Why I don’t want Jim Harbaugh to go to Texas

Admit it. You'd miss this.

Jim Harbaugh to Texas?

Surely not?

The idea is pretty comical when you think about it.

We’re all college football fans here. Yet even the best facilities, the greatest recruiting advantage and the most passionate fanbase just can’t compare to the NFL.

Why else is Nick Saban’s Alabama contract extension still unsigned? The fact is, being a yearly contender for a National Championship just isn’t enough. You want more. Whether that’s money or whatever.

I bet even Saban is looking at all the vacancies cropping up in he NFL and thinking… ‘what if?’

Jumping ship ala Bobby Petrino is one thing. But Harbaugh isn’t controlling a 4-12 Falcons team. Unlike Petrino, he has his feet firmly under the table in San Fran.

He’s with a contender. He’s still based in California. He’s taken the 49ers to two NFC Championships plus a Super Bowl.

And that elusive title is still to be achieved.

Leaving for Texas would be a bizarre move. And he’d probably spend his entire time with the Longhorns wondering if he made the right decision.

The near certain multiple National Championships he’d compete for (because he is a good coach, let’s be right) won’t compare to one single Super Bowl ring.

So after considering this rumour for a few moments, I’d pretty much written it off.

Until I read this.

Jim Trotter’s piece for MMQB is pure speculation, but it paints the picture of a man who might never truly be satisfied.

Some coaches settle into a job or find the perfect environment. Others spend their entire careers considering what might be a better offer.

More money, more power, more control. If that’s what Harbaugh craves, maybe he would consider an offer from Texas?

I still think there’s next to no chance Harbaugh ends up with the Longhorns. I think we’re more likely to see Saban take that gig — considering he’s taking such a long time to mull over that new contract in Tuscaloosa.

But I’m not using Trotter’s piece to write about something that could happen.

I’m actually using it to explain how much I want to see Harbaugh stay in San Francisco.

That’s right. I hope Jim Harbaugh stays with the 49ers for a long time.

And not because I’m don’t think he’s one of the best coaches in the NFL (he clearly is). And not because I think San Francisco is going to fold under his leadership (they won’t).

I want him to stay for two reasons. The first isn’t all that vital or important. But here we go.

Reason #1

For the first time in my lifetime — the Seahawks, the 49ers and the NFC West are the most interesting thing about the NFL.

Nothing gets close to it. All the great old rivalries of the past (Bears/Packers, Steelers/Ravens) just aren’t that interesting. Not even Manning vs Brady threatened to drag the spotlight away from the main event.

49ers vs Seahawks.

It doesn’t get any better than that.

The games are fierce and competitive. The coaches have history (more on that shortly…). They spend most of the year collecting each others practise squad players.

It’s intense.

A few years ago the NFC West (Worst) was a laughing stock. A shambles.

Now, thanks to the sudden phoenix-like rise in Seattle and San Francisco, it’s pretty much the most interesting thing in Sports.

The Carroll/Harbaugh dynamic is central to that. In part because they both did such a terrific job turning their respective teams into a contender. And also because they clearly despise each other.

They can act all respectful in the press conferences. Pete can put an arm around Jim after losing last week and make it look like he’s not crying inside.

Remember this?

Sure, Pete was pleased to see his team destroy a title contender.

I know, you know… we all know… that strut was about more than that.

Jim is Pete’s arch enemy. Pete is Jim’s arch enemy.

(They’ll argue against that. And maybe that is over-doing it. But who really believes they’ll be sending Xmas cards to each other?)

Together, along with the teams they’ve so carefully crafted (well, Harbaugh mainly inherited his) — they’ve made the NFC West brilliant.

And it just won’t have the same edge without these two fighting it out two or three times a year.

Reason #2

Now here’s the serious reason.

The Seahawks need the 49ers.

The 49ers need the Seahawks too.

Back when the division was a joke and Seattle (followed by Arizona) could pull guys off the street and still walk away with it, I definitely think that lack of competition within the NFC West hurt.

Big time.

When you’re not being pushed every year, you start to take things for granted. And you become complacent.

Seattle got old and never really thought about the future. Everything was win now at all costs. That might just be Tim Ruskell’s way of doing things, but I also sense there was a feeling of ‘screw tomorrow… win today’.

You can’t afford to think like that if there’s another team in the division consistently winning 11-13 games. You have to think about today, tomorrow, next year. You absolutely have to.

I think it’s one of the main reasons Pittsburgh and Baltimore have fielded tough, successful football teams for so long. They’ve won titles and beat the crap out of each other for years.

How much of that was down to the need to be on it every single year, within your own division? I’d argue it played a major part.

