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Report: Fins owner goes fishing for Harbaugh

Stephen Ross AP

Well, things will be getting awkward in Miami, if Tony Sparano remains the team’s head coach.

Amid reports that owner Stephen Ross has made overtures to big-name coaches like Bill Cowher, Jon Gruden, and Jim Harbaugh, Chris Mortensen of ESPN reports that Ross is heading to California to “make an urgent pitch to Jim Harbaugh.”

Sparano remains the team’s head coach.  If Ross successfully woos Harbaugh, he’ll have to fire Sparano and then comply with the Rooney Rule before hiring Harbaugh.

Harbaugh reportedly spent five hours meeting with 49ers owner Jed York and G.M. Trent Baalke on Wednesday.  We’re told that Harbaugh wants $7 million per year, and there’s a belief in league circles that Harbaugh leaked word that Michigan offered him $5.2 million per year in order to drive up his price at the NFL level.

The news of Miami’s interest in Harbaugh will tend to have the same effect.

For now, it’s unclear where Harbaugh will be coaching in 2011.  One thing that’s increasingly clear is that Harbaugh won’t be staying at Stanford.

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62 Responses to “Report: Fins owner goes fishing for Harbaugh”
  1. drumbug7 says: Jan 5, 2011 10:21 PM

    “Sparano remains the team’s head coach. If Ross successfully woos Harbaugh, he’ll have to fire Sparano and then comply with the Rooney Rule before hiring Harbaugh.”

    The NFL should do a better job of regulating teams that make a mockery of the Rooney Rule like this.

  2. larrydavidstern says: Jan 5, 2011 10:23 PM

    If I was an NFL owner, I would tell the NFL to take their Rooney Rule and shove it. I would hire who I wanted, whether he was white, black, green, etc.

  3. dillon74 says: Jan 5, 2011 10:31 PM

    Why the hysteria over Harbaugh? He may end up being a fine NFL coach but is he really worth $7 million per season? This seems like a bunch of hysteria. It is unbelievable that Harbaugh has become this “hot” in such a short period of time.

  4. scoob766 says: Jan 5, 2011 10:34 PM

    Didn’t this @s$ clown learn anything from the Saban ordeal, let us Niners have em!

  5. dieharddolfan6493 says: Jan 5, 2011 10:34 PM

    GO STEVE FLY LIKE THE WIND!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. gman006 says: Jan 5, 2011 10:35 PM

    Wow, I cannot remember a more sought after coach. This guy is on fire right now.

    As a 49er fan, I hope they can get him. He put on a coaching clinic in the second half of the Orange Bowl. Bill Walsh was probably the last 49er coach to put together good game plans and make effective in-game adjustments.

    I hope he is just as successful at the NFL level…assuming he goes to SF.

  7. Deb says: Jan 5, 2011 10:35 PM

    Interesting … Harbaugh to the Fins would mean more frequent contests between the Harbaugh brothers. That I’d like to see!

  8. jayzus says: Jan 5, 2011 10:47 PM

    “GO STEVE FLY LIKE THE WIND!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

    and leave Jeff Ireland in CA

  9. ravensrule says: Jan 5, 2011 10:49 PM

    I would not be shocked if he ended up back at Stanford

  10. dilberry says: Jan 5, 2011 10:50 PM

    I am pretty sure if Ross is willing to pay him $7,000,000 a year, he is not worried about getting a fine for violating the Rooney rule, as that would be chump change.

  11. bamalion3 says: Jan 5, 2011 10:53 PM

    The Rooney Rule is lame. There is no room for affirmative action in the NFL with only 32 head coaching positions. To “have to” interview a minority candidate is retarded if you know who you want.
    If a minority candidate is the best guy for the job he will get it.
    The next thing you’ll probably hear is that teams now have to draft a certain % of white players to satisfy some other lame rule.
    Ridiculous.

  12. lionsfan2014 says: Jan 5, 2011 10:55 PM

    Jim, Go to MEEEEEEEECCCHHHIGAN!!!

