"Coach Lombardi was great in his day and will always be looked on with great respect," read the league's statement on the change. "But we must adapt with the times and recognize the true greatest coach of all-time: Jim Harbaugh, who led Stanford to a victory over the ACC champion in the Discover Orange Bowl."
In addition to the Discover Orange Bowl win, the NFL cited Harbaugh's long list of accomplishments:
- two Pioneer League championships while coaching at I-AA University of San Diego
- an 8-5 season at Stanford in 2009
- an appearance in the 2009 Brut Sun Bowl
- a 29-21 career coaching record
- being the "must-have" football coach of the 2010-2011 off-season
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said putting Harbaugh's name in place of Lombardi's is very deserved.
"Teams are talking about paying him $6 or $7 million a year! He has to be great to be commanding that kind of money," said the commissioner. "I know we won't regret making this decision, like early last year when we renamed the Lombardi Trophy the Josh McDaniels Trophy or in 2006 when we called it the Mangenius Medal."
Harbaugh said he is still considering his coaching future and is humbled by the honor.
His brother, Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh, is less enthused.
"He's the genius? Jim's the smart guy?" said John. "He beat an ACC team in a bowl game with a great quarterback and now he's the greatest coach ever? Give me a break. Let's see him make the NFL playoffs three years in a row with a turd at quarterback and then maybe he'll get close to my level. If they're calling it the Harbaugh Trophy now, it should have 'John' in parenthesis in front of it so everyone knows it's not for Jim."