And it’s not just the individual matchups. The players sense the rivalry too. Every win, every week matters. It matters more because more than anything you want to be #1 and not #2.

You can’t honestly tell me that same feeling runs through the Indianapolis Colts dressing room, playing in the AFC South?

There’s every chance Seattle and San Francisco will win Championships over the next few years. The battle over the next decade might not be about who wins a week 14 regular season encounter, it might be about who won the most titles.

And that, for me, means keeping both teams right at the top of their game. Everything structurally intact.

Let them slog it out together.

As good as Vic Fangio is (and you’d have to believe he’d have a great shot at replacing Harbaugh) — it just won’t be the same without Jimmy boy.

So here’s to Texas going after Saban and leaving Harbaugh right where he is.

Scrapping and fighting with the Seahawks to be #1. Keeping both teams in the spotlight.


  1. Colin

    Beating Jim Harbaugh in the NFC title game and watching that fanbase begin to question if he’s the guy to lead their team to a championship would be comforting.

  2. FC

    Could somebody explain to me why Saban would leave Alabama for Texas? Is it just money, I can’t find any other reason, Bama is a perennial title contender with tons of NFL talent coming in every year playing in the top conference in the country. Texas is a couple years away from competing for a national championship and is in the slowly fading Big 12.

    • Colin

      Some coaches need a new challenge. Saban would get them turned around, no question. The $$ doesn’t hurt either.

    • CHawk Talker Eric

      For the challenge of it. Also, Texas has the best recruiting base in the nation.

      • Brad

        I would have to give the best recruiting base to Florida.

    • CD

      Some may say this is unfair, but to me Saban has shown that he never settles for long in anyone spot.

      Hang with me here for a second; I grew up in Michigan and when finishing college (around 1996) I was waiting tables and in walked Bo Schembechler. He and his wife and 2 other couples sat at my table. Of course I tried to hear what they were talking about during their meal/drinks. One of the guys said that he really liked what the Saban was doing at Michigan State and at wich point Bo agreed but also added that ‘he cheats’.

      I am guessing Saban might hop around to keep people off his tail.

    • Dan C.

      Have you ever been to Tuscaloosa? How about Austin? That is your first answer.
      Secondly, the Alabama fan base is far more fickle and demanding than a Texas fan base. If you can get paid more money, have more security and live in a way better and less “backward” place, I think you make the jump!

  3. James

    Rob, Harbaugh and Carroll are the perfect foils for one another, and we will benefit from this rivalry the way the annual winner of the Yankees/Red Sox Nemesis Bowl often emerges to win the World Series. Harbaugh would be utterly miserable at Texas, which would be fun to watch, because of gross interference from their boosters. I would rather Harbaugh be utterly miserable from his Seahawks beating each year. By the way, I am an Alabama alum, and you can forget the national media reports of Saban being interested in the Texas job. These guys are not reporting facts or inside info, but are just speculating, mainly based on Saban not signing his new contract yet. But in fact, Saban has been on the road recruiting for the past week, and will be so for another couple of days, and he said he wouldn’t sign until he returns to Tuscaloosa. In addition, he is telling all his friends he has no interest in the Texas job, he is telling his recruits that he is staying at Bama for certain, and his wife, Miss Terry, whom he treats like royalty, has said she loves Tuscaloosa and Nick would be leaving without her. To top it off, his son lives in Tuscaloosa, is married to a Tuscaloosa girl, and is not moving due to his job, and he just gave Nick his first grandchild, and there is no way Nick and Miss Terry would leave that behind. The Texas job offers big money and ease of recruiting, but that program is so far behind Texas A&M, Baylor and even Oklahoma right now, that it will take 5+ years to rebuild. The boosters and fan base make it a cauldron, so expect to be surprised how many elite coaches turn the job down.

    • James

      It is now official that Saban is staying at Alabama. The speculation, without any facts, that now passes for reporting from the national media, never had a clue. Saban never had any interest in Texas.

