Todd Bowles isn’t letting the ongoing speculation about his job ruin his holiday.
Bowles, who is signed through 2020, wouldn’t address his future after Pro Football Talk reported that the Jets plan to pursue Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh for the position Bowles currently holds.
“I look forward to the next game and the next day,” Bowles said during a Monday morning conference call.
He was asked if he’s thinking about his future.
"Not really, until the season is over," he said.
Jets CEO Christopher Johnson issued a statement Monday morning denying the Harbaugh report.
“Todd Bowles is our head coach,” Johnson said. “There is no truth to the report of our interest in Jim Harbaugh."
But it’s been widely reported that the Jets likely will fire Bowles after their regular-season finale Sunday at New England. The Jets have 11 losses for the third straight season and have missed the playoffs in each of Bowles' four seasons as their coach. His record in that span is 24-39.
True to form, Bowles wouldn’t discuss the tenuous hold he has on his job. He also wouldn’t say whether he hopes to return for a fifth season. “I do not talk about my job,” Bowles said.
When pushed further, he said, “Personally, I do not speak about my next job. I worry about tomorrow when Christmas comes. I’ll worry about New England on Sunday. I’ll go from there.”
Bowles would not offer a reaction to the new report about Harbaugh. “I don’t have one,” he said. “That’s probably a question for the person that reported it.”
When asked if he’s bothered by all the talk about his job, which has been going on since the Jets’ 31-point home loss to the Bills in Week 10, Bowles replied, “I just worry about the next game.”
Although ownership didn’t give a playoffs-or-bust edict before the season, Johnson wanted to see progress. The Jets need to win their final game just to match their record from the previous two seasons: 5-11.
After splitting their first six games this season, the Jets have dropped eight of their last nine, including five straight at home. They continue to be a team that lacks discipline, focus and composure and struggles to finish games.
It’s gotten to the point that it would be a surprise if Bowles returns as coach. Johnson's statement did not address his future with the team.
According to Pro Football Talk, the Jets have been doing some background work on Harbaugh for about four weeks.
Harbaugh, the former 49ers and Stanford coach, has stated publicly that he plans to stay at Michigan. But the report said the Jets would pay him more than the $7 million he earns coaching in Ann Arbor.
The Jets twice pursued Harbaugh before hiring Rex Ryan and then Bowles.
A number of coaches have been linked to the Jets when the position becomes vacant, including Jim Harbaugh’s brother John. But the Ravens announced over the weekend that John Harbaugh will return as their coach.
Other possible candidates include former Packers coach Mike McCarthy, Saints offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael, Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, Titans offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur, Rams quarterbacks coach Zac Taylor, Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy and Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley.
The usually reserved Bowles broke from character after Sunday’s 44-38 overtime loss to the Packers, a game in which the Jets led by 15 points in the fourth quarter.
Bowles criticized the officiating after the Jets were whistled for 16 penalties for a franchise-record 172 yards. He said he thought the Jets “were playing two teams . . . the Packers and the striped shirts.”
The Jets were flagged eight times for 109 yards in the final 14:43 of regulation and overtime. Seven of the penalties were on the defense.
Bowles didn’t want to rehash what happened or retract anything he said after re-watching the game.
“I said what I said,” he said. “I meant everything I said. All has been said, so I’m done with it.”