By Jeff Girod
“Yes, there’s no question in my mind that there was a pass interference,” Jim Harbaugh told reporters immediately after the game. He was still fuming about it days later on a radio show for KBWF-FM:
“It could occur in the first play of the game. It could occur on the last play of the game, or any play in between. That’s the rules of football. You let ’em play or let ’em get away with something. Which would you rather have? Let’s play the rules of the game . . . If there’s a penalty, then it’s a penalty—doesn’t matter what kind of game . . . It’s the rules of football. If it’s a penalty, you call it. If you see it, you call it. That’s how I feel about it.”
Jim, you make a lot of salient points (or one point over and over again). But Jim? Jim? Yo, Jimmy!? Stop talking. You sound like a 4-year-old who dropped her ice cream cone.
One gets the feeling that even had the 49ers won the Super Bowl, Jim would be upset that the victory parade didn’t include enough confetti. Or that during Jim’s celebratory trip to Disneyland, he didn’t get to meet Dumbo.
Forget Jim’s “rules of football,” here are rules for everything else: Win or lose, don’t cry about it afterward. Seriously, I’ve spent more time fretting over that Go Daddy commercial where Bar Rafaeli sucks face with a nerd.
America loves football because we love winners. That’s why Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees are so popular. We’ll even support a perennial loser if he’s lovable.
But you know what America can’t stand? Whiners. And Coach Jim Harbaugh is the all-pro MVP of whiners. The more he talks, the less anybody gives a shit.
Hall of Fame coach Paul Brown said it best: “When you win, say nothing. When you lose, say less.”
Never mind that Jim Harbaugh was coaching against his brother who had just experienced winning the Super Bowl, the greatest moment of his life. Jim would rather his brother felt like he cheated his way to his life’s crowning achievement. (Maybe that’s why John Harbaugh told David Letterman that he still hadn’t talked to Jim more than 5 days later.)
You think the Super Bowl was unfair? Ask the Atlanta Falcons if they think their playoff game against the 49ers was fair three weeks ago. One of Harbaugh’s players mugged a Falcons receiver almost exactly the same way so Jim’s 49ers could win.
Harbaugh knows better than anybody than to whine about holding. He’s a former NFL quarterback. There’s holding on every NFL play. I’m holding right now. You want the referees to throw a flag on that, too, Jim?
If the 49ers are as unstoppable as Harbaugh thinks they are, come back and win the Super Bowl next year. But don’t cry about how some skinny guy in knee socks and a Footlocker uniform should have thrown a yellow hankie to gift-wrap the Super freakin‘ Bowl.
That’s not how football works. More importantly, that’s not how our society works.
Everybody cheats. Heck, take a look at corporate America. This country’s biggest cheaters are our most successful role models: Bill Clinton, Steve Jobs, every person who has ever worked at a bank.
As Americans, we expect a certain amount of gray area. We embrace it. Or do you really think your iPhone and Nike running shoes are being manufactured in some well-lit American factory where everyone earns a fair wage and nobody is under 12?
Does it make it right? Does it matter?
If it bothers you that much, sew all of your own clothing and go live in the woods. And if you’re Jim Harbaugh, become a PE teacher instead of a highly paid NFL coach.
(Jim would still complain that the dodge balls were under-inflated.)
Contact Jeff Girod at firstname.lastname@example.org