      • Rob Staton

        I guess we’ll never truly know if he had any interest. If nothing else the cynic could argue giving the impression of interest will always help during contract negotiations…

        • James

          Saban’s agent, Jimmy Sexton, played the media like a fiddle. All of Saban’s friends knew that this time he truly was going to stay put until retirement, he loves Tuscaloosa, and knows that the Texas job is a snakepit of yahoo boosters. Saban said over and over again that he had no interest, but Sexton said, ‘let me handle it.’ So Sexton manufactured a narrative with no basis in fact, dropped leaks into the rabid Texas fanbase, allowed the Texas boosters to flirt with him, and the next thing you know is that national “reporters” were treating the story as if it not only could happen, but probably would happen. Even Rick Neuheisel, trying to be hip, predicted on the radio this week, with no facts whatsoever to back it, that Saban already had a deal in place with Texas. So Nick agrees to a monster contract extension and goes on the road recruiting, telling his AD he will sign it when he returns in a week. During that week, Sexton creates a frenzy that everyone fell for, including all those former “reporters” (now “insiders”) and jacks the contract even above what it was a week before. Nick didn’t have to lift a finger and voila, a contract nearly double the next highest one. In the meantime, he has put together what ESPNs Herbstreit says is the greatest recruiting class in college FB history. Is Nick Saban overpaid? Well, each year the athletic department gives over $100 million to the university’s general fund. Ya’ll do the math……

          • dave crockett

            Before you jump on the media too much here, keep in mind that the only downside for them is NOT getting people to look. Anytime they can sell the story to get eyeballs, clicks, whatever, for their advertisers, that’s the only standard that matters. Individual reporters, or yokels like Chip Brown may care about their journalistic reputations, but that’s not big currency. Getting people to watch and read is the big currency.

            I’m not sure anyone really got played here, apart from maybe the Texas fan base. Everybody else got exactly what they wanted.

      • He's right!

        But that doesn’t mean Saban’s an idiot…he realized that playing bama like he might be interested in UT was going to get him a nice pay bump…and it did. I laugh because Bama would win with Dennis Erickson right now…Saban could quit tomorrow and retire and Bama would still have a top 3 recruiting class every year for probably the next half decade.

  4. Ralphy

    I completely agree with you Rob on rooting for him to stay. I’ve said before as we root against San Francisco that the truth is its more fun when they are winning.

    In fact I also think its exciting that St Louis is bound to have another good draft and potentially the first pick in the draft. The more talent in to the NFC West the more exciting it will be for all of us and the more attention the national media will shower on the division.

    • Michael M.

      I don’t really care about attention from the national media since most of those clowns don’t actually watch a whole lot of football. That said, I love to hate the 49ers. Granted I would still hate them without Harbaugh, but it would be just a little less satisfying to kick their teeth in. Luckily for us, even if Jim does leave we will still get to compete against the biggest douchebag QB in the NFL 2 or 3 times a year. Man I hate the ‘Niners…

      I hate them so much more than our other division rivals. I mostly just feel bad for St. Louis, and even when Arizona had that stretch with Kurt Warner and we were in the tank, I couldn’t conjure up the same kind of abject hatred that I can for the ‘Niners. Maybe it’s the championships they’ve won in the past, or how much the current fan base still revels in them nearly 20 years after the fact, but at least a portion of it is Jim Harbaugh, and I would hate to lose that.

  5. glor

    I must say, when the 9rs sucked (a few years ago), you just felt sorry for them.. now we can hate them with a passion that you can only do towards your arch nemesis.. it is damn fun having an arch nemesis!

  6. Hawkspur

    I love Harbaugh. Sports needs villains. For those familiar with English/European football, I regard Harbaugh as an awkward Mourinho. It is much sweeter beating Chelsea when Mourinho is in charge than it was with anyone else. Beating the 49ers is so much better when Harbaugh is on the sideline (especially on his birthday).

  7. kevin mullen

    I don’t think he jumps, Jim and Pete has some unfinished business at this level before they even think about jumping back down.

    As far as Saban, his departure from the Dolphins a few years ago left the players from that organization (and word travels fast) and others a real bad taste, ala Bobby Petrino-esque. Saban can’t win an NFL locker room yet, he’ll need a few more years before the memories really begin to fade. He’s stuck in college for a while, and it’s probably for the better.

    • Rob Staton

      I’m not totally sure he isn’t thinking of giving the NFL another go, particularly with vacancies coming up (eg Washington) where the owner is crazy enough to pony up the money to make it worth his while.

      • kevin mullen

        It would have to be a situation similar to Pete: final say over his roster, has an easy going GM that can provide the support that JS does for Pete…etc.

        I think an underachieving team like a Tampa or maybe NY Giants would be ideal, both can have strong run game and solid defense with a few tweaks.

  8. Phil

    If Harbaugh is seriously considering Texas, it may be that he sees that the 49ers best days are behind them and they can only look forward to fighting for a wild card slot for the future.

  9. AlaskaHawk

    There is nothing better than whipping the 49ers and then finishing with a hearty handshake and slap on Harbaughs back! There is nothing like a sore loser to spur a rivalry.

  10. MJ

    That is the single greatest Pete Carroll gif of all time. God I have an unhealthy love for that man.

© 2024 Seahawks Draft Blog

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