  13. papoose059 says: Jan 5, 2011 10:58 PM

    Hey Scoob,
    This guy wasn’t even associated with anything NFL when Saban was in south beach. Matter fact Saban was well entrenched at Alabama by the time Ross took over Miami. This was his first year as owner and inherited these idiots called Parcells, Sparano, and Henning. San Fran may be able to woo Harbaugh with the logistics of the job, but Ross is a Michigan man. Ross is the biggest donator to the Michigan program along with being the 2nd richest owner in the league, which means he has the coin. 7 Million? To a guy worth over 5 Billion? To put that in perspective, he has TWICE the amount of money as Jerry Jone. Twice… I can’t imagine this guy not landing who he wants.

  14. brutus9448 says: Jan 5, 2011 11:11 PM

    phins billionaire has more billions than niners billionaire so I say he wins.

  15. nfl4ever says: Jan 5, 2011 11:14 PM

    bamalion3 says:
    Jan 5, 2011 10:53 PM
    The Rooney Rule is lame. There is no room for affirmative action in the NFL with only 32 head coaching positions. To “have to” interview a minority candidate is retarded if you know who you want.
    If a minority candidate is the best guy for the job he will get it.
    The next thing you’ll probably hear is that teams now have to draft a certain % of white players to satisfy some other lame rule.
    Ridiculous.
    ——————————————————
    Halleluja!

    NFL Franchises are privately owned businesses, the owners should be able to hire who they want, when they want without fear of any repercussions.

    Enough with the “Social Engineering” already.

  16. papoose059 says: Jan 5, 2011 11:15 PM

    49ers are out of contention. They have said they cannot compete financially with Miami. YEAHHHH BOYYYYYYYYYYYY.

  17. haywoodjablomee says: Jan 5, 2011 11:24 PM

    Didn’t the Dolphins learn anything from the Nick Satan fiasco? This is why they are so mediocre. Totally bad decisions. I’d rather them get an establish NFL coach (Cowher) with all of his NFL connections, even if that mean the team gets rid of everyone and hires Cowher’s boys. Harbaugh and Marshall would never get along.

  18. discosucs2005 says: Jan 5, 2011 11:26 PM

    Well, if white people don’t think we need the Rooney Rule anymore…

  19. randymossblewit says: Jan 5, 2011 11:27 PM

    Ross didn’t get 5 billion by giving people whatever they wanted. I hope Miami hires him so BB and the Pats can lay a” best in NFL” wuppin on him twice a year.

  20. danlorwil083175 says: Jan 5, 2011 11:28 PM

    If Harbaugh gets an NFL coaching job, he’ll probably go to the 49ers and not the Dolphins. Bill Cowher would make much more sense for Miami than Harbaugh. Cowher should get total control as Head Coach and GM. To hire Harbaugh and leave Jeff Ireland as GM would be such a boneheaded move by Ross. Ireland has made horrendous draft choices and free agent signings. Bill Cowher will bring back fans and season ticket holders.

  21. hboilers24 says: Jan 5, 2011 11:30 PM

    seriously why is Sparano still in miami? i know miami has not the desired success but openly trying to hire a coach when you have one in place? thats like having your wife flirt with guys right in front of you and you just sit at home watching the kids. talk about disrespect.

    if/when harbaugh doesn’t come to miami i’d leave just to stick it to the owner.

  22. kisstherings says: Jan 5, 2011 11:33 PM

    This is going to kill the coaching wage scale…

    Steve Spurrier was a pretty good college coach too. So was Nick Saban and Bobby Petrino

    If an unproven college coach is worth 7MM a year…..how much is Belichick worth? Or even Andy Reid

  23. jonanthans says: Jan 5, 2011 11:33 PM

    Ross will leave with Jim Harbaugh as the head coach for the Miami Dolphins. He will not be outbid. Glad to see Miami finally going after a young hungry coach with a bright future.

  24. ssuperkyle says: Jan 5, 2011 11:34 PM

    A dolphin is not a fish, so how is he going fishing?

  25. jhorton83 says: Jan 5, 2011 11:35 PM

    Stephen Ross, it’s pretty sad when Al Davis looks professional compared to you. Cut Sparano loose like the Raiders did with Cable yesterday rather than letting him twist in the wind like this and humiliating him while you interview replacements while he’s still under contract.

