1 – Hi, My name is Jim. I was recently hired on as head coach of the San Francisco 49ers. I left a cush job at Stanford with a potentially Heisman winning quarterback to take the NFL gig. I was torn over the decision to do so, yet it’s one I made with little regret.
I’m a feisty character. I hail from a football family. Heck, I even played for Mike Ditka. It was my destiny to revive one of the most storied franchises in NFL history: the San Francisco 49ers. Most prognosticators thought my Niners were destined for another losing season, yet I’ve led them to a 5-1 start and right now, we appear to be playoff-bound.
What I’m trying to say is… I’m a badass. I proved that by beating the previously undefeated Detroit Lions in their own house. So what if I had a “who’s the man” moment? That’s my style. Brash. Take it or leave it. I refuse to apologize for my youthful exuberance. Perhaps I took the post-game handshake too lightly but I’m a Harbaugh. That’s what we do.
2 – Hi, my name is Jim and I’m pissed. What ever happened to sportsmanship and respect for the game of football? Of course I’m upset my team lost a game it shouldn’t have, but I want my damn handshake. I deserve it. I’m the head coach of the most promising young team in the league, your Detroit Lions. Who the hell does this rookie coach think he is, jumping around like a schoolgirl and chest-bumping his players after a regular season victory? Act like you’ve been there before. A little professionalism would be nice.
3 – Hi, my name is Jim. I knew better than to show up a colleague. Quality NFL coaches are hard to come by and I’m fortunate to have the job. The last thing I want to do is ostracize myself from the coaching community. I should have treated my victory over Detroit as if it were just another win, which it was. I apologize to my opponent and should never have lifted my shirt, showing my frightfully un-tanned belly, while jumping for joy. That’s a side of me I care never to show again. From now on, as I continue to compile wins in this league, I vow to behave like more of a gentleman. My most humble apologies.
4- Hi, my name is Jim. Okay, so I overreacted. Look, my previously undefeated team played their asses off. I wanted to show my locker room that I possess the same intensity they show me every Sunday. We’re good and we know it. That last thing I wanted was an opposing coach taking our efforts lightly. So I probably shouldn’t have chased him down the field and nearly into his locker room to speak my mind. I was at a loss. I let my emotions get the best of me like so many coaches have done in the past. I sincerely hope Coach Harbaugh, and his 49ers, make the playoffs so that perhaps, we can meet them again and ahem… exact a little revenge.
The moral of this story is that Jim Harbaugh and Jim Schwartz were both right and wrong. Although Harbaugh had every right to be excited about winning a big ballgame, he was wrong, or at the very least inappropriate, for not controlling his emotions in front of a colleague. Save that for the locker room. Jim Schwartz had every right to be upset about Harbaugh’s frivolity. He had just lost a big game and felt he was being showed up, however, that doesn’t excuse him from chasing his adversary all the way downfield to make his point.
Emotions get the best of us in the heat of the moment. That’s why we love sports. But it’s how we act, or choose not to act, in those situations that define us.
All four Jims were right and wrong on Sunday. We all know why. They should too.