Monday, October 17, 2011

Harbaugh-Schwartz: "Handshake-Gate"

First of all, I think it's a little disappointing that we're at a time in which a post-game exchange between two head coaches overshadows San Francisco's road win over previously undefeated Detroit. The 49ers came into Detroit and got a big win over the Lions, who were riding high after their primetime win over Chicago on Monday Night.

I can somewhat understand the angle from both Jim Harbaugh and Jim Schwartz in this situation. The buzz out of Detroit has been louder than ever. For Jim Harbaugh to come into Detroit and get a road win of this magnitude in his 6th game as an NFL Head Coach certainly merits a high level of excitement. Did Harbaugh cross some sort of un-drawn line between contained excitement and over-the-top exuberance? Possibly.

But just as @zheilprin tweeted, "Isn't Jim Schwartz the guy who does that fist pump after every win? You'd think he'd understand a coach being a little fired up after a win"

I completely agree with this tweet. You can most certainly bet that if the Lions had won this game and improved to 6-0, Schwartz would have done his little "fist pump" routine prior to running over and exchanging words with Harbaugh. While a fist pump isn't the same thing as Harbaugh's child-at-Chuck E. Cheese-like, albeit belly-exposing celebration, Schwartz needs to understand a coach being fired up after a win like that. Schwartz's Lions may have been 5-0 prior to this game, but he went 2-14 in his first year and 6-10 in his second. While it may have been an improvement over Rod Marinell's Lions, it isn't like Schwartz doesn't know what losing feels like...

I think what we saw after this game was the clear, black and white separation between the winning coach and the losing coach. Obviously in the NFL, the winning coach is excited and the losing coach is upset, sometimes crushed. By losing in this fashion, on a late TD drive by San Fran, Schwartz was obviously crushed.

Like I said, Harbaugh could have toned it down and waited until he got into the locker room to celebrate like a child, but honestly, why should he? His players were surely just as excited as he was, why should a head coach have to follow a certain code to contain his excitement? He's an excitable guy who's proud and passionate about his football team. Little skirmishes and ego clashes happen between the whistles on the field all the time; let's not allow a handshake after the whistle overshadow what happened on the field Sunday... The 49ers won a big game. Period.

(Here's the video, if you haven't seen already: )

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