  26. smarterthana5thgrader says: Jan 5, 2011 11:44 PM

    I want harbaugh on the Niners, but making the man the highest paid HC in the league is ridiculous.

  27. jagerbmb says: Jan 5, 2011 11:48 PM

    I just heard that the Dolphins offered him a contract in the $7 to $8 million range. Oh wow.

  28. nokoolaidcowboy says: Jan 6, 2011 12:11 AM

    Well, what do Marc Anthony and J Lo have to say about all this? They own shares don’t they?

  29. profootballwalk says: Jan 6, 2011 12:12 AM

    “…a guy worth over 5 Billion? To put that in perspective, he has TWICE the amount of money as Jerry Jone. Twice… I can’t imagine this guy not landing who he wants.”

    Billionaires don’t become billionaires spending money.

  30. Nevis says: Jan 6, 2011 12:22 AM

    Very classless and pathetic move by Ross. Really, one of the worst I’ve ever seen.

    Let’s consider the odds of him pulling this off:

    A) Harbaugh has NO TIES to the Dolphins FO. For all I know, this would be his FIRST meeting with Ross.

    B) The Dolphins just REAMED their head coach in a very tactless, public way. Great recruiting angle?

    C) Harbaugh is just as interested in immediate success as he is money. The Dolphins are further away and in worst draft position to get a QB.

    D) Harbaugh’s wife just had a baby. I am sure she is not interested in moving cross-country.

    E) Harbaugh loves Bill Walsh and wants to emulate his path.

    F) The 49ers are likely offering a lot more personnel control than Miami is prepared to offer.

    G) The Dolphins do NOT have a stronger FO than the 49ers. Parcells out of the picture.

    H) Chad Henne isn’t exactly a dangling carrot.

    Way I figure it, the ONLY thing the Dolphins have over the 49ers is pure bottom-line pay. I think the easy solution is for the 49ers to up their offer (but NOT match), add in some incentives and get the ink dried tomorrow.

  31. promickey says: Jan 6, 2011 12:39 AM

    Once Ross learned how pervasive the micromanaging was he most likely did not care about pissing off Sparano. Sparano should be fired for being Parcells puppet. Parcells’ old school stuff does not work and Ross should get rid of Sparano even if Harbaugh does not join the Dolphins.

  32. goldrush36 says: Jan 6, 2011 12:46 AM

    Can’t blame him for trying to make a slash. His approach however is very classless, and I hop Jim sees this as a type of guy he doesn’t want to work for. Harbaugh didn’t like their first approach and now it’s worse. I think this meeting is more to drive up his value than anything else.

  33. burntorangehorn says: Jan 6, 2011 12:53 AM

    Doesn’t Paul Hunt have about three times as much net worth as Stephen Ross? Why doesn’t *he* lure a successful college coach with an enormous salary?

    Oh. Right.

  34. pooflingingmonkey says: Jan 6, 2011 12:57 AM

    #gman006 says: Jan 5, 2011 10:35 PM

    “Wow, I cannot remember a more sought after coach. This guy is on fire right now.

    As a 49er fan, I hope they can get him. He put on a coaching clinic in the second half of the Orange Bowl. Bill Walsh was probably the last 49er coach to put together good game plans and make effective in-game adjustments.

    I hope he is just as successful at the NFL level…assuming he goes to SF.”

    That’s a really insightful post, bereft of vitriol or rhetoric. Are you sure you’re in the right place?

  35. 7ftgriff says: Jan 6, 2011 1:01 AM

    Wow ! I’m a life long 49ers fan and Want Harbaugh to be the coach, but 7-8 Million for an unproven commodity? No Way, Belichik, Reid, Tomlin, and Payton don’t even make that kind of money. I think the 49ers could land Super bowl winning coach Brian Billick for $4-5million, good luck Miami.

  36. jaggedmark says: Jan 6, 2011 1:28 AM

    Remember when Jim Harbaugh came into the Pac10 and immediately told Pete Carroll, get use to being 2nd?

