Jim Harbaugh is a polarizing individual, and your stance on him usually rests on either extreme of the love/hate divide. I suppose that will happen when the head coach in question is flapping wildly all game while beating officials with his headset (mild exaggeration, though he’s not far away from that).
Me? I’m endlessly fascinated with him, because he is a man of unique yet still simple pleasures. He adores Judge Judy, he wears a marker around his neck that’s never actually used as a marker, and he doesn’t change his damn clothes.
That last part may also be an exaggeration, but again only a slight one. Why, just look back almost exactly a year ago, when Harbaugh wore his game/practice attire to a Super Bowl press conference alongside his suited up brother, and he then proceeded to wear the same duds while out for a walk with his family, and again the following week on the golf course.
I get it. From the players to their coaches and the guy who fixes the stadium vending machines, there are superstitions everywhere around football, and more broadly any sport ever played. But Harbaugh’s dedication to his football costume has gone next level, and yesterday his wife Sarah, who doesn’t approve of the practice, took to the airwaves for a sort of intervention.
“I’ve thrown (his pants) away many of times. I threw them out and when he went to the combine, he found a Walmart. They were $8. $8!”
Never change, Jeem.
Funny stuff aside, even if you despise Harbaugh, if his 49ers win this weekend denying what he’s done over his first three years as a head coach won’t be possible. Actually, it’s already impossible.
He’s already the first coach to appear in three straight conference championships to begin his career, and now doing the same with two straight Super Bowls would be incredible. As promising as Colin Kaepernick is, remember that Harbaugh has done this with a quarterback who entered this season having not even logged a full year’s worth of starts yet. But quickly he’s been developed by his former quarterback head coach, along with the offense around him.
While we’re at it, also remember that Harbaugh and offensive coordinator Greg Roman have orchestrated this year’s run without Michael Crabtree for much of the season, leaving Kaepernick without a primary target he had a year ago. And now in the playoffs, they’ve advanced without Carlos Rogers, their top corner (more on him directly below).
A combination of teaching and adapting has led to Harbaugh’s 38-13 record including the playoffs over three years, a record which includes wins with two entirely different offenses tailored to both Kaepernick’s strengths, and those of Alex Smith before him. Harbaugh is also just the third coach in history to win at least one playoff game in each of his first three years.
Hate Harbaugh because of his awful ballet, or the lack of depth in his closet. Like Harbaugh because he wins football games.
More notes, reading, stray thoughts, and other such randomness
Carlos Rogers thinks he’ll play
There are many injuries heading into championship weekend, though few with doubt. You’ve well aware of the mountain of broken bodies in the Broncos-Patriots game, but they’re all either out for the season, or definitely done for this week.
Then there’s Carlos Rogers, the 49ers’ best corner whose been out for the past two weeks with a hamstring injury. But yesterday he said these sort of confident words:
“I think I’m going (to play),” he said Tuesday. “You know, it depends on how practice goes. No setbacks and I’ll be out there.”
The Niners have soldiered on just fine without Rogers, with Parrish Cox sliding in to handle slot duties while Tramaine Brock and Tarell Brown manage the outside. But Rogers’ return would be significant as they head to Seattle, and attempt to limit Russell Wilson after he finished with only 103 passing yards on nine completions against the Saints.
Still playing fake football?
You’re an addict, and a dedicated one. The playoff version of fake football isn’t nearly as popular, partly because given the sometimes unhealthy amount of energy invested in setting lineups throughout the regular season, there’s a bit of mental fatigue come January.
But for those who are still chugging along, Rotoworld’s Mike Clay breaks down the likely top performers during Championship Sunday, including a problematic note regarding the Broncos’ backfield.
Last week, we suggested that Moreno would see near two-thirds of the Broncos’ carries during the postseason. He saw 68 percent (23 total) against San Diego, which suggests our expectations were on track. That’s the good news. The concerning news is that, as a team, Denver has just one rushing score over its last five games.
Reggie Wayne will still be a beast in 2014, says Reggie Wayne
Reggie Wayne tore his ACL back on Oct. 20, so he’s nearly three months into his recovery now. How’s it going so far, Reggie?
“Knee is great. Knee is so far, so good. It’s moving forward from there”
“I can tell you that Reggie Wayne, as I’m speaking in the third person, has never lacked confidence,” he said. “I’m very, very, very confident I will come back better than I was.”
(Dated but required Seinfeld reference must follow…)
That confidence is nice, but considering his age (Wayne turned 35 a few months ago) the far more realistic outcome is a healthy Wayne coming back to provide solid support behind the quickly emerging T.Y. Hilton. And if that’s what happens here, Andrew Luck will be even more dangerous, and his ballooning interception total we saw in the playoffs should decline back down to its normal regular-season level when he doesn’t have to force so many throws. Should.
Just imagine what would happen if Luck was given a consistent backfield.
Oldie = goodie
This video is old-ish, or at least it is by the standards of Internet time. But I stumbled over it while perusing Youtube dot come, and if you haven’t seen it and you’re looking at a spare eight minutes, it gives you an idea of the intense off-field preparation that goes into becoming the league’s foremost shutdown cornerback who will very much continue in that capacity this Sunday.
The line that stood out immediately came when Richard Sherman said if he somehow fell to the draft’s final rounds, he had teams saying he would be drafted as a wide receiver.
Also cool: “I’m showing them what they want to see. I’m giving them an illusion of sorts”
Larry Fitzgerald does not feel heat
The offseason travels of Larry Fitzgerald are always entertaining. One week he’s climbing a damn iceberg, and the next he’ll probably be on Venus or something.
This week it’s a more standard yet still pretty cool trip: he’s in Australia taking in the Australian Open. But I’d like you to look at the picture below, and see if you notice something…
It’s insanely hot at the Australian Open right now, and some would even say inhumanely. On the court players are fainting, water bottles and shoes are melting, backsides are being burned on uncovered seats, and organizers have been criticized for forcing matches to continue in the heat of the day.
Yet there’s Larry Fitz, just chillin’ in his jeans. He fears nothing.