Jim Harbaugh to the LA Rams. Oh, what an intriguing sentence fragment I just wrote. What a wild fantasy, that man coaching that team. Talk about Jed York’s worst nightmare. Talking about reaping what you sow. It probably makes Jed sweat through his pillow.
Let’s repeat all the reasons Harbaugh and the Rams are an ideal fit.
For starters, the Rams would get a coach who’s a celebrity in a celebrity-obsessed region of the country. Hiring Harbaugh would be big, dramatic news. A splash. He’d draw hordes of media and the attention of Hollywood and Beverly Hills. And he would fill the Rams’ $2.6-million Inglewood stadium, which opens in 2019, the way he filled Levi’s Stadium every game until the 49ers got rid of him. Harbaugh basically built that hunk of Steel in Santa Clara. Call him a stadium builder and filler.
The Rams would get a coach who’d create two instant NFC West rivalries — one with the 49ers, clearly, and one with Pete (“What’s your deal?”) Carroll and the Seattle Seahawks. The Rams haven’t had a rivalry since Kurt Warner was their quarterback in 2001 back when they were good. They currently are a non-entity in the NFC West. Harbaugh would change that right away.
The Rams would get a coach who wants to develop quarterbacks. A coach who specializes in developing them, especially young ones perceived as meek and lacking confidence, such as Alex Smith five years ago and Jared Goff — the Rams’ rookie franchise quarterback. Harbaugh would make him believe he can succeed in the NFL. Would pump him up.
The Rams would get a coach who knows the NFC West and has won in this division. Has won NFC West division titles twice during the past five years.
The Rams would get a coach who has a history of taking underperforming teams hovering around .500 and making them dominant right away.
The Rams would get a coach whose power-running offense would perfectly suit Todd Gurley, one of the best young running backs in the NFL.
The Rams would get a coach who says he’s a Midwesterner, but also is a California guy (Palo Alto high school) and whose wife is from San Diego and probably wouldn’t mind moving back to her home state.
And the Rams would get a coach who, on a personal level, despises the 49ers. Hates that front office, all those suits who turned their backs on him — not the other way around. Harbaugh would have motivation to get revenge, and that’s York’s biggest fear. And Harbaugh knows it. He would get off on sticking it to the 49ers twice a season. Who could blame him?
But, it’s not that simple. It’s a fun scenario, to be sure, but let’s be realistic.
Harbaugh already said he won’t leave Michigan for the Rams. “I’m not even considering it,” he said on Tuesday. He called the reports of his leaving “lies.”
What he said may or may not be true because coaches always say things like that. Maybe Harbaugh said it because he can’t leave Michigan — not at this time. And the Rams can’t hire Harbaugh just yet, either. There are protocols to go through. And let’s be honest, although Harbaugh may be tempted to leave Ann Arbor, in his heart he also may want to stay. It’s impossible to know right now.