Jim Harbaugh

Harbaugh issues “ice bucket challenge” to SF beat writers, and that wasn’t the weirdest thing about today’s press conference

Jim Harbaugh 49ers

This was probably the wackiest Jim Harbaugh press conference I can recall for a couple reasons, but let’s go with the obvious reason first. There’s something called the “ice bucket challenge.” Most of you have probably heard of it or seen people dumping buckets of ice water on their heads for ALS.

Harbaugh knew a question about this was coming today, and he was ready.

Q: Are you going to be dumping a bucket of ice water on your head anytime soon?

Harbaugh: Yes. I’m very excited about that. As usual, late to the internet party on that. Twitter and Instagram, etc. I always seem to be behind, not on the cutting edge, the cusp of those things happening. I’ve heard about that. Not taking Pete Carroll’s challenge, though. Haven’t done a challenge with him. Looking forward to doing that. I know just who I’m going to challenge. I can give the challenge to how many people?

Q: Three.

Harbaugh: Three people? OK. I was going challenge (laughs) … I was going to challenge Matt Maiocco, Eric Branch, the Cohns, Matty Barrows, Cam Inman, Bill (Williamson), that’s more than three. Taylor (Price). How about we just … I’ll challenge the San Francisco beat writers, how’s that? And president Barack Obama.

(Harbaugh was informed that Obama already accepted the challenge).

Harbaugh: Has he already? I challenge George W. Bush. President Bush.

Q: Did your brother John challenge you?

Harbaugh: Apparently. I’m just finding this stuff out. The trending things, I’m never right up to speed on the trending things.

Q: What’s the other challenge you have going with Pete Carroll?

Harbaugh: I think you know what that one is. The big one.

Harbaugh was serious, and apparently anyone who told Bob Lange they accepted Harbaugh’s challenge is going to dump a bucket of ice water on top of his or her head 15 minutes before today’s open practice at Levi’s Stadium.

I said yes, and I’m guessing I’ll have the photographic and/or video evidence to prove it. And even though there’s a breeze here in Santa Clara, I’ve never been happier to not be at Candlestick Park.


There was a very odd exchange between an unknown member of the media and Harbaugh. The lesson: proper enunciation is key in situations like these.

Q: Were you telling the team anything different based they might be overhyped, feeding off the crowd, anything like that?

(I listened to this guy’s question at least three times. It sounded a lot like he said “beating off the crowd,” but I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt … begrudgingly.)

Harbaugh: Beating off the crowd?

Q: Feeding off the crowd.

Harbaugh: Feeding off the crowd.

Q: Are you telling them anything differently in terms of game prep, anything like that?

Harbaugh: No. No. Nothing significantly different than another game. Hope they’re excited. Hope they’re hyped. Hope the crowd’s hyped. I think they’ll be very excited.

Not as excited as the beat writers were after today’s press conference, with the stuff about ice bucket challenges at the end. Harbaugh seemed pretty excited, too.

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