Monday, October 17, 2011

"Good Game, Coach"

Since it is one of those "must have" opinions in sports today, and this week, let me just get my take on the table and for the record.

1. Jim Harbaugh was wrong.
2. Jim Harbaugh ran like a girl when it was clear Schwartz had something to say.
3. Schwartz's reputation as a "class act" is not exactly rock solid either.
4. The NFL should fine both coaches a small amount (5k) and be done.
5. Coaches should be allowed to say "I shake hands before the game, not after."

Okay, that's where I stand. Now, something else from the incident that is worth bringing to light. Mike Pereira points out that Harbaugh might well have been aware of Schwartz clowning him during the game from his own sideline. 
As he was being tackled by Patrick Willis, Willis stripped the ball out of Pettigrew’s hands, but Pettigrew was already down. Harbaugh tried to challenge the ruling, but was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct.

While replay did its job on this play, confirming the ruling, Harbaugh attempted to challenge the ruling on the field and was hit with the penalty. Coaches are not allowed to challenge inside of two minutes if they are out of challenges, if they are out of timeouts or if a play is ruled a score.

Harbaugh deserved the penalty, but didn’t deserve the verbal abuse that came from the Lions coach on the other sideline. Schwartz was seen on television mocking Harbaugh by yelling something like, "Know the rules," except with a little off-color language thrown in.

Although Harbaugh denied seeing it, it makes me wonder whether the ill will didn’t start right there. Because with as many television cameras that cover the NFL these days, everybody sees everything. And I’m sure someone must have told him.What's funny, is that a more seasoned coach with a real resume, could pull out the ol' "well, this ain't college, Jimmy Rah Rah" angle on Harbaugh. But who the hell is Jim Schwartz? A nobody, really. So he has no standing or stature to pull that off.

For me, I am fascinated at the undeclared, yet undeniable importance of a post-game ritual that lasts - at best! - 2 seconds. Look at the end of an NFL game, and you'll see a gaggle of vested photographers converge to document the handshake. TV networks will purposely slow walk the ending of their telecast, just to make sure they get the "handshake" on TV.

Hell, it's not the Yalta Conference. It's a handshake!

Bottom line is this: it shouldn't be so hard for coaches, competitive or "fiery" as they may be, to share a respectful game concluding handshake with each other and then part ways.

What Harbaugh did would have been unacceptable in any situation. He's lucky it took Schwartz a second to realize Jimmy College was being a total jackass, and intentionally showing him up. He's also lucky he didn't get dotted in the eye.

It doesn't make Schwartz right. He can be a jumpy jackass of his own. But Harbaugh is going to be a targeted man by the rest of the league from here on out.


  1. If I am the commish, I fine both coaches but put the higher fine on Schwartz. There is no rules against Harbaugh's sin on being a disrespectful douche bag. There are rules on Schwartz's sin of attempting to instigate a fight.

  2. Can't believe it's after 4 CDT on Monday and I still read more about this non-story.

  3. One thing nags at me -- would Lombardi react the same way as either of these jerks? ("Next time you make a touchdown, act like you've been there before.")

    I disagree that the handshake is worthless. It's supposed to represent that while they do battle on the field, they realize it's a game, and should be played with respect, not carelessness. If the coach is good, he'd be able to shake his opponent's hand after a victory or a defeat -- as both are valuable in their own right.

    tbone -- While I agree, it's surprising to see how big people have blown this up, it is a story -- that neither Harbaugh or Schwartz is that great of a coach right now. Both lack class and respect.

  4. terrible job by lions fans not recognizing/acknowledging which of the two has done more for this state, to date

    other than that, i'll echo exactly what tbone said...find something more worthy to talk about, like the fucking world series

  5. First thing I've disagreed with you Czabe:

    Like you said, it's a formality handshake. The Lions coach was way outta line by running after him, then getting shoved aside, then running BACK at him. Oh, and you keep mentioning Harbaugh didn't look at him after the handshake: Harbaugh totally faced him down and told him to get outta his face. Coaches, like players, are allowed to hate their opposition.

    I've seen the slooow motion replay that TV outlets like ESPN are loving to show and it looks like a shove. There is no sportsmanship here, so he shook his hand hard; you're a target? It's not like the Lions coach as actually going to enjoy the handshake.

    Call it what it really is: Lions coach was frustrated and upset at their loss. If the Lions had won, he wouldn't have done a thing and probably joked about it at the press conference.

  6. Hey Adam -- look at the pic Czabe posted at 10AM this morning, a little over 2 hours after your post. Sorry, but again -- going back to Lombardi's "Next time you make a touchdown, act like you've been there before." -- Harbaugh looks like a little kid that just got his first BB gun, rather than a professional coach. A professional coach would be happy, but he would save the jubilation for the locker room.

    Not saying Schwarz is any better, or even good in this instance -- I'm saying, they both are morons as a result of this.

  7. Hey Matt, you and Czabe can check yourselves. Harbaugh is 6 GAMES into his NFL coaching career, CLUE - HE AIN'T LOMBARDI, HE AIN'T LANDRY, and HE AIN'T SHULA. Not yet, so don't hold punk Schwartz up on that pedestal either after 2+ years.

  8. I do wish people would realize what I've been saying this whole time, so I'll boil it down for you.

    Schartz = Harbaugh = IDIOTS

    They're both wrong.
    They're both idiots.
    They both deserved fines.
    They both behaved like little children.
    They both lack the class and respect it takes to be a good coach.
    They both have plenty of failing to do before they learn the respect and class that it takes to be a good coach.

    Stop assuming that I'm a Schartz fan just because I point out that Harbaugh is just as dumb in this instance.

  9. Jim Schwartz seems to be missing some chromosomes with those funny eyes...