SANTA CLARA – Jim Harbaugh was especially talkative today. His Monday press conference transcript was almost 5,000 words.
I’m focusing on about 80 of them.
One writer asked Harbaugh an Alex Smith question. Harbaugh responded by calling his quarterback tough. Then he went on this tangent:
“These guys are my heroes. All of them. Alex was heroic in this game. So was Justin, so was Donte, so was Aldon, so was Vernon Davis. You take your play to the heroic. That’s what he did. That’s what all our guys did. Just the way they all fight. It’s a wicked, competitive fight that’s in our guys.”
We’ve heard Harbaugh call his players “studs.” We’ve also heard him call them “Mighty Men.” “Heroes” is new.
Even though Harbaugh diplomatically called all his players heroes, he meant the ones that play their best in big moments, like Donte Whitner did against the Saints.
“There’s a special place in your heart for players that play great in the big games,” Harbaugh said on Saturday in response to a question concerning Vernon Davis’ monster performance. “You love them all. You really do. You love all the players. But, the guy that plays great in the big game. Boy, there’s just a little extra space for them.”
Those guys are Harbaugh’s heroes – like Achilles and Hercules.
At one point during the Monday press conference one writer asked Harbaugh about home field advantage. Harbaugh said that on Saturday 49ers fans “turned that stadium into a fortress.”
Harbaugh is living an epic –as in the Illiad or the Odyssey or King Arthur.
It’s as if before the Niners beat the Saints they were just gladiators. Now, they’re the Knights of the Round Table who have to defend a fortress, and if they do that (i.e. beat the Giants) they’ll get the chance to travel to Indianapolis and capture the Holy Grail (i.e. win the Super Bowl).
Harbaugh is King Arthur. Justin Smith is Sir Lancelot – the most crucial knight in the crew. Aldon Smith is Sir Galahad – the illegitimate son of Lancelot and a key member in the quest for the Grail.
And Alex Smith is Sir Gawain – the most loyal and courteous Knight in King Harbaugh’s court.
Other members of King Harbaugh’s Round Table must include Sir Patrick Willis, Sir Donte Whitner, Sir Joe Staley and Sir Vernon Davis.
But the seats at the Round Table are not set – not until they get that Grail. If Michael Crabtree catches three touchdown passes against the Giants this weekend he’ll become a “Sir,” no question.
And if they lose this weekend, the Round Table could be in jeopardy entirely, because the Giants are coming from the East to lay siege. They’re coming with catapults and arrows and firebombs, and Harbaugh’s Heroes must defend their fortress.