X

Report: Michigan's Jim Harbaugh Eyed by Broncos, More Teams for HC Vacancies

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 1, 2023

GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 31: Michigan Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh looks on in action during a the Vrbo Fiesta Bow game between the Texas Christian Horned Frogs and the Michigan Wolverines on December 31st, 2022, at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, AZ.  (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Multiple NFL teams, including the Denver Broncos, have reportedly shown interest in trying to hire University of Michigan head football coach Jim Harbaugh as their new head coach.

According to NFL.com's Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero, the Broncos and other teams are "doing homework" on Harbaugh, although it is unclear if he has interest in returning to the NFL after saying he didn't following an interview with the Minnesota Vikings last offseason.

ProFootballTalk's Mike Florio later reported the Broncos "have reached out to Harbaugh to inform him that they have interest in talking to him about the vacancy."

Rapoport and Pelissero noted that Harbaugh could be of particular interest to the Broncos because of the fact that former United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is part of the team's ownership group and search committee and is a Stanford alum, which is the program Harbaugh coached from 2007 to 2010 before becoming head coach of the San Francisco 49ers.

Additionally, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Sunday that the Broncos plan to be "ultra aggressive" in their pursuit of a new head coach following the firing of Nathaniel Hackett on Monday after a 4-11 start.

Schefter added that Walton-Penner ownership group "is not expected to spare any expense to upgrade the franchise" after purchasing the Broncos for a record $4.7 billion over the summer.

Hiring Harbaugh would be among the splashiest moves possible because of the success he has enjoyed as both a college and NFL head coach.

In 15 seasons as a collegiate coach at San Diego, Stanford and Michigan, Harbaugh is 132-52. That includes a 74-25 mark in eight seasons at Michigan, along with back-to-back Big Ten titles and College Football Playoff berths over the past two seasons.

Like last season, however, the Wolverines' trip to the CFP ended in disappointment, as they fell to TCU in the semifinal Saturday.

Harbaugh has yet to bring a national title to Michigan, but he also has some unfinished business in the NFL.

His four-year run as head coach of the Niners from 2011-2014 saw him go 44-19-1 with three playoff appearances, three trips to the NFC Championship Game and one Super Bowl berth, where they lost to the Baltimore Ravens.

Harbaugh and the 49ers agreed to part ways at the conclusion of an 8-8 season in 2014, which was something of a shock given how well the team had performed in the three previous campaigns.

If a team can present him with an opportunity to win a Super Bowl in the near future, perhaps Harbaugh would consider a move back to the NFL, but it is unclear if the Broncos would be an attractive situation.

Denver is 4-11 and will miss the playoffs for a seventh consecutive season, plus the acquisition of quarterback Russell Wilson from the Seattle Seahawks has not worked out, as the Broncos are last in the NFL with 15.5 points per game.

The Broncos unquestionably have the money needed to attract a big-name head coach, but it is fair to wonder if Harbaugh would want to leave a good situation at Michigan for what is currently a chaotic one in Denver.