Schefter on Harbaugh's decision

Submitted by kevnblue on December 19th, 2014 at 3:17 PM


A far cry from the "no chance" talk we've been hearing from NFL folks.

A summary of things I thought were most interesting:

  • "49ers HC Jim Harbaugh’s family and friends have been encouraging him to take the Michigan HC job, but he is torn because his heart is in the NFL, per sources close to the situation."

  • He'll wait to make a decision until after the 49ers last game, and the 49ers "getaway day" on Monday, December 29.

  • Mrs. Harbaugh is open to going to Ann Arbor if it's what Jim wants.

  • Jim is not concerned by the notion of college recruiting because he did well with it at Stanford.

I'm still feeling 50-50 on this.



December 19th, 2014 at 3:58 PM ^

touches all the Harbaugh bases and genuinely details the dilemma he faces. This is really an internal conundrum for our hero. His family will give him the greenlight to come back home and yet he is torn by his professional goals to be the best pro coach and win a Super Bowl championship before that flame of passion diminishes with time and distance away from that sideline.

I knew this would be a tug of war internal struggle for him. Michigan has made it easy for him, and he is soley accountable for the choice he makes. There is nothing else Michigan or we can do but hope he sees the Maize and Blue blinking light that openly beckons, and he heads a parade back to Ann Arbor to rebuild Bo's beloved football program.

The NFL will always be there. Right now he could get a big time offer from the Raiders, which would have the advantage of keeping him in the Bay Area and not really having to move his extended family. Or he could get a job with the New York Jets who are certain to fire Rex Ryan after their dismal season. He was the second leading choice for the Jets when they hried Ryan.

He might even get a sniff from his first pro team, the Bears, who could fire their head coach after a really rough season. The fact is, Harbaugh shouldn't even be available to anyone. The dumb bunnies who think that great NFL teams are created by smart mangement and perform at will for a competent gameplanning coach, have left our eccentric hero to think his weired ways no longer win. But his team could wind up with a better record than the division winner of the NFC South, and he would out, while one of those less than ready for NFL parity franchises hosts a playoff game against the defending Super Bowl champs. Go figure?

No, Jim just needs to recognize the Michigan universe is calling, and turning this invitation down for the sake of rebuilding some NFL franchise that hasn't figured it out for years, is not his problem. His problem is heeding the message he is getting from Michigan nation.


Mr. Yost

December 19th, 2014 at 5:19 PM ^

The NFL won't always be fact, college will be there more than the NFL will.

That's why the NFL pundits thought for so long that he'd stay...because it's a lot harder to get an NFL job than a college one.

Now if MICHIGAN is the only place in college he'd work, then maybe you're correct. But he could easily go coach 1-2 more NFL teams and land a Pac 12 or B1G job if the NFL didn't work out or he finally had enough.

He can't bank on MICHIGAN being available in the future though.

I do think it's NFL or Michigan and if he comes to Michigan...WHEN he comes to Michigan and I think you'll hear him say that. He'll say "this is the only job I was leaving the NFL to take."

But there is no guarantee he'd ever get back to the NFL. 

However, that can't be in his head. He's a confident, even arrogant guy. If I'm him, I say...I'm going to Michigan, I'm going to win a national championship and bring that program to where it needs to be...and 5-6 years from now when faced with the opportunity to leave, I'll cross that bridge when I get there.

Failing at Michigan and never getting back to the NFL doesn't even cross my mind if I'm Harbaugh. And note that if he failed at Michigan, he WOULD get another college shot. Easy. But the NFL would be done.

Meanwhile, if he failed in the NFL, he could still probably coach at Michigan if the job was open.

But again, Harbaugh doesn't seem like the kind of guy who plans for the worst. He knows he's going to succeed. So come to Michigan, succeed and you have the option of staying and building you legacy like Saban or leaving and going back to the NFL like Carroll. Either way, you're golden and YOU get to decide.

Come home Jim, win, dominate, become elite...and this same decision will be on the table 5 years from now.

Yost Ghost

December 19th, 2014 at 6:38 PM ^

I disagree, the NFL is very volatile. Every year there's a coaching carousel. I'd say the NFL is more volatile than the NCAA. Sometimes coaches don't even get 2 years before they get canned. College coaches ususually get 3-4 years minimum before being shown the door. Now there are more college football programs than NFL teams but if you're talking Power 5 schools then there's not a huge disparity.

