"Power Rankings" have become an American institution, and even though the offseason has barely started for NFL franchises, the pre-season 2012 Power Rankings have come out in force. These Power Rankings come in many shapes and sizes, and will have countless iterations over the next few months, but one caught my eye today - the National Football Post's Power Rankings of NFL Head Coaches. Unsurprisingly, 49ers Head Coach Jim Harbaugh comes in at #5 after his team's great run in 2011.
Says Joe Fortenbaugh:
5. Jim Harbaugh, San Francisco 49ers: The former Indianapolis signal-caller has just one season at the controls of an NFL franchise under his belt, but dammit, it was a good one. Harbaugh took a 6-10 team in 2010 and had them an overtime away from playing in the Super Bowl the following season. He also took a first-round bust in Alex Smith and transformed him into a legitimate starting quarterback. However, Harbaugh will need another solid campaign in 2012 to prove to the naysayers that last year wasn't a fluke.
The Niners won their first NFC West title since the 2002 season in 2011, nearly made the Super Bowl, and exceeded pretty much everybody's expectations. They did so under Harbaugh's steely leadership, and it was at least partially due to his influence that the Niners' potential finally was realized. That said, there are some that wonder if the team's +28 turnover ratio can be replicated and Alex Smith remains a big wildcard. San Francisco will go into the 2012 season as division favorites, and likely as one of the top teams in the NFC - we'll find out if Harbaugh can keep things trending upwards.