    Then Harbaugh beat him 1st, 3rd, and 4th years out of 4 years.

    Jim Harbaugh vs. Rex Ryan. Bring it on!!!!!

  37. johnnyballsack says: Jan 6, 2011 1:29 AM

    papoose- you can not be serious, can you? Ross is a great businessman for a reason. If he thinks Harbaugh is the best for the job then he will be hired and maybe cost will not be an issue. But do not confuse that with the frivilous spending Jones and Snyder do without regard to where their investment is going. Jones and Snyder have money but are lessening their franchises and thus their net worths by idiotic hirings and outlandish contracts for mediocrity. Hopefully for his and Miami fans sake, he has a plan in place that is far different than Snyder and Jones. He needs to get a good football person to do his hiring and not treat it like his personal fantasy team. Snyder and Jones may be loaded with cas, but they would finish dead last in my fantasy football league and apparantly close to the bottome in real football. Maybe Ross will break that chain. Time will tell but I would side with him.

    ————————————————– papoose059 says:
    Jan 5, 2011 10:58 PM
    Hey Scoob,
    This guy wasn’t even associated with anything NFL when Saban was in south beach. Matter fact Saban was well entrenched at Alabama by the time Ross took over Miami. This was his first year as owner and inherited these idiots called Parcells, Sparano, and Henning. San Fran may be able to woo Harbaugh with the logistics of the job, but Ross is a Michigan man. Ross is the biggest donator to the Michigan program along with being the 2nd richest owner in the league, which means he has the coin. 7 Million? To a guy worth over 5 Billion? To put that in perspective, he has TWICE the amount of money as Jerry Jone. Twice… I can’t imagine this guy not landing who he wants.

  38. bobhk says: Jan 6, 2011 1:35 AM

    Firstly Ross is worth $3.1B (down from $4.5B in 2007). Secondly, when a guy is worth a billion or two (which many owners are) they can afford to pay $7M for a coach. So, it’s hardly a noteworthy statement that he can land a guy who he wants. Most of these owners can. However, I don’t think Dolphins finances are all that good (http://www.forbes.com/lists/2010/30/football-valuations-10_Miami-Dolphins_303017.html)

    Most importantly, however, he seems to be a big scumbag for pursuing another coach while he still has one on his active payroll. He should have enough decency to let Sparano go if he’s going pursue a replacement.

    I hope he gets Harbaugh and continues the wonderful losing tradition.

  39. finfan316 says: Jan 6, 2011 1:50 AM

    Atta boy, Mr. Ross. Leave Tony twisting in the wind. This just cant get any better…unless of course, it gets leaked that the Fins have hired JH only to have him back out and they have to keep TS. Good news if that happens….they will 4-5 games next year and a new coach will be able to draft the QB need.

  40. david7590 says: Jan 6, 2011 1:59 AM

    Why would he want to work for a joke of a franchise like the Dolphins? Maybe it has to do with that women who owns part of the Team, whats her name, oh yeah, Marc Anthony. Dolphags, what losers.

  41. ahgeez says: Jan 6, 2011 2:31 AM

    @gman006

    Your a 49er fan? Hm.. Interesting username for someone who isn’t a giants fan.

  42. steelbreeze676 says: Jan 6, 2011 4:08 AM

    Am I the only one in the world that doesn’t understand all of this crazy attention for Harbaugh? He wants $7MM, Bill Belichick makes $7.5MM a year… except nobody has any idea whatsoever how Harbaugh will be at the NFL level… he coached college with one of the best college QB’s ever to play the game – pro is a different animal.

    I almost wished he went to Michigan so I can watch him get fired in 3 years also.

  43. thehighhat says: Jan 6, 2011 4:12 AM

    This Ross guy has no class. He flies all the way to SF to throw money at a college coach while HE STILL HAS A COACH EMPLOYED! The Ross Dolphins are the joke of the NFL.

  44. notsosmartski says: Jan 6, 2011 4:13 AM

    papoose059 The only problem with coaches salaries is the money goes against the cap.

