After the Las Vegas Raiders got blown out by the Kansas City Chiefs by a score of 48-9 in Week 14, it looked the coaching staff was on borrowed time. The team had lost five of six and were not playing well. They ended up rallying behind interim head coach Rich Bisaccia and won their last four games, earning a playoff berth. While the Raiders ended up losing to the Cincinnati Bengals in the Wild Card round, they kept it close and had a chance to tie the game at the end had it not been for a Derek Carr interception.
Despite the gutsy performances to end the year, Bisaccia is not the favorite to earn the permanent head coaching job with the Raiders. Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh has been linked to the team for weeks and appears to be the favorite to earn the job. However, the team has yet to set up an interview with him and owner Mark Davis hasn’t played his hand. According to Bruce Feldman of The Athletic, Harbaugh wants the job:
What will Jim Harbaugh do this winter with an NFL head-coaching market wide open? Almost no one knows for certain at this point. But it’s worth keeping an eye on the Las Vegas Raiders. Harbaugh, who has a long friendship with owner Mark Davis, started his coaching career with the team in 2003. He also has family ties to Las Vegas, which is where he met his wife.
Multiple sources inside Michigan football told The Athletic this week that they think if Harbaugh is offered the Raiders head coaching job, he’d take it.
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Contradicting Reports Regarding Harbaugh & Raiders
Feldman is connected in the world of college football so anything reporting has to be taken seriously. However, he doesn’t appear to have connections to the Raiders so it’s unclear if they actually have an interest. According to Vic Tafur of The Athletic, it’s not entirely clear if Davis is eager to hire Harbaugh and even contradicted what his colleague is reporting on:
As we said two weeks ago, all the rumors have come from outside of Las Vegas.
One person close to the situation in Michigan said Tuesday that the rumors could all be “hypothetical leverage” for Harbaugh’s contract talks with the university. One well-placed NFL source was stronger, calling a Harbaugh-Raiders connection “total noise.”
Tafur is as well-connected to the Raiders as anybody. If he’s seeing the team hasn’t shown direct interest in Harbaugh yet, then it is likely true.
What to Make of These Reports?
As is the case with many things, the truth is likely somewhere in the middle regarding these two reports. Harbaugh appears to have interest in the Raiders job but nobody knows where Davis’ head is at. He could very well be all-in on the Michigan coach but it’s impossible to know for sure.
It would be odd if Davis wasn’t interested. He’s courted Harbaugh in the past and obviously wants to build a winner. The coach has won everywhere he’s gone. At this point, it’s anybody’s guess what might happen with Harbaugh and the Raiders. There’s a lot of momentum that the two sides will pair up when it’s all said and done but Davis is far from predictable. He could end up hiring Jerod Mayo or give Bisaccia the full-time job. Neither scenario should be that surprising to Raiders fans.