ESPN names its No. 1 NFL head coaching candidate Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
SEATTLE, WA - JANUARY 18: Detail image of the NFL logo on a goal post before the 2015 NFC Championship game between the Seattle Seahawks and the Green Bay Packers at CenturyLink Field on January 18, 2015 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

“Black Monday” has come and gone in the NFL and, as a result, there are several available head coaching positions around the league. While Jon Gruden’s likely move to Oakland has been the most well publicized possible move, many franchises are forced to scour the available market and things can get interesting in a hurry.

As a result, ESPN polled 45 of their NFL analysts on the basis of the No. 1 coach “they’d try to hire for hypothetical franchises” and, in the end, Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh landed on top with the following explanation.

In Harbaugh’s one NFL stop in San Francisco, he took over a 6-10 team and went 44-19 over the next four seasons — which included a heartbreaking three-point loss in Super Bowl XLVII. Before that, he inherited a 1-11 Stanford team and went 29-21 over four seasons. Most recently, he inherited a 5-8 Michigan team and has gone 28-11 in the three seasons since.

It isn’t a shock to see Harbaugh on this list, even if some of the other candidates (including Josh McDaniels, David Shaw and Nick Saban) would be quite interesting. Despite the fact that Harbaugh is paid handsomely at his alma mater, there will seemingly always be speculation about a return to the professional ranks and this feeds into that.

Would Harbaugh consider returning to the NFL? Possibly, but there seems to be some unfinished business for the enigmatic head coach in Ann Arbor. Still, that won’t stop professional clubs from pursuing him and, if this list occurs in 2019, he may be sitting at the very top once again.

Rowland is a lifelong Atlanta sports fan that also grew up in a Michigan Wolverines household. He previously worked with FanSided, SB Nation and UPROXX sports and covers college football for FanBuzz.
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