Could the Indianapolis Colts Have Acquired Head Coach Jim Harbaugh?


Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

During the NFL Scouting Combine, word spread around the league that there had recently been talks between the SanFransisco 49ers and the Cleveland Browns about a possible trade for head coach Jim Harbaugh. Reportedly the Browns would have offered up several draft picks for the rights to the successful yet eccentric head coach. The deal never came to fruition, but the idea of this trade raises the question as to whether Harbaugh may have been shipped somewhere else. Should the Indianapolis Colts have thrown their hat into the Harbaugh ring?

As a head coach and former player, Harbaugh has enjoyed success on many levels. He has led the 49ers to the NFC Championship game for three seasons in a row, and his team almost pulled off a victory in Super Bowl XLVII. In the 2011-12 season, he was named AP NFL Coach of the Year. His methods may be closer to madness, but his sideline energy seems to be successful and infectious. Still, possibly the antics of the fiesty head coach may be wearing thin in the Bay area.

Harbaugh’s history with the Colts is also successful. Harbaugh quarterbacked the Colts from 1994-1997, and came within one play of taking Indianapolis to its first-ever Super Bowl in 1995. Harbaugh is obviously very familiar with Indianapolis and the Irsay family, and in 2005, was inducted into the Indianapolis Colts ring of honor. Harbaugh also coached alongside offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton, and coached Andrew Luck at Stanford.

The truth is, even if Harbaugh was on the market, owner Jim Irsay would be hard pressed to cut ties with Chuck Pagano. In two seasons, Pagano has helped lead the Colts to the AFC Playoffs twice, and a return to the AFC South title. Also, the Colts don’t really have much to offer up, since they don’t even have a 1st round pick in this year’s draft. The idea to bring Jim Harbaugh back to Indianapolis is interesting, but would be a very long shot.