Marcio Jose Sanchez/ap file photoThe future for Jim Harbaugh seems murky as of late.

Could 49ers, Raiders be bracing for bizarre coach moves?

Even if the 49ers manage to win in New Orleans on Sunday, and that seems like more than a minor stretch, the odds at this stage of the season are pointing toward the playoffs starting with the Niners on the outside.

As for the Raiders, the only odds anyone is laying down for them relate to their prospects of securing the No. 1 overall pick in the draft.

And both teams have a lame-duck coach.

Hmmmmm. You smell that? That's the smell of change. And if these two teams know what's good for them, major change is coming soon.

Although several of his players still imitate his idiotic style with the media, offering terse, monosyllabic responses to perfectly reasonable questions to which fans deserve detailed and thoughtful answers, Jim Harbaugh appears to have lost the locker room.

Tony Sparano doesn't really have a locker room to lose. Sure, the Raiders will publicly say that his hat is in the ring for the job vacated by the firing of Dennis Allen, but let's be real. The Raiders need a name. A big man. A big personality. A big splash.

Jon Gruden? A return engagement? What a story that would be, right? But it ain't going to happen. Gruden would probably rather gargle Cascade dishwasher liquid then work for anyone whose last name is Davis.

Besides, if the 49ers really want to win a championship and are convinced that it's not going to happen with the prickly pear that is Harbaugh, they'll beat the Silver and Black to the punch and hire Gruden themselves.

The source familiar with the team's thinking says the 49ers don't necessarily believe they need a top-shelf name to guide their talent to a title. And Gruden is even more of a celebrity coach than Harbaugh.

But come on. There's no way in hell that Gruden, if approached with the keys to one of the NFL's most storied franchises, loaded with talent as it is when fully healthy and Roger Goodell-eligible, would be able to say no. The TV gig is surely sweet, but a coach is a coach is a coach. And Gruden is a coach.

So where would that leave the Raiders? Glad you asked.

What the Raiders really need is a completely new approach on the sidelines. A taskmaster. A disciplinarian. Somebody who not only knows the league, but knows about the Raiders' strange way of doing business, and whose personality fits in with the bizarre culture of paranoia and overinflated sense of self.

Guess who's probably going to be available this offseason, and has actually worked for, and expressed great admiration for a man named Davis?

Hmmmmm. That would be one Jim Harbaugh.

And what a story THAT would be!

Mychael Urban, a longtime Bay Area-based sportswriter and broadcaster, is the host of “Inside the Bigs,” which airs every Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon on KGMZ “The Game” (95.7 FM).

Jim HarbaughJohn GrudenMychael UrbanTony Sparano

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