  45. tommytd says: Jan 6, 2011 6:31 AM

    That will work! Go after a college coach with no NFL HC experience and put him in there! Does anybody remember their experiment with Nick Sabin? What’s this owner smoking?

  46. chapnastier says: Jan 6, 2011 7:25 AM

    Too much money. Can coaches get incentive based deals? I would think that would be ideal for a new head coach with no proven track record. Still the only place I ever hear the Rooney Rule mentioned is here and on NBC sports. Odd.

  47. metcalfer says: Jan 6, 2011 7:48 AM

    drumbug7 says: The NFL should do a better job of regulating teams that make a mockery of the Rooney Rule like this.

    You don’t think the San Francisco 49ers did the same when they rushed an interview with Oakland Raiders O.C. Hue Jackson. It was easy & fast as he was right across the Bay. Do you think that they had any attention of hiring him?

    Hue Jackson could will ended up being a coach, but for the Oakland Raiders. He did a great job with the Raiders Offense as they double the point total from last year.

  48. hodag54501 says: Jan 6, 2011 8:52 AM

    Interesting to see all you “they should be able to hire anyone they want” folks here. It gives me an opportunity to explain the rule.
    There are 31 owners of NFL franchises. The Packers are a publically-owned non-profit, but like the other 31 owners, are Caucasians. The majority of people in executive jobs in the NFL franchises are also Caucasians. What happens is people tend to hire people who they can relate to. Thus you have a smallernumber of non-Caucasians in positions of power in the NFL. It’s not that non-Caucasians can’t cut it…look at the Rooney’s Mike Tomlin…it’s just that good candidates tend to get ignored who aren’t Caucasians. The Rooney Rule doesn’t mean you MUST hire a person other than a Caucasian, it simply means you have to TALK to someone other than a Caucasian. In that conversation, you might, just might, find a candidate you initially didn’t consider, but now think is pretty good.
    “They can hire anyone they want” still is true, but to people with billions, they usually aren’t real concerned about fairness. This simply gives people a chance they certainly wouldn’t have had before.
    Yes, it’s a pain, but it gives people an IDEA that there ares good candidates of many ethnicities, something the owners don’t always think about.
    Keep in mind the owners approved the “Rooney Rule”.

  49. 1historian says: Jan 6, 2011 8:55 AM

    I’m a Notre Dame fan and what Stanford did to them last season was not fun to watch, but I admire the hell out of Harbaugh and I hope he stays at Stanford.
    I don’t think he has the wherewithal to be a pro coach and Michigan is a joke. Harbaugh is

  50. 1historian says: Jan 6, 2011 8:56 AM

    I’m a Notre Dame fan and what Stanford did to them last season was not fun to watch, but I admire the hell out of Harbaugh and I hope he stays at Stanford.
    I don’t think he has the wherewithal to be a pro coach and Michigan is a joke.

  51. layinlow says: Jan 6, 2011 9:00 AM

    Stupid. Why don’t the Dolphins hire Bill Cowher and let him bring in his own personnel men? Cowher worked for one of the model franchises for 15 years and has some great personnel guys on speed dial. Does Ross really value Jeff Ireland that much? Harbaugh may be a good coach but Cowher is a great coach and understands NFL organizational structure better than most.

    This harbaugh thing has gotten out of control in my opinion. One great college season and Ross wants to make him the highest paid coach in the NFL? Go for the proven commodity and hire Bill Cowher.

  52. 1historian says: Jan 6, 2011 9:02 AM

    Steelbreeze – I disagree with you. Until Harbaugh got there noone ever took Stanford football seriously year after year. They might come up with some superstars – Elway, Plunkett, etc. but they weren’t in top 10 talk every year. Michigan used to be top ten just about every year. Now the program is a joke. In 4 years Harbaugh has brought them to that point where they are in the mix.
    No matter what Luck decides if Harbaugh stays there, and I think he should, Stanford now commands respect in a way they never did before.

  53. 3000ft2glory says: Jan 6, 2011 9:03 AM

    @larrydavidstern
    That’s where we see things differently. I would never consider hiring a green guy to be in charge of anything. They’re irresponsible, unreliable and prone to theft. Am I prejudiced and small-minded? Probably – but that’s my prerogative. I’m anti-green.

