Jan 5, 2022

1/5/22: Jim Harbaugh and the Bears?

Jim Harbaugh Chicago Bears
(USA Today Sports)

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Tuesday's scores
Avs 4, Hawks 3 (OT)
Illinois 76, Minnesota 53

Today's schedule
DePaul at St. John's (5:30, FS1)
Penn State at Northwestern (8, BTN)
Loyola at Illinois State, PPD


Could Harbaugh audible his way onto the Bears?

(USA Today Sports)

If I wrote about that thin Leslie Frazier rumor last month, you best believe I'm writing about Jim Harbaugh today.

The possibility of the Michigan coach leaving Ann Arbor for an NFL return is "real," according to a report from The Athletic's Bruce Feldman.

Feldman cites both Michigan and NFL sources for his article. Is it possible that his agent is just posturing for more money after Harbaugh led the Wolverines to a Big Ten title and an appearance in this year's College Football Playoff? Sure.

Then again, Yahoo's Dan Wetzel notes that Harbaugh has never stayed in one place for long and that maybe he's really looking to leave Michigan. After seven years, perhaps he's coming to the realization there is a ceiling in Ann Arbor?

If that's the case, Feldman sets Las Vegas as Harbaugh's most natural destination, though not before adding "the Bears could also be an option."

I'm not sure how the reality of working for either Mark Davis or the McCaskey family would be enough to convince someone to leave Michigan.

Then again, I didn't spend six of the last seven years being pantsed by Ohio State.

Harbaugh's time in Ann Arbor hasn't lived up to the fanfare that brought him back home. He's 61-24 over seven seasons with a 1-5 record in bowl games. He's lost three or more games in six seasons and has yet to recruit or develop a game-changing quarterback for the program.

For those reasons, it'd be hard to get jazzed about Harbaugh returning to Chicago and being entrusted with Justin Fields' future. The Bears have one chance to get this right and Harbaugh has been just a guy in the Big Ten.

But Harbaugh the Bears head coach will remain a divisive topic because his record with the 49ers still speaks loudly. Over four seasons in San Francisco, Harbaugh went 44-19-1 with three trips to the NFC title game and five playoff victories. He came one Colin Kaepernick pass to Michael Crabtree away from a Super Bowl title in New Orleans, too.

Could Harbaugh come to Chicago and build the type of staff that elevated him in San Francisco? Greg Roman and Vic Fangio were his coordinators there. The Bears could offer a Fangio disciple in Sean Desai and maybe Roman leaves John Harbaugh in Baltimore for a change of scenery?

I wouldn't hate the idea of Harbaugh landing at Halas Hall. I think the McCaskeys need someone with enough confidence and volume to challenge how things are done. Harbaugh isn't short on either.

Hiring Harbaugh would also free the McCaskeys from the trendy coordinator raffle that they've lost every time they've played, save for Lovie Smith.

If all goes right, Harbaugh gets a Pete Carroll-like second act and ends up succeeding in a Bears gig that was once reported to be his "dream job."

If all goes wrong? Well, that's not new territory for the Bears.

That's not to say I'm all in on this idea. I want to see what the front office looks like after Sunday's game and what other candidates are considered.

But I'm at the very least intrigued.

How about you?

🧠
Trivia
Three quarterbacks were taken in the 1987 NFL draft before the Bears selected Jim Harbaugh with the 26th overall pick. Can you name them?

News and results


Hawks: Comeback killed by Cale Makar's crazy goal

Alex DeBrincat scored two power-play goals within 40 seconds in the third and the Hawks took a 3-2 lead after turning in a poor first period.

Then Avs d-man Cale Makar did this to Kirby Dach and Marc-Andre Fleury in OT.

Not much you can do about that, really, but pick your jaw off the ground and check to see if your wallet is missing. The Hawks have dropped five straight and six of seven. They're in Arizona on Thursday night.

Illinois: Cockburn buries Gophers with big effort

No rust for the Illini, who moved to 3-o in the Big Ten with a 76-53 win at Minnesota. Kofi Cockburn posted a 29-point, 10-rebound night. Illinois is back home against Maryland on Thursday.

Bulls: DeMar misses out on player of the month honors

The East award went to Joel Embiid, who averaged 29.2 points and 11 rebounds over 13 games. COVID limited DeMar DeRozan to eight games in the month, which undoubtedly hurt him. Just keep that chip on his shoulder growing. Fine by me.



1. Loyola hasn't played since December 10, so it called up fellow mid-major power San Francisco and will meet the Dons at a Salt Lake juco on Thursday. Matt Norlander on how the game came together in three days. CBS Sports

2. Luis Medina goes deeper on the possibility of Pete Carroll coming to Chicago to coach the Bears. Bleacher Nation

3. Hub Arkush won't be voting for Aaron Rodgers for MVP this year. Bleacher Report

4. Steve Paradzinski on whether we'll see a "continued evolution" from Tony La Russa in Year 2 of his Sox comeback. On Tap Sports

5. Drake LaRoche — yes, that Drake LaRoche — is now married. Twitter


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🧠
Trivia answer
1. Miami's Vinny Testaverde (Tampa Bay - 1)
6. Colorado State's Kelly Stouffer (St. Louis - 6)
13. Oregon's Chris Miller (Atlanta - 13)
Kevin Kaduk
Kevin Kaduk
Kevin is the founder of Midway Minute.

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