Thursday, January 6, 2011

Jim Harbaugh Speculations Emerge Into Next NFL Commodity

Sometimes in this business the best job opportunities come along. Sometimes an enterprise, such as the NFL or an enormous corporation, is interested in the hottest name mentioned, eager to incorporate the noteworthy employee. And sometimes an employer is the talk near the water cooler at workplaces.

They are talking about Jim Harbaugh, a thriving head coach who is charmingly the ambassador for Stanford with his fiery and aggressive practices, admirable tactics that has defined the representation of a traditional program, particularly when the Cardinal thrashed Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl. That alone, in which the speculations increasingly stems as franchises flirt with the possibility of hiring Harbaugh to renew a brand of sensation in the future, makes it vividly clear that he's the hottest commodity throughout the NFL.

His name has become as much a part of football's realm as the concerns of a potential lockout.

When Harbaugh, a favorable target for NFL executives as well as general managers, ended his season the other night with a remarkable win that heightened his job prospects for vacancies in the National Football League, he dilated his fame and his availability widened the smiles of many fans, general managers and owners. Is he ready to take on a new task and accept a job in the NFL?


Years from now, Harbaugh may be the subject of a book about prospering in a cruel business such as the NFL, a league in which owners refuse to hesitate releasing a floundering head coach if a woeful season dooms the franchise.

Now that he's willing to attempt a tougher affair, ready to coach on Sundays and rebuild a mundane franchise into a competitive one, he verifies bravery and guts by stepping into an unfamiliar landscape. The sharp-minded coach, another name well-deserving of job opportunities, is a strong candidate as the Harbaugh sweepstakes is generating conversation after conversation, and for the most part, he's ready to make the transition to the pros.

His brother, John, is the head coach for the Baltimore Ravens, and has had success grooming Joe Flacco and emphasizing the importance of defensive tactics. It was bound to happen, eventually, and now is the moment Harbaugh meets and negotiates with teams. Of course, it would be nice if Denver Broncos' newly minted CEO John Elway interviews Harbaugh to be his guy in the Mile High City, when he was impressed with his role as the coach and watched his alma-mater Stanford in the Orange Bowl.

It was a recruiting trip for Elway, with a mini-reunion, flashing back to his playing days at Stanford. The admirable elegance of Elway, a classy individual with the intent to rebuild the Broncos, is a way to release stress off owner Pat Bowlen. And because of his presence, the Broncos will probably be willing to meet with Harbaugh.

But then there are the Miami Dolphins, the frontrunners in conversations to hire the attractive name. If he turned around Stanford, a slumping program and converted it into one of the most prestigious hallmarks in college football, indeed he can orchestrate excellence by his tough-minded and talented ways. He could bring his talent to South Beach, as LeBron James brought his talent to Miami and respectively seize authority with the Dolphins.

Though coaching college football is less tedious and demanding, he fittingly is a suitor for the pros. The expectations are higher, no doubt, but he can manage and may even have an immediate impact on whatever job he decides to venture in. On Wednesday, the San Francisco 49ers met with Harbaugh for five hours, but in the end, he walked away without a contract sheet.

The priority in the Bay Area, is that owner Jed York was in the middle of hiring his new general manager Trent Baalke, to roughly ensure that Harbaugh is still in consideration for the vacant coaching spot. In short, pitifully, Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon's strategy backfired when he delayed firing Rich Rodriguez. In all likelihood, Harbaugh won't express interest in the Michigan job, simply because he would rather coach in the pros, even though he has glorified history with the university.

However, on Tuesday, hints were given as to what Harbaugh's next possible job could be, as Dolphins owner Steve Ross—a Michigan man who realizes that he is stealing Michigan's dream coach following the firing of Rodriguez—traveled to the West Coast and roughly convinced Harbaugh to become his next head coach, bribing the famous coach with money. The owner is obsessed with the adorable coach, even though Tony Sparano is still the head coach and hasn't been terminated.

No matter what, Ross is engrossed with Harbaugh and willing to make him the highest-paid coach in the NFL, a paycheck worth $7 million to $8 million a year. And maybe Carolina, a fallen team in pursuit for Andrew Luck come the 2011 NFL Draft, is likely to involve themselves in the sweepstakes, knowing the ties Harbaugh had with Luck at Stanford when he was a great mentor to the exalted quarterback.

Prior to the Orange Bowl earlier in the week, he emerged from the team bus, was chased down by sideline reporter Michele Tafoya and was asked the query everyone is curious to know. Everyone is curious to know the status of his feasible departure, anxious to know where he plans on coaching next season, whether it's on the collegiate or pro level.

It's not hard to assume that he is chasing a Lombardi trophy, not a crystal ball. Those days are done for a man who desires leading a money-making franchise, and adores the professional life more than the campus life.

He is certainly NFL material, I dare say.