I think Billick would AN excellent option, IF we could get him. I stress the "AN" and "IF".
Most people here seem to have a "Harbaugh or bust" attitude, or perhaps "Gruden or bust". They also kind of believe that if we get neither it will be because the team rejected them rather than the other way round. Now, I'm one of those who have Gruden as their dream scenario (my thoughts on Harbaugh are further down) but Billick would be a great and more likely hire. In any case. gunning for just one candidate is a very poor way of hiring staff in any business. Not only is it risky but it also makes the business setup look amateurish and hodge-podge and scares other decent candidates away. This team have done incredibly idiotic things when it comes to personnel in the last decade: promoting a HC after half a season without waiting to see who else was available, promoting an OC on the strength of his laminated play diagrams, promoting a geriatric fossil for OC after every other candidate had run away in terror after seeing the mess this team is in, now this sham search for a GM. It is UNLIKELY that Harbaugh, or Gruden, or any other huge profile candidate would want to come to this basket case of an NFL franchise. And even if the Yorks suddenly were metamorphosed into Dan Snyder and paid them gazillions to come, it would be still unlikely that they would succeed. Do you reckon that Shanahan magically turned into a moron this year, or is his failure perhaps due to him (trying to) coach one of the two most disfunctional franchises in the NFC? You can bribe a high profile HC into joining you but you can't buy him success.
And now to Harbaugh. OK, let's say we convince him (="bribe him with a massive contract") to forsake college FB, either at Stanford where he is a hero, or at his struggling alma mater (anybody's dream job I would think), and come to a mess of a franchise in the fishbowl of the NFL, ahead of an almost certain lockout, where he will have no personnel power like in college, and with fans who will turn against him after the first 2-3 bad losses (he is not going to go 16-0, I think!). How likely is it that he will be successful? Like most college coaches he will struggle to assesmble a decent coaching team (again, with a lockout looming). Like most successful college coaches he will not have 5-6 creampuffs to slaughter every season so that he can build up his players' skills and confidence. Every game in the pros is a battle, and you can easily lose even to the crappiest side (like we lost to Carolina). And he'll do it with no QB, OC, GM in place and with a joke ownership?
I would much rather have a respected former NFL coach, not an "up-and-coming" coordinator like Nolan, or a college guy, because this guy has the networking in place to create a good coaching team. If Billick can deliver this during interviews, then he should be PREFERRED even if Harbaugh were available.
Oh, and I'm tired of seeing here the stupid argument "Harbaugh develops QBs". In college he does, where there are redshirt years, soft schedule games you can ease him in, and there are no 280-lb, 4.4 sec-running DE/OLBs coming in to kill you on every down. I'm also tired of reading about how Billick's Minny success was due to Moss (a rook) and (gasp) Randall Cunningham, who I got to see in person in the early 90s when I lived in Philly (=poor man's McNabb, only less durable).
I am not a Billick "fan". mind you, although I consider him probably the best colour commentator on TV, sharp-eyed and witty. And I most certainly have nothing against Harbaugh, he's an excellent college coach and may very well make a wonderful NFL HC one day. But it will very likely be with a less disfunctional team than the 9ers. I think people get too emotional about the Bay Area connection and Walsh having once been Stanford HC.
Sorry about the rant, I get to post about twice a year (this is probably my fifth avatar in 5 years, they tend to expire through inactivity
) and inevitably they turn into rants...