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Jim Harbaugh needs to be at the top of the Broncos search for a new HC

Aaron J. Thornton/Getty Images.

Nathaniel Hackett joined Frank Reich and Matt Rhule as the only head coaches to be fired before the season ended. Everything seemed to come crashing down on Christmas day when the Broncos were routed by the Los Angeles Rams 51-14. Throughout the season, there were multiple instances where players argued with one another on the sidelines. The scene witnessed in Sunday’s game against the Rams was the breaking point. From the optics standpoint, it never seemed like Hackett had control of the team.

Many pundits viewed him as being in over his head as a first-year head coach. However, the most significant deciding factor as to why Hackett was removed as HC is the inability to build a competent offense around Russell Wilson. The Broncos gave up significant draft capital and players in return for the services of the star QB. However, it has been the opposite regarding which team is winning the trade between Seattle and Denver.

Despite their playoff hopes becoming slimmer by the week, the Seahawks are still in the hunt, not the Broncos. Denver currently has a record of 4-11, while Seattle sits at 7-8 and is the eighth seed in the NFC playoff picture.

Due to the firing of Coach Hackett, the Broncos will be looking for their fourth head coach in six years. The number one priority for Denver’s new head coach will be to get Russell Wilson back to playing at an elite level. The team invested in and gave up a lot to get the veteran signal-caller from Seattle. A coach that would be highly qualified to accomplish that is Michigan Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh.

Harbaugh has turned teams into contenders at an accelerated pace. He transformed Stanford into a well-respected program under his watch. Harbaugh would go on to carry the same blueprint to the NFL when he became the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers. In his first-year as head coach, the 49ers became the NFC’s number one seed in the playoffs and would appear in the conference championship game.

The Niners would follow that up by making two more NFC championship game appearances, including a trip to the Super Bowl in 2012-2013. His resume with his Alma mater, the University of Michigan, speaks for itself.

The Wolverines are back in the college football playoff for the second-straight year. Also, they are on a two-game win streak against a bitter rival, the Ohio State Buckeyes. Winning a national title would put Harbaugh in a different stratosphere regarding college football head coaches. But would winning a national title mean that Harbaugh would have nothing left to prove at the collegiate level?

His name has been floated around for several seasons regarding job openings in the NFL. Before the Vikings settled on naming Kevin O’Connell their new head coach, Harbaugh interviewed for the job. According to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter, the Vikings front office and Harbaugh were in serious talks for about nine hours.

“It was a nine-hour meeting,” said Schefter. “And I know there are all of these reports that they didn’t make an offer. I don’t know if it was like that or not like that. I think they talked about what it would look like and what it would take and what it would be. So maybe there’s not an offer that was made or wasn’t made or whatever.”

“But there were serious talks for nine hours, and I think both determined it wasn’t—I spoke with him that night. And he was very complimentary of ownership and the organization and what a great place it would have been. But it’s not right—right now.”

Harbaugh would return to Michigan, leading them to another college football playoff berth. Would the Broncos’ current roster be attractive enough for Harbaugh to return to the NFL? It’s something that he may seriously consider.

On paper, the roster is pretty good. Their defense is currently a top-five unit and is the main reason the team remained competitive in numerous games this season. If hired, his top priority will be to get Wilson to revert to his way of playing football when he was a member of the Seahawks. With Harbaugh’s successful resume with different QB styles, he might be up for the challenge. It’s up to the Broncos’ new ownership to make the call.

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Meet Derrick Branch, the founder and chief wordsmith at Strike 7 Sports. With a sharp focus on the NFL and the NBA, Derrick's expertise in sports is matched only by his passion for sharing it with others. He holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communications from the prestigious University of Arizona Global. Let his insightful and engaging writing take you to the heart of the action.

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