I believe Schlissel and Hackett are going about this search the right way this time which makes me think that whoever they select is going to be in the position for many years. Jim may not get this shot again for a long time. In the NFL every year there is an opportunity, Greg Schiano got a job for crying out loud. It's churn and burn. Jim's already shown he can coach in the NFL. Even if things go badly for him in Ann Arbor some NFL team would give him a shot. He has an NFC Championship ring. He'll get another shot guaranteed.


December 20th, 2014 at 8:01 AM ^

Michigan will always be there too. Harbaugh's in a position to decide on a multiple amount of NFL offers, one basically in his own back yard, Oakland. The Oakland job is sitting in his lap for him. He's probably also thinking about all his current assistant coaches and their families who won't have to be uprooted from the Bay Area . It's a major move to go all the way to AA. Michigan will always be there because if they go with Miles, the HC opening will be available again in 3 to 8 years when he retires.

Hemingway Jr

December 19th, 2014 at 5:43 PM ^

Agreed. If we can all step back from being the huge Michigan fans that we are we would realize that it wouldn't look good for his "flake" image, nor his future NFL prospects if he would have signed with M the day after his team got knocked out of the playoffs.

Whether he is truly considering other NFL offers or not he kind of has to act like he is sticking around until he's not anymore.


December 19th, 2014 at 3:19 PM ^

Not a complete 180, but definitely not as closed minded as he may have been to the idea 24 hours ago. I especially like the "happy wife" as family has to play a part in the decision.

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December 19th, 2014 at 5:54 PM ^

Am I the only one who has a problem with this?

IF this is truly how he feels (yes, I realize we need to consider the sources)...

IF his heart is truly in the NFL...

IF he's truly interested in seeing what NFL opportunities come available before giving U-M an answer...

Why do so many people consider him to be the savior?

I can see this having a very bad outcome, with a "savior" coach who later on down line faces adversity and says, well, I never really wanted this job, anyway.

Neg me if you want, but I'm wary.


December 20th, 2014 at 4:10 AM ^

He wouldn't walk because he faced adversity, he'd walk because there wasn't enough adversity.

The appeal of the NFL to a guy like Harbaugh is that it's hard. True or not, that's the perception, and nothing in Harbaugh's coaching life so far contradicts it. It took two years to get to 11-1 at USD, it took four years to get to 12-1 at Stanford. 15-1 in the NFL is rare and Harbaugh hasn't been there.

If winning at Michigan turns out to be hard, too, he'll stay until it gets done. But if it ever gets done, if he ever starts ripping off 11-1 and 12-0 seasons and it stops feeling like it's a challenge, he might start looking for a bigger tree to climb.


December 20th, 2014 at 9:19 AM ^

I'm not necessarily talking about adversity with winning. I don't believe he's a quitter. I'm more talking about relationships and all the things that go along with college football (that he may or may not care for). There's an indication he may rub people the wrong way.

I just dread hearing him say this wasn't his first choice, anyway.


December 20th, 2014 at 11:12 AM ^

He wouldn't put up with Brandon-level meddling--I think that's pretty clear.

But I honestly think the drawback of going back to college, for him, is that it's been too easy to win there, and I get the very strong impression that for Harbaugh easy isn't satisfying. Michigan's probably not a destination job for him like it was for Hoke (or anyone we've had so far in the Bo tree), and I can live with that. If he heads back to the NFL after his first NC and lets somebody else fly the plane from there, I'll be OK with it.


