The Dolphins made the surprising decision to fire coach Brian Flores on “Black Monday” after three years with the team. In wake of that announcement, many NFL sleuths immediately thought they knew what was going on.
Miami owner Stephen Ross loves making splashy moves, so much so that he tried to lure Jim Harbaugh away from the 49ers many moons ago. Harbaugh is reportedly considering a return to the NFL after leading Michigan to a College Football Playoff appearance. Naturally, that must mean that the Dolphins fired Flores to pursue Harbaugh, right?
BLACK MONDAY: Full list of coaches fired, openings across the NFL
Ross addressed the Harbaugh rumors shortly after announcing that Flores would no longer coach the Dolphins. He claimed that Miami would not pursue the former 49ers coach. Why?
“I’m not going to be the person to take Jim Harbaugh from the University of Michigan,” Ross told reporters. “I hope he stays there.”
Ross is a Michigan alumnus, so it’s no surprise to see that he wants Harbaugh to remain at the school. The program has gone 61-24 under Harbaugh’s watch and in 2021, he led the Wolverines to their first Big Ten title since they shared it with Iowa in 2004.
That said, if Ross seriously isn’t considering looking at Harbaugh, he is doing the Dolphins a disservice. Harbaugh posted a 44-19-1 record during his four seasons with the 49ers, and his .695 winning percentage is the fifth-highest mark in NFL history behind Guy Chamberlain, Vince Lombardi, John Madden and George Allen. He helped the 49ers reach the Super Bowl in 2013 before they narrowly lost to the Ravens and his brother, John.
Harbaugh also helped Alex Smith and Colin Kaepernick become quality starters thanks to his previous 14 years of experience as an NFL quarterback. He could have a similar impact on Tua Tagovailoa if given the chance to work with him.
Perhaps Ross will change his tune if it becomes clear that Harbaugh will leave Michigan, but for now, it seems like he wants to look elsewhere for a replacement for Flores. There are plenty of potential coaching candidates on the open market, so maybe the Dolphins will pursue an offensive-minded option from that group instead of Harbaugh.