Many expected the Jim Harbaugh sweepstakes to firmly be between the LA Chargers and Michigan Wolverines. However, a new unexpected foe entered the fold during the week as the Atlanta Falcons announced they completed an interview with Harbaugh on Tuesday.
The Falcons job is not as good as the Chargers job on paper (squarely because of the two quarterback situations) but they still had to be taken seriously as a potential threat. After all, Atlanta's change of heart with defensive coordinator Ryan Nielsen seemingly indicated that the team was preparing to move mountains for Harbaugh to arrive.
Chargers fans' worry about Atlanta swiping Harbaugh was short-lived, though. On Thursday morning Ian Rapoport provided an update around Atlanta's head coaching vacancy and another prominent name on the market: Bill Belichick.
Falcons' Bill Belichick update favors the Chargers' pursuit of Jim Harbaugh
The Falcons were one of the first teams tied to Bill Belichick when it was reported that he would not be returning to the New England Patriots next season. Belichick spoke with Arthur Smith prior to the Harbaugh interview and getting another interview is a telling sign that this partnership might happen.
This is obviously great news for the Chargers as another potential suitor for Harbaugh could bow out of the running before it ever got serious. There have been several teams already that looked like fits but now don't seem likely (Chicago Bears, Las Vegas Raiders) and the Falcons may be joining that list.
This is best for everyone involved. The Chargers don't have to worry about competing with another NFL team and just need to convince Harbaugh to make the leap from college football back to the NFL. Meanwhile, Atlanta can still make a splashy hire and bring in the greatest coach of all time to fix the current situation.
Almost everything has broken the Chargers' way thus far when it pertains to Harbaugh. There are so many telling signs that Harbaugh may choose the Chargers that it almost feels inevitable at this point. But nothing is actually officially until pen hits paper, so fans have to sit back and continue to wait patiently for Harbaugh's decision.
At the very least, fans can rest easy knowing that his decision likely won't involve the Falcons.