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The speculation that Eric Mangini was brought in to replace Jim Harbaugh might be my favorite

The San Francisco 49ers have had plenty of rumors swirling about the future of Jim Harbaugh. If he does depart, the rumors could get interesting about his replacement. One guy has not been rumored, but it hasn't stop fan speculation.

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The San Francisco 49ers have three weeks of football remaining, and barring a late run to the playoffs, not much else. A win on Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks would extend playoff discussion a little further, while another loss would likely result in even more rumors about Jim Harbaugh's future with the team.

Over the last couple weeks, the rumors have focused on a potential Jim Harbaugh trade. Any media comments related to the 49ers future coach have focused on Jim Tomsula and Vic Fangio as potential candidates. However, one thing I have noticed is a certain paranoia about Eric Mangini potentially becoming the next head coach. Mind you, there are no rumors about him becoming the coach, but there is a certain level of paranoia. It is not a lot, but it is real.

I have gotten a couple tweets and seen the occasional comment mentioning the idea that Mangini's history with Bill Belichick and Bill Parcells is why he could be a candidate. Trent Baalke got his start as a scout with Bill Parcells, and there was a report that Baalke initially spoke with Parcells about the 49ers head coaching job back in 2011. Mangini's first job was as an offensive assistant in Baltimore. He had caught Belichick's eye previously in Cleveland, and he was subsequently hired as a defensive assistant when Belichick was Parcells's defensive coordinator with the New York Jets.

That is the entire extent of why people think Mangini could be that guy. Mike Sando had this to say earlier this week:

One question I have is whether the 49ers' next head coach is hiding in plain sight. We've heard defensive line coach Jim Tomsula's name, and defensive coordinator Vic Fangio would make sense as well. The noise level in Santa Clara would drop to near zero if either took the job. But when the 49ers added Eric Mangini as an offensive assistant before the 2013 season, I wondered whether they were grooming him as a Harbaugh successor. There is some thought Mangini took the Cleveland job too quickly after the Jets fired him, but he has now worked in multiple other capacities over nearly four full seasons.

Mangini has now coached on both sides of the ball. He has coached under two of the NFL's most successful coaches in Bill Belichick and Harbaugh. He and other former Belichick assistants have been criticized for trying to be like Belichick instead of just being themselves. Enough time has passed for Mangini to reinvent himself. On a side note, Mangini and general manager Trent Baalke were together with the New York Jets under Bill Parcells in the late 1990s.

Coaches can change and improve when they move on to new jobs, so I suppose it is possible Mangini could prove to be a better head coach if he ever gets another opportunity. At the same time, I'm pretty sure everyone here would burn Niners Nation to the ground if Mangini was named the next head coach. It has not been rumored to happen, but somehow it would not shock me if someone got that rumor going at some point.