See Ya, Jim
By: Connor Lenahan
If you asked me to rank NFL head coaches from those I despise the most to those I despise the least Jim Harbaugh would top the list without question. This is in part due to his position, he is the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers, the direct rival of the Seattle Seahawks, who I have been a fan of since I started watching football. The other part of why I dislike Harbaugh as much as I do is because he is the epitome of an antagonizing personality. Intense would be a mild description. Jim Harbaugh seems like he is permanently enraged because, in all honesty, that may be true. He is a firework in that he regularly explodes in spectacular fashion. He is also, without a doubt, one of the best coaches in the NFL. Harbaugh coached the 49ers for four seasons. Three of those seasons brought about trips to the NFC Championship game. One brought a Super Bowl loss. Harbaugh is one play from a Super Bowl ring. Harbaugh is about three plays away from, possibly, three rings – in a row. He will get under your skin, he will annoy you, and he will beat you. This is why I do not like him.
Today should have been the day my view changed on him. In the past few hours it was announced that Jim Harbaugh and the San Francisco 49ers have mutually decided to part ways after four years. To those that do not regularly follow the NFC West this will seem odd – Why would the 49ers allow arguably the best coach in football to leave of his own accord? For the reasons above – his insane personality & corresponding coaching style – it is much clearer. Harbaugh is effective, but on a pro level, that effectiveness has a shelf life. There is only so long you can tolerate something that intense. I like things with Buffalo sauce on them, in fact I’m eating Buffalo chicken strips as I type this. I couldn’t possibly eat Buffalo sauce for every single meal for years without getting sick of it and, for lack of better phrasing, burned out from the spice. Jim Harbaugh is a bottle of Frank’s Red Hot Sauce in khakis.
So next year the 49ers will be trotting out someone else on the sidelines. This should have be a call for joy. Only now I will have to deal with him elsewhere. Unless he decides to go entirely against suspicion, Jim Harbaugh will be the next head coach at Michigan. This means that Harbaugh will be playing Penn State on a regular basis. Goodie. For as much as his hot-headed demeanor is unsustainable at the NFL level, in college it actually makes Harbaugh one of the best the sport has ever seen. The shelf life of a college player is only four years. The amount of time he took to burn out the pros, who already would have a shorter fuse – think of him being intense with a 32 year old veteran on his 10th season, not a match – is exactly as long as he would have with any member of the Wolverines. Oh, and he’s one of the best in the pros, with a noted ability to recruit top level talent – Andrew Luck was his quarterback at Stanford, his job before Michigan – which makes him increasingly terrifying.
Just when it looked as though I was done he stays around. I just want to be done with him. I think. See, here’s the thing. I love villains. I love having someone to root against. For as much as I cannot stand Ohio State, or Alabama, or Notre Dame, if any of those three eliminated football from their universities I would be upset. It is more fun to have someone that I care about beating than simply trudging through the season against teams that I am largely indifferent towards. So, yes, Harbaugh immediately vaults the Michigan Wolverines into the same territory as those three aforementioned schools – provided he accepts the position. I don’t like him, and never will. But I think I’ll like having him to root against. We always need bad guys. He may be the best there is.