Are NFL teams starting to cool on Jim Harbaugh?

Stanford Cardinal head coach Jim Harbaugh celebrates winning the 77th Annual Discover Orange Bowl at Sun Life stadium in Miami on January 3, 2011. Stanford defeated Virginia Tech 40-12. UPI/Martin Fried

In the past 24 hours it seems like Jim Harbaugh went from being the hottest name in sports, to being as attractive as one of Kristen Wiig’s deformed characters on “Saturday Night Live.”

It’s hard to know where the Harbaugh rumors start and where they end, but all of a sudden two teams (the Dolphins and Broncos) that were pursuing him as their next head coach suddenly have no interest at all. On Thursday night, Jay Glazer of FOX Sports tweeted that the Dolphins were sticking with Tony Sparano (the man that owner Stephen Ross was so willing to kick to the curb just days ago) and on Friday morning, the Denver Post reported that the Broncos are bowing out of the Harbaugh race, too.

Whose baby did Harbaugh punch in the last 24 hours to make these teams turn and run for the hills?

The fact that the Broncos have backed out isn’t a surprise. As Rotoworld.com points out, they’ve just been a “backburner” team for Harbaugh all along. But the Dolphins’ about-face is strange to say the least.

Ross, GM Jeff Ireland and new football czar Carl Peterson flew cross-country to talk to Harbaugh earlier this week. There were also reports that Ross offered Harbaugh $7-8 million to coach in Miami, which would have made him the highest paid head coach in the NFL. During this time, Miami’s brass left Sparano hanging (which was a bush league move by the way) while courting Harbaugh.

And now they’re out? Hey Tony, we realized that you were the one for us all along? No, it’s over with Jim…we swear?

It doesn’t make sense.

So now we’re back to square one with Harbaugh: It’s between Michigan (his alma mater) and the 49ers (assuming they haven’t backed out since I started writing this post). And I guess we might as well entertain the idea that he’s going to stay at Stanford with Andrew Luck and I don’t know, win another Orange Bowl or something.

My money would be on him winding up at Michigan but at this point, who knows.

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