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Harbaugh to San Francisco

It’s official. Harbaugh is now headed to San Francisco. I’m not really sure what to think about this one. If you go to my coaching openings page you’ll see the following jobs that were available:

San Francisco

Dallas & Minnesota were already settled, which leaves Oakland, Denver, Cleveland & Carolina. Let’s assume that Andrew Luck was going to stay at Stanford & Harbaugh wasn’t going to get a chance to draft him in Carolina. That might eliminate the Panthers from the equation. The Raiders weren’t going to let Hue Jackson out of their sights. He’s going to be the next HC. Mike Holmgren is going to get one of his guys to coach the Browns. That leaves the Broncos & 49ers as possibilities for Harbaugh. Denver is a mess so forget that one.

That only realistically left the 49ers as potential suitors for Harbaugh. If Harbaugh wanted to jump to the NFL and wanted to do so for the 2011 season, it was either San Francisco or go back to Stanford and wait around to see what happened after the 2011 season. Speaking of which, what potential openings could there have been? Let’s take a look:

Miami: The Dolphins are keeping Tony Sporano and possibly extending him, but another losing season with empty seats could force a big change in Miami. Bill Cowher was though to be heavily involved in that rumor, but now it seems like the former Steelers HC will be back on CBS.

Cincinnati: Marvin Lewis is sticking around and maybe for good. The Bengals are notoriously misers & there is no way they are going to spend huge money to go out and get a big time coach. If the Bengals get rid of T.O. & #85, and Lewis still pulls a 4-12 in 2011, how much longer can he stay around?

San Diego: Maybe the time would be up for Norv Turner if the Chargers don’t start winning games in September & October? Harbaugh actually played QB for the Bolts at the end of his career so he’d be familiar with the organization. The Chargers have to know they are wasting the best years of Philip Rivers’s career with each passing year they don’t play in a Super Bowl.

New York: I can’t imagine how Tom Coughlin is on the hot seat, but he was this past season and he could be again next year. Either way, the Giants have an incredible roster of talent that won the Super Bowl not too long ago. Harbaugh would inherit a great situation and a great organization with the Maras.

Washington: A pretty dysfunctional situation with Dan Snyder as the owner, but Mike Shanahan was already on the hot seat this season after just one year. If there is an owner willing to throw gobs of money at somebody though, Snyder is your man. It doesn’t seem like an attractive situation for Harbaugh, but who knows?

Those are the jobs I would think could be open after the 2011 season. Unless Harbaugh knew that he was the #1 guy and the Giants really did want to get rid of Coughlin, I think none of the available job openings in 2011 can beat the 49ers right now. Harbaugh certainly doesn’t have a QB to work with so he’ll have to get one, but San Francisco is an incredibly young and talented team playing in a division the 49ers can win as early as Harbaugh’s first season. Heck, even Pete Carroll won the NFC West with a 7-9 season in his first year as Seahawks HC! Harbaugh could easily beat that especially given the weak schedule he’s likely to face in 2011.

It’s a great move really for both Harbaugh & the 49ers. For Harbaugh, there really aren’t many historical franchises as great as San Francisco. In the NFC you talk about Dallas, Washington, New York, Minnesota & Chicago, but really the two most significant franchises historically out of the NFC has been the 49ers & Cowboys. In the AFC you have a few more teams, but if you were looking at a Mt. Rushmore of NFL franchises, the 49ers have a real shot to be one of the 4 greatest franchises of all time along with the Cowboys, Steelers & probably the Patriots.

For the 49ers, I think you are rolling the dice with a former college coach, but I think this is definitely a hire that could be a GRAND SLAM! Look at what John Harbaugh has done in Baltimore & I think Jim could do even bigger & better things for the 49ers. When you look at upside, I don’t think you get much hire than Jim Harbaugh. If it came down to Tony Dungy, Bill Cowher, Jon Gruden & Jim Harbaugh, I’d take Harbaugh every single day and see what happens.

I hate losing Harbaugh from the college ranks, but a great job for him & great possibilities for the 49ers!


January 7, 2011 - Posted by | Coaching, Jim Harbaugh, San Francisco 49ers, Stanford

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