Consider this: if not for two horrible mistakes by a punt return man last year, Jim Harbaugh would be going to his second straight Super Bowl.
In his first two years as head coach in the NFL.
It's the greatest hire in the history of the NFL. Period.
And it's not like he took over a "stocked" team. This was an underperforming group, with a quarterback widely considered a "bust."
Now, he's going to the big game, after pulling off one of the gutsiest moves in recent memory. Benching a winning QB, for an unproven 2nd year flyer, mid-season.
Whatever motivated the Eagles to overpay Chip Kelly to the tune of $32.5 million for 5 years (drunken stupidity?), he should really kick back at least 20% to Harbaugh as a defacto "commission."
I don't know how Kelly will be in Philly, but I know this: there's only one Jimmy Hard-paw.
This dude is incredible. And his team is a perfect reflection of his slow-boil intensity. The last guy was a great sound bite. This one can control his emotions and lift his team up in the process.
Down 17-0 with the Georgia Dome on "tilt" Sunday, they calmly clawed their way back off the mat and started throwing haymakers.
That's not X's and O's. That's the force of personality.
Not that Harbaugh's chalkboard acumen is lacking, or his ability to spot and utilize talent (I mean, look at how good they have been drafting since he got there!). He's got an amazing combination of instinct, motivational skills, organization and drive.
When exactly, do you think, the Harbaugh Niners will NOT be a force to be reckoned with again in the NFC?
On the Falcons front, I do feel bad for Matt Ryan. Nice guy. Excellent quarterback. Two big mistakes in that second half that should never happen. Then with a left shoulder crushed, he fizzled at the end. He'll be back. But I was rooting for him.
Ditto for Tony Gonzalez, who goes out ALMOST "on top."
Hard to believe, because he certainly LOOKS like he could play another year. But the guy can walk off the field, no limps, no drool cup, handsome face, and walk right into Canton.
Don't look back, Tony.
In the 2nd half, timeouts are gold. Pure. Fucking. Gold.
They are NEVER worth using to avoid a 5 yard penalty. Ever.
The Falcons used one that way.
So instead of being able to force the Niners into a "zero time" possession where only 15 or seconds would be used on 3 straight running plays, they were essentially able to expire the clock.
Once again: when will coaches come to understand this?
How is instant replay working for all of you Replay Fanatics?
So there was a HUGE call waiting to be "corrected" in the Harry Douglas non-catch. To many of us (me, and everyone else in the world besides Terry McAuley and Mike Pereira) it looked pretty clearly that the ball started coming loose, and only was corralled with the DEFINITE assistance of something called THE FUCKING GROUND!
Now, part of the problem, is that they have managed to write the rules so backward-ass confusing, that nobody really knows what is or is not a catch. Vague terms like "maintain control" and "complete the process" and blah blah blah.
In the old days, it was simple. Keep the fucking ball from touching the ground. PERIOD.
But now, who knows?
And instant replay was as useless as tits on a bull, because when the play on the field was ruled a catch, and when a human being is required to break the obviously visually plain to see bad news to a rabid sold out home crowd like in this case, that human being is just going to fucking turn to mush and say "eh, inconclusive."
Or something. Because until we have robots make these video reviews, the dude who still has to sleep at night without a gun under his pillow, is not going to make the TECHNICALLY right call.
It's a system so stupid, time consuming and worthless, I have no idea why anybody still thinks we need it, or that it even works.
Steve Czaban is one of the most experienced daily sports talk radio hosts in the nation. In his 18 year professional career, Steve has worked for all three major syndicated sports talk networks (Sporting News, ESPN Radio, Fox Sports Radio), filled in as a guest host for popular national host Jim Rome, and has worked locally in markets including Santa Barbara, Chicago, Milwaukee, Charlotte and Washington D.C.