Coaching fraternity? Jim Harbaugh don’t need no stinkin’ coaching fraternity! In a game where the Niners won in spite of an incredible amount of penalties, including an “unsportsmanlike conduct” flag against Harbaugh for challenging a Lions TD, it was Harbaugh’s sportsmanship that will have the NFL world buzzing this evening … even though it should be the upstart 49ers’ 5-1 record and remarkable comeback win in Detroit that everyone should be talking about.
After the latest “most improbable win of the season,” Harbaugh was extremely fired up. He jumped up and down, yanked his shirt up over his stomach (something we’ve seen Niners like the wonderfully maniacal Blake Costanzo do before after wins). Harbaugh also let Jim Schwartz know how he felt, yelling and eschewing the normal limp postgame handshake for an emphatic slap-shake, followed by a nice little smack to Schwartz’s back.
The Lions’ head coach was not amused.
Schwartz muttered something to Harbaugh, and Harbaugh may have said something back. He probably did, since Schwartz took off after Harbaugh, who was running toward the tunnel which takes everyone off the field and to the locker rooms. By then the postgame handshake had morphed into a full-fledged situation — not quite a melee, maybe a fracas. Here’s the video (until the powers that be take it down):
One of the best parts of the tiff was Anthony Davis’ reaction. Davis made some mistakes in this game, but he also showed the same nasty streak throughout that’s marked the 49ers’ unbelievable transformation from an irrelevant team to one with extraordinary mental toughness. Anyway, Davis ran in and pushed Schwartz away with a look that said, “Oh, coach. You know I can rip each of your limbs from your body if I wanted to.”
49ers PR Director Bob Lange made sure to get Davis out of the picture quickly.
A monumental win, to put it lightly
The Niners entered this year ignored by most in the media and throughout the league, and everyone else looked upon them with sympathy.
Poor guys, the lockout really set them back. Now they still have to start Alex Smith, they have no time to prepare … another rebuilding year in San Francisco.
Now the 49ers go into the bye week knowing that when they return to the field for a game that counts, they’ll face the Cleveland Browns at what should be a VERY loud Candlestick Park, and they’ll have a 2-game lead at worst in their extremely mediocre division.
Mediocre except for the Niners, who, like Harbaugh, don’t care what people think of them. And just like Harbaugh has nothing to apologize for in regards to today’s ridiculous, petty situation with Schwartz (petty on Schwartz’s side — he should work on figuring out why Matthew Stafford looked half-asleep at the end of the game instead of worrying about coaching “protocol”), the 49ers shouldn’t look up at anyone right now. They just beat a 5-0 team — a squad everyone was rushing to crown as the league’s next great team — on the road, in a contest where they were flagged 15 times for 120 yards. The 49ers have forced their way into the conversation, and you don’t do that by being polite and waiting your turn.
This win was beyond huge, since at times it seemed like they were up against the Lions, their extremely loud crowd and the officials. Stay tuned for some posts in the coming 24 hours that discuss how the Niners did it (hint: the defense played a fairly important role), and how they’ve taken on the personality of their exuberant — and very tough — coach.