Jim Harbaugh coached his last game for the Niners today, a game his team won despite the fact that the whole world knew he was on a plane to Ann Arbor the moment the whistle blew. He leaves San Francisco with a record of 44-19-1, with three NFC title game appearances (the first of which came in his debut season, with a team that had gone 6-10 the year prior) and one Super Bowl appearance to his name. He went 8-8 this season with half his vaunted defense either injured or suspended. Before he arrived in San Francisco, the Niners were cast adrift in a sea of green puke, suffering through a lost decade with Dennis Erickson, Mike Nolan, and Mike Singletary all taking turns to fuck everything up. And then Harbaugh came in and turned everything around, and now he is gone, because the Niners are fucking stupid. Just as stupid and arrogant as Jerry was when he let Jimmy walk.
There is no sane football-related reason for the Niners to let Harbaugh leave. Apparently, they're letting Harbaugh go simply because he was so insufferable to deal with, which … fine. I get why you might wear out after having Captain Jawclench as the head man for four years. But this man is a football coach, and football coaches are, by their very nature, insufferable. They work endless hours. They are humorless and often distant and aloof. They are endlessly demanding. Only a batshit crazy person would thrive in that job, and so Jim Harbaugh fits into the mold nicely. I don't know what other temperament you would like out of a head coach. What, you want him to be less intense? Fine; watch him get run over.
The other option, of course, is that the Niners don't wanna pay Harbaugh $8 million a year, and that they're letting everyone know about his repellent personality as an easy way to divert attention from this fact. NFL teams will suffer many things in the name of winning, though, so I find it amusing that Jed York and/or Trent Baalke would supposedly rather turn away a proven coach for NOTHING rather than deal with him socially on a day-to-day basis. Excellent NFL head coaches are rare. Even the good coaches are kinda shitty in certain ways (Andy Reid, etc). It can take decades to find one that knows what the fuck he's doing, and now the Niners are just gonna let that go and start all over again with … JOSH MCDANIELS?! Jesus. I mean, honestly. As if dealing with that little shit will somehow be heavenly ambrosia by comparison. The Niners will spend years trying to find an adequate replacement for Harbaugh.
But perhaps that isn't even the goal. Perhaps, now that they have their new stadio-mall in exurb hell, none of this matters. Harbaugh chose the Niners over many, many suitors, and they managed to get a stadium out of his remarkable run of success. The hard work is over now! They can sit back in Santa Clara, save a few million on McDaniels or Adam Gase, and let everything go to shit if it so pleases them, because the fire hose of money is turned on full blast now.
And perhaps that was always the end goal. As a matter of fact, the BEST CASE scenario here is that the Niners are fucking stupid. The worst case scenario is that they are cheap, manipulative, and indifferent to on-field success. After all, Niners fans will have to spend their remaining years trudging to Santa Clara to watch a shitty team that can seemingly be undone at any moment by internal political squabbles. There's nothing Harbaugh could have put Trent Baalke through that could be worse than that.
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