It won’t take long to summarize the conclusion of the 49’ers-Lions game on Sunday in Detroit.
Jim Harbaugh was completely out of line.
Make that COMPLETELY — for emphasis.
And while Jim Schwartz probably could have just turned away and saved his tongue-lashing for the post-game press conference, I can’t imagine there’s a coach in the league who would have just ignored the Harbaugh shenanigans.
Some folks around the country are just looking to pin this on Jim Harbaugh, the man. Fair enough. After all, he has to be accountable for his actions.
But what happened on Sunday is just another example of the evolution of sports over the last decade or so. Something happened at the turn of the century. Maybe it was that Y2K thing that never really happened to all the computers…maybe it re-hard-wired everyone’s brain. I don’t know. But something happened. These days, everything needs to have an exclamation point on the end!!!
You can’t just dunk the basketball anymore. You have to dunk it and strike a pose. You can’t just hit a home run anymore. You have to stare at it, flick your bat and skip off in the general direction of first base, never quite taking a direct route because that extends your trip around the bases. You can’t just run into the end zone with the ball. You have to dive in, head first, and do some sort of Olympic-looking somersault.
Jim Harbaugh could have just strolled across the field the way he probably did the week before in San Francisco when his 49’ers b-slapped the Tampa Bay Bucs.
But for some reason, he decided to hop and jump around like Kevin Bacon in Footloose, a complete no-no in the NFL, where the coaches typically greet one another at midfield with a handshake, a half-hug, and a kind word or two about the effort displayed by “the other” team.
And then, the biggest no-no occurred after the game.
Harbaugh just couldn’t say “I’m sorry”.
Forget the bush-league antics at the end. That was nothing compared to Harbaugh’s reluctance to simply apologize afterwards. He TRIED to apologize, of course. It reminded me of Arthur Fonzarelli in the old “Happy Days” show. Remember what happened when The Fonz would try to say “I’m sorry…”? He’d say, “I’m sor…” — “I’m so…” — “I’m sorr…” The Fonz could never quite pull the trigger on BOTH words.
That was Jim Harbaugh on Sunday in the aftermath of “Firm-Handshake-Gate”. “Hey, look, I definitely grabbed his hand a little too firmly, no doubt about that,” the winner said in his post-game press conference.
Keep going, Jim, you’re almost there.
C’mon Jim, you can do it.
Just say, “Hey, look, I got caught up in the moment. That was definitely not the way to go about my business at the end of the game and I need to apologize to Jim Schwartz for that.”
But he couldn’t do it.
What a joke.
I guess because it’s football and all, a grown man can’t say “I’m sorry” to another grown man. Maybe it would send the wrong message to his players? Maybe other coaches around the league would snicker at Harbaugh “giving in” to the pressures of the media?
An apology was due.
Simple enough, really.
An apology would have gone a long way in putting the whole issue to bed. Coach wins the game. Winning coach acts like a jack-ass. Losing coach gets mad. Winning coach thinks it through and apologizes for acting like the high schooler who just got accepted to his preferred college. Winning coach apologizes. Winning coach actually looks good for taking the high road and saying “I’m sorry”. Case closed.
I had no reason to root AGAINST the 49’ers heading into Sunday’s game. I, like most of the country, was eager to see how San Francisco performed in Detroit two days ago and there’s no doubt the 49’ers proved they’re for real with that win over the previously undefeated Lions.
But I’ll probably be rooting against Jim Harbaugh for the rest of the season.
Actually, I’ll DEFINITELY be rooting against Jim Harbaugh for the rest of the season!!!!!!!!
Those exclamation points are important.
And no, I’m not sorry about rooting against the 49’ers, just in case you were going to ask.