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New Jersey – There was a tweet today from a prominent national sportswriter, about Jim Harbaugh, in relation to the Jets, that caught a lot of attention.
Sports Illustrated writer Pete Thamel, who specializes in college sports, tweeted the following, “Told today the Jets are unlikely landing spot for Jim Harbaugh. They interviewed him when they hired Rex. Woody wasn’t impressed.”
First of all, this tweet made Woody Johnson look bad, which a lot of people are given to do.
Look, I’m not here to defend Johnson. He needs to take his game to another level as Jets owner.
But this tweet is a little suspect.
First of all, if Harbaugh interviewed with the Jets six years ago, and Johnson decided to do with Rex Ryan instead, does that mean he wasn’t impressed?
You can only pick one guy.
As one league source told me today, “They did hire Rex obviously. That doesn’t mean they weren’t impressed with Harbaugh last time.”
So based on the theory in this tweet, the Jets aren’t a likely landing spot because Woody picked Rex over Harbaugh six years ago?
First of all, Harbaugh had no pro coaching experience at the time. He had just come from Stanford, after a stint at the University of San Diego.
Rex had been in the NFL as a coach for many years.
Now Harbaugh is coming off six very good seasons as the coach of San Francisco 49ers.
It’s certainly a different landscape now.
“If there is a coaching vacancy, I don’t think Woody would rule anybody out,” said the league source.
If the Jets fire Rex Ryan, obviously they need to reach out to Harbaugh.
He’s a proven winner.
Six years ago is irrelevant.
But there is also a teachable moment here for Woody.
Clearly back in 2009, Woody was more impressed with Rex than Harbaugh.
But Woody has to realize, this isn’t about sizzle, it’s about steak.
Of course Rex is going to blow people away with his personality, which is larger than life.
But this isn’t a personality contest, it’s about winning football games.
Rex won his share of games, but the last four years the program has kind of gone downhill.
Woody can’t get sucked into by the cult of personality this time around.
He needs to pick a pair of big-time football talents for his GM and coaching spots if he makes changes, and they might not be people who are going to win personality contests.
But the bottom line is – no, the opinion of Harbaugh six years ago doesn’t mean he’s out of the picture now.
This stuff generally comes from agents.
Get used to it.
There is going to be a lot of these kind of reports floating around.
Perhaps Harbaugh and the New York media would be a disaster.
But the Jets can’t make the media front-and-center in their priorities coming up here, if they make changes.
They’ve got to hit grand slam home runs if they hire a new general manager and coach.
And Harbaugh is a very good coach, who should be available a week or so from now.
December 23, 2014
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