  54. lucky5927 says: Jan 6, 2011 9:11 AM

    I grow so damn tired of hearing about the stupid Rooney Rule. It doesn’t work because people are going to naturally hire who they want to hire. And if an organization chooses to hire a less talented white coach over a more qualified African American coach, then let that team suffer. But every single day, companies are allowed to hire whoever they please. The NFL should be no different.

  55. papoose059 says: Jan 6, 2011 9:25 AM

    Responding to a couple statements above-
    Ross didn’t become a billionaire by spending frivolously, agreed. BUT, the NFL is a unique business and I can almost guarantee that Ross did not buy the Dolphins for over a billion dollars solely to make money. He already had all the money he needed. Most owners purchased their teams when the average cost of these franchises were 20-50 % of their current value. Ross is the rare owner who actually paid current face value. (I’m not saying he doesnt want to make money, but he is also a fan). This is Ross first year and he inherited Sparano, so if he is hanging him out like this, so be it. I mean Cowher is making demands that he will only coach the Dolphins if he can bring in his own people. I think the guy who buys the team deserves to bring in who he wants with little regard to who he inherited. Especially considering the job Sparano has done.
    And as far as coaching money going against the cap.. First of all, how many teams have spent every dollar under the cap? I know I was reading articles this year that talked about owners spending to the salary floor, not the ceiling. At least the Dolphins seem to have a owner willing to spend all the cap money. Because most don’t seem willing..

  56. 305phinphan says: Jan 6, 2011 9:51 AM

    The Rooney Rule is a joke in itself. I’m sorry but how come the Vikings can hire Lezlie Frazier right off the back just because he is African American? Why didn’t they have to interview a Caucasian coach as well? It’s a double standard in the NFL. I understand that there is a lack of African American coaches in the NFL but there are still more than there has been in recent years. Maybe they need to apply that same rule for the players as well, during every draft they should have to draft equal amount of black/white players to make things fair. I know that last notion is stupid but it’s just as stupid as the Rooney rule.

  57. psousa1 says: Jan 6, 2011 10:26 AM

    Harbaugh is no idiot – he knows he can win the division with that 49ers team next year. Miami does not have a QB (neither does SF but they have a slightly better alternative in Alex Smith) He’s going to SF

  58. kreepshow says: Jan 6, 2011 11:02 AM

    Wherever he winds up, Harbaugh should cut ESPN 10% of his new millions, thanks to all the shilling the network did for him.

  59. FinFan68 says: Jan 6, 2011 11:48 AM

    I am losing respect for Ross with each passing hour. If Sparano is not the guy then tell him and give him the opportunity to land a job somewhere else while Ross 1/2 asses his coaching search. The smart thing to do is to fire Sparano/Ireland/Henning and hire Cowher…with a stipulation that Nolan remains the DC at least for next year.

  60. thehighhat says: Jan 6, 2011 12:15 PM

    The Dolphins are one pathetic, desperate team. Harbaugh won’t last more than 3 years after Patriots and Jets are done with him!

  61. baredon says: Jan 6, 2011 12:24 PM

    Ahhh….the American way… Sell your sole to the highest bidder…

  62. georgeanderson2 says: Jan 6, 2011 12:33 PM

    If Ross is openly going after Harbaugh while telling Sparano to get ready for next season just in case he can’t land Harbaugh is embarrassing to the league. I hope Harbaugh recognizes how unprofessional this is and how he will be treated eventually.

    Sparano should be let go. And Jeff Ireland should feel ashamed for being a part of this public embarrassment. This is like trying to pick up a hot chick at the company Happy Hour while your wife is at home, everyone knows you are married and thinks you are a DB for doing that to your wife in such a public manner. Sparano is going to come out of this looking good. I hope another AFC East team hires him to sure up their O-Line.

    Why would you want to work for such a classless organization? Hopefully Mike Nolan can take his act to Carolina and get out of that cruddy Dolphins organization.

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