Jim Harbaugh leaving Michigan for the Rams is reportedly a 'very real' possibility
Is Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh already planning a return to the NFL?
If you were going to make a list of NFL coaches who are sitting on the hot seat this week, it would definitely include Rams coach Jeff Fisher, who watched his team get trampled 42-14 by the Falcons on Sunday.
(UPDATE 2:40 p.m., Dec. 12: The Rams have fired Jeff Fisher)
The Rams were so bad in the loss that after the game running back Todd Gurley said his team is running a "middle school offense." If you've seen the Rams play, then you know Gurley's comment was basically an insult to middle school offenses.
The running back has a point -- the Rams' offense has been such a disaster this year that the Falcons have actually scored more touchdowns in L.A. this season than the Rams have.
The Falcons have played one game in L.A. The Rams have played six.
The team's return to Los Angeles has been so bad through 14 weeks that fans have already stopped showing up to watch the team play. During the team's loss to the Falcons, the Rams played in front of a half-empty stadium, which is a horrible sign for a a team that's in its first-year in a city and still has two home games left.
Embarrassing. They should move this team to a bigger market like Los Angeles. Oh, wait. pic.twitter.com/Oocjnzhs5m— Matt Sebek (@MattSebek) December 11, 2016
If Rams owner Stan Kroenke wants to keep fans interested, he is going to have make a splash move, so what would be a good splash move?
Hiring Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh would probably qualify.
With the college regular season over, coaching rumors are going to fly, and one of those rumors involves Harbaugh. During an interview with Colin Cowherd on Dec. 9, MMQB's Albert Breer had an interesting comment about the Rams coaching situation as it pertains to the current Michigan coach.
"By the way, Albert Breer on the way out said that Jim Harbaugh to the Rams rumor is a very real thing," Cowherd said at the end of Breer's segment.
Does that mean Harbaugh is going sign a deal with the Rams five minutes after Michigan is done playing in the Orange Bowl? No.
However, it wouldn't be a shock if Harbaugh did land in L.A.
For one, Kroenke is one of the NFL's richest owners, so he is going to be able to throw as much money as he needs to at whichever coaching candidate he decides to go after. For an owner who has everything riding on a new stadium set to open in 2019, $10 million a year might not be out of the question.
Second, Harbaugh is notoriously nomadic. In 12 years as a head coach, Harbaugh has never spent more than four seasons with one team, and he just finished up season No. 2 in Ann Arbor.
The Rams could let Fisher coach out his two-year extension, which expires after 2017, and then go for Harbaugh -- or any other coach -- at that point.
Let's not forget that after Harbaugh and the 49ers parted ways in 2014, it was reported that Harbaugh wanted to stay in the NFL, but he went to college because there weren't any great NFL jobs available.
During his only stint in the NFL, Harbaugh turned around a moribund 49ers franchise and led them to the NFC title game in three straight years, along with one Super Bowl. As the coach in San Francisco for four seasons, Harbaugh went 44-19-1 and never had a losing record.
Harbaugh would probably also enjoy the fact that taking the job with the Rams would mean he gets to potentially beat down the 49ers twice a year. Harbaugh is notoriously competitive, so that seems like something that would entice him.
Also, let's not forget that Harbaugh is on the of recommended list of coaching candidates that was put together by NFL's Career Development Advisory Panel this year. The list is created so that NFL teams have an idea of who they should go after if they're looking for a head coach.
As for everyone at Michigan, you might be able to take a deep breath for now. Breer tweeted out a clarification to his comments.
To be clear ... I never said Harbaugh was going anywhere. I believe he'll eventually be back in the NFL. Until then, teams will pursue him. https://t.co/f67iLlwmSo— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) December 11, 2016
However, Breer did go to Ohio State, so maybe he's just trying lull everyone at Michigan into a false sense of security about Harbaugh.
On Fisher's end, if the Rams lose to the Seahawks on Thursday, that will be the 166th loss of Fisher's career, which would set an NFL record. If you're Kroenke, employing the man who holds the NFL record for most losses probably isn't a good way to add fans in a new market.
It doesn't look like Fisher is going to last long in L.A. and you can bet that when Kroenke does bring someone in, it's going to be a big-name coach with a strong track record of winning. Harbaugh definitely checks both those boxes.
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