It’s October 7, 2014, and Brady Hoke is somehow still the head coach of Michigan. When, not if he leaves, has nothing to do with Jim Harbaugh, who isn’t leaving the San Francisco 49ers for the time being, and certainly not to a football program that’s been on the way down for a very long time.
At the basis of this, leaving the San Francisco 49ers to Michigan doesn’t make sense. Yes, it’s his alma mater, but a successful NFL coach, and Harbaugh has been nothing but successful so far, doesn’t go down to work for a college football program, unless the emotional attachments are greater than any of us believe. From what we’ve seen from Harbaugh so far, that just doesn’t correlate with the personality he’s shown through his work at Stanford and now San Francisco.
Yes, there are problems. Maybe the media is trying to “out” feuding players a little too aggressively, which in other words mean make stuff up or lie about it, but there’s no doubt not everyone is in love with Harbaugh’s ways of pushing players, of behaving in front and behind the cameras. He’s not on the field to make friends, and he’s not working as a head coach in order to improve his social status. This is someone who wants to win. A fierce competitor of the highest level.
The rumors won’t go away unless the 49ers don’t stop winning. Oh, and there’s a matter of a contract Jim Harbaugh still hasn’t signed. Maybe, like in most cases, it’s simply about money and respect. The things that seem to trigger reactions more than anything among human beings. Harbaugh has taken the 49ers, a franchise that was flailing for almost a decade, and has taken them to three consecutive NFC championship games, reaching the Super Bowl once.
In Harbaugh’s opinion, that deserves loyalty. That deserves a raise. That deserves appreciation. Maybe it’s nice swapping words with Ted York, and it’s possible to overcome his bad relationship with the general manager, but the simplest way of figuring out if Harbaugh is staying will be to see a contract being signed or an announcement being made about the matter. Until then, it’s up in the air, or at least we will all be reminded of it each time the 49ers don’t win a game.
And there’s also the 49ers side to this: Why would you give up on a head coach that has brought you this much success after such a long time of failure? Even without winning a Super Bowl as of now, it’s hard to imagine having anyone out there who can do a better job than what Harbaugh has done over the last three and something seasons, unless there’s something behind the scenes we don’t know about that is causing doubt about Harbaugh’s ability to carry on with this success.