He is wearing out his welcome in San Francisco, this man with an evil glare in his eye who is a mad scientist. It’s a marriage of tumult, not a relationship that seems mutual between Jim Harbaugh and the 49ers.
He has a chance to win a Super Bowl with the 49ers, having already won an NFC West title, with a 13-3 record in his first season. He has a chance to become one of NFL’s premier coaches, having already led the Niners to Super Bowl XLVII, where they eventually lost 34-31 to the Baltimore Ravens. If you’re a Niners fan, you know you may not have your cake and eat it, too.
As brilliant as he is, Harbaugh isn’t seeing eye to eye with general manager Trent Baalke, even when he has had success in the first three seasons of a $25 million, five-year deal. Having said that, the York family is stuck in a predicament and may eventually have to choose between Baalke and Harbaugh if both men can’t coexist together moving forward. Chances are, Harbaugh may leave the 49ers before his contract expires after the 2015 season. But why on earth would anyone not reconcile and hold on to Harbaugh after he resurrected the 49ers the past few seasons?
If he happens to get fired, it’s going to be the dumbest move since the York family hired Mike Singletary because the 49ers are now built to win it all. There is a feeling around town that the 49ers may part ways with Harbaugh, probably because he has a rocky relationship with the team president and has feuded with many in the organization. Even more glaring than usual are seemingly the many clashes between him and players. This is maybe why the 49ers reportedly listened to the Cleveland Browns discuss a trade for Harbaugh. If Baalke can’t get along with Harbaugh, then he needs to be relieved of his duties. If I had to choose one, I’d keep Harbaugh and not Baalke. Before Harbaugh even arrived, Baalke’s track record wasn’t nearly as impressive. The 49ers went 7-9, 8-8 and 6-10 in three seasons, but now Harbaugh makes him look good. Look at San Francisco now. They are a staggering 37-11-1. That’s what happened when Harbaugh came to town.
There’s no doubting that Harbaugh likes power, and he doesn’t have as much as he wants, but there’s something about his prickly personality that makes him bloom in the NFL. There’s no changing a middle-aged man who is already set in his ways, and when the 49ers hired him, they already knew what they were getting. It’s amazing that the 49ers are now growing tired of Harbaugh just a year after he led this team to the Super Bowl, and now, because of the rift between him and members of the organization, they aren’t sure they want to keep him.
He wants an extension and would like to stay with the franchise long term. That’s about the best thing that can be said about Harbaugh as of now, other than maybe that the 49ers can win another division title and return to the Super Bowl. This is an explanation for why the Niners need not to hesitate on keeping him and sign him to a long-term contract, even if he rubs people the wrong way in the 49ers organization. Cocky as ever, it appears, and maybe it’s just that he shows a frenetic, competitive nature. Whatever it is, he’s a genuine success with the 49ers, whether he’s arrogant or overly confident, whether his job status is uncertain or secured.
Let’s not kid ourselves and realize that he’s ultimately a winner. This team was a mess before he arrived to reshape the franchise, immediately turning losers into winners. What he has established in the past three seasons beyond any doubt, having a fierce and fiery demeanor on the sideline, is a winning formula that not every coach can bring to a franchise, especially not overnight. If not for him, the 49ers likely wouldn’t have reached a conference title game. It’s worth noting that Harbaugh, who led the 49ers to their first conference title game since 1997 back in 2012, is the first coach since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970 to advance deep into the postseason the first three years.
Harbaugh has done so much in his successful NFL coaching career, perhaps that he looks like he wants all the leverage and power in the world. The 49ers are getting good, but an enthusiastic and loquacious coach who comes with lots of baggage is apparently causing friction, and none of that should matter as long as he’s leading the team to new heights. He is not just a good coach. He’s a great football coach. He’s a brilliant football mind. There’s nobody who has been better than Harbaugh, with the exception of the legendary Bill Walsh — not Dennis Erickson, not Mike Nolan and definitely not Singletary. Football is a big-boy’s game, and 49ers players need to wear their big-boy pants, and everybody needs to put their differences behind them in order to get even with the defending champions Seattle Seahawks.
Without question, Harbaugh has a winning personality, and because he hurt people’s feelings in the 49ers’ front office and even went as far to blame the DUI arrest of Aldon Smith on the Seahawks crowd, doesn’t mean he’s a bad guy and needs to be shown the door. With only two seasons left, Harbaugh is capable of amazing things. The issues here are so petty, that both parties are fighting over power. The GM and president want to run the team. But when it comes to coaching, usually coaches want to run the organization and make all the decisions without the owners or people in the front office having input. Harbaugh is at war with the front office, but if the 49ers fire him, they are fools.
The man does win football games. It’s about winning above all else.
As long as he continues to win, no matter how many enemies he has and how many people he pisses off, Harbaugh will reign supreme and will have a job in the NFL.