, and guess where Elway starred in college? If you said Stanford, give yourself a big high-five. Elway will also try to sell Harbaugh on how great it is to work for longtime Broncos owner Pat Bowlen, and what glory can be had when you win in Denver.

I don't like Elway's chances. All of that probably sounded quite a bit better about 10 years ago.

Why it may not work: True, the Broncos are also in the one of the weaker divisions in the NFL and have more potential to win quickly than some other strugglers in the league. They also have a first-round drafted quarterback in Tim Tebow, who flashed some potential in his late-season, three-game starting tenure, in addition to a solid veteran option in Kyle Orton.

But other than that, the Broncos appear to be starting from scratch and may have to get used to last place in the AFC West for a while. Elway's hiring is at best a risky move given his limited executive experience, and Harbaugh probably doesn't know much about how things would work in a front office where Elway, team president Joe Ellis and general manager Brian Xanders are all involved.

With Bowlen owing both Mike Shanahan and Josh McDaniels considerable money out the door, is he really in position to win a bidding war for Harbaugh? On top of that, the idea of going with another relatively youthful first-time NFL head coach probably should make Bowlen a little nervous. Even if Harbaugh has successful head coaching experience in college, and McDaniels didn't.

4. Oakland Raiders

Why it makes sense: Stop me if you're heard this one before, but Harbaugh knows someone in the Raiders organization. Guy named Al Davis. I think he runs the place. Harbaugh was a Raiders offensive assistant in 2002-03 under head coach Bill Callahan, and he and Davis have remained friends. Davis certainly is intrigued by Harbaugh's coaching work at Stanford, in his proverbial bay area backyard. Sources say one reason Davis moved so uncharacteristically quick in letting go of head coach Tom Cable this week was because he thinks he has a legitimate shot of enticing Harbaugh to Oakland.

Why it may not work: It's our considered opinion that Davis is delusional if he thinks he's going to talk Harbaugh into the Raiders job, which isn't exactly the league's plum assignment in terms of working environment and hands-off ownership. The chances are greater that Harbaugh sees the Raiders' interest as a way of leveraging his best possible deal out of the cross-bay 49ers, because we all know how much Davis likes losing any battle to the folks in San Francisco.

And did we mention the Raiders aren't known for paying head coaches even a fraction of the money Harbaugh is said to be seeking?

5. Carolina Panthers

Why it makes sense: We're going to keep this one short and sweet. The Panthers currently own the No. 1 pick in April's NFL Draft. They need a quarterback. Stanford's Andrew Luck plays quarterback. If Harbaugh goes to Carolina, and Luck declares for the draft, Luck could keep playing for Harbaugh, the coach who helped make him No. 1 overall pick material.

Why it may not work: Panthers owner Jerry Richardson went into a serious cost-cutting mode this year and suffered through a 2-14 season in part because he felt like he was paying John Fox and his coaching staff too much money. Richardson is not about to make that mistake again. Fox was not brought back and Carolina is looking to hire a young, hungry NFL coordinator who will work relatively cheap in return for his first head coaching opportunity.

Does that sound like Harbaugh to you? Me neither. So even if the Panthers do draft Stanford's quarterback, they're out of luck in the Harbaugh derby (pun intended).

Since: Oct 22, 2007
Posted on: January 5, 2011 2:49 pm

Report: Harbaugh unlikely to take Michigan gig

Who cares about Michigan.  Had it not been Michigan, no one would be talking about this firing at all.  All I have to hear about on ESPN was that Rodriguez got fired, it already happened yesterday now we all have to suffer re-runs of yesterdays firing coverage.  This sucks.  Harbaugh should be the talk of the town.  Why cover so much mediocrity when you can talk about how good Harbaugh will be for anyone that picks him up.  The 49ers could win super bowls with Harbaugh.  He took an extremely undermanned squad and changed it into a recruiting hot bed and loaded it with talented players.  He has an extremely complicated offense and getting it to work at Stanford, a place where kids have to get great grades to play there is simply incredible.  With the wealth of talent available in the NFL he should wreak havoc on opposing defenses and instill a sense of hard nose attitude into his team.  

Since: May 6, 2007
Posted on: January 4, 2011 8:46 pm

Report: Harbaugh unlikely to take Michigan gig

LONNIE SHELTON IS A TARD!....mike leach?! L M A O must be kidding do you know who the coach was before DI  CK ROD...offensive master lol....get outta here w that shi  t !

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