December 19th, 2014 at 3:22 PM ^

49ers HC Jim Harbaugh’s family and friends have been encouraging him to take the Michigan HC job, but he is torn because his heart is in the NFL, per sources close to the situation.
Harbaugh first would like to see what head coaching opportunities come available – and he is likely to be a top choice for a handful of teams – before getting back to Michigan with an answer, per sources.
Harbaugh also is aware of the fact that Michigan might not be able to wait for him, especially when it might not even land the coach who is believed to be the school’s top choice. Plus, college football recruiting is in full swing, and the longer a school waits, the more of a disadvantage it can be. It leaves both sides, Michigan and Harbaugh, in a tough and delicate spot, even though they have mutual interest in each other, per sources.
Harbaugh would like to finish coaching this season, go through the players’ getaway day on Monday, Dec. 29, and then make his decision as quickly as possible. As another source said, Harbaugh’s agent, Dave Dunn, already “has a good sense of realistic NFL options already.”
But as one Michigan source wondered Friday, “If he wants to stay in the NFL, who will pay him $8 million per year?”, an indication that Michigan is prepared to go hard after Harbaugh.
There is an undisputed emotional connection for Harbaugh, who played at Michigan, is an iconic figure there, and has been hearing from family and friends about returning as the prodigal son. Harbaugh’s father, Jack, is influential with his son and he has made it known that he likes and admires Michigan’s interim athletic director, Jim Hackett, whom he got to know in the mid 1970s, when he was coaching the defensive backs at Michigan while Hackett was playing center at the school.
Harbaugh’s wife also is said to be open and on board to him going back to Ann Arbor if that’s what he wants, per sources.
While some have pointed out that recruiting would be a challenge, it is one that does not concern Harbaugh, per sources. Harbaugh believes he has successfully recruited before and he would do so again if he returned to college.
But his family and friends have voiced their opinions to Harbaugh, and made it known that it would be an ideal match. Now, likely by the end of the month, Harbaugh must make the decision that will shape his professional and personal life for years to come.


December 19th, 2014 at 3:34 PM ^

I'm sure he'd have no problem recruiting. Play for Urban Meyer who has 0 SB appearances or Harbaugh who has 3 NFC championship appearances and a SB appearance. I think I know where I'd want to play, or am I that far off base here? totally possible.

Moonlight Graham

December 19th, 2014 at 3:46 PM ^

in person and let his assistants handle home visits in other parts of the country. That would get him back seeing his family and friends there, and could even maintain his home in the bay area. Seriously, how much does Saban or Meyer travel across the countryside visiting recruits? Don't they just hold court on campus and recruits come to them? I'd suspect in-home visits are reserved for the five-and-a-half-star types for all three of these guys. 

True Blue Grit

December 19th, 2014 at 3:55 PM ^

He could hire some assistants who know Michigan, Ohio, and the rest of the Midwest.  Also, his assistants and coordinators could do the leg work in recruiting with Jim being the ultimate closer.  What player or parent wouldn't be swayed by his intensity, love of Michigan, and desire to win?  Also, he would have as much or more credibility than any coach out there in knowing how to get guys ready for the NFL.  Heck, he's been an NFL player himself, coached kids at Stanford who got to the NFL, and has coached successfully in the league for 4 years. 


December 19th, 2014 at 3:20 PM ^

This is good. NFL guys starting to spin the narrative. So they are not dead wrong. He buries the part about Harbaughs wife being okay with him taking the michigan job in the post. That was a main point against him coming. 


December 19th, 2014 at 3:22 PM ^

Scherzer is my favorite NFL source. And he's a Michigan man. But Harbaugh is torn between the NFL and Michigan. Just what we've expected. Cool to see so many people "reportedly" saying he should come back home though. Come on, Jim!

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December 19th, 2014 at 3:24 PM ^

So I didn't feel it was worth me starting a post but wnem news out of Saginaw is confirming the verbal commit posted by chatsports. Why does this matter? Because the people at wnem I know confirming the verbal commit have real knowledge on the situation. I know this sounds like more hearsay but based on the journalistic integrity of the people I'm hearing this from I believe that the verbal commit of Harbaugh is real


December 19th, 2014 at 3:37 PM ^

Yea, no idea how legit this is, but Marcellus Wiley was just on sports nation claiming he received two seperatte texts from completely different sources saying it was a done deal. Like I said, no idea how legit.

Rule #1: If news is positive, it is real.


December 19th, 2014 at 3:25 PM ^

1. "Who is going to pay him 8 million in NFL?"

ummm..Sean Payton in the tiny NOLA market is getting 8 million to run a crappy team. Any serious owner could easily pay that.


2. "Family & Friends are pushing him but he wants NFL"

Jimmy is legendary for telling people to eff themselves and doing what he likes. If this was the case, Michigan would have already moved on by now. 


3. Contradicted himself in the space of 5 lines:  He would like to wait to find out NFL offers ....his agent already knows realistic NFL options.