If only they could see into the future.
ESPN is reporting that the Jets, Lions, and Chiefs all had a chance to hire Jim Harbaugh as head coach a year before the 49ers picked him up.
The report states that “Jets owner Woody Johnson and three of his lieutenants spent hours meeting and discussing New York’s head-coaching job with Harbaugh” in 2009, but went with Rex Ryan insteaad.
Then came the Lions, who inquired about Harbaugh because he played college football at Michigan. Those discussions never went far before the Lions extended Jim Schwartz’s contract.
Finally, the woeful Chiefs, who jumped in a bit too late.
The irony was that Harbaugh’s wife, Sarah, is from Kansas City. Had the Chiefs called 48 hours earlier, before Harbaugh gave his word and signature to Stanford on an extension, he might have been enticed. But the Chiefs were a little late, a delay-of-game penalty that would haunt them. Harbaugh stayed at Stanford, and Kansas City hired Todd Haley.
In 2011, the 49ers beat out the Dolphins for Harbaugh, and the rest is history. Two years later, Harbaugh has resurrected the franchise and will coach them in the Super Bowl in two days.