HBO’s Harbaugh profile an exercise in sensationalism

This is my Tuesday column on HBO’s feature about Jim Harbaugh.

I know you want to hear more about Alex Boone calling Jim Harbaugh “clinically insane.” Everybody knows that stuff already. I’ll get back to that in a minute.

Tuesday night, HBO is airing a snap shot of Jim Harbaugh’s return to the University of Michigan. What do we learn from the show? That’s what we’ll get into first. Then, we’ll get into what’s wrong with it. And there is plenty wrong with it, including Boone.

In the show, we see how Harbaugh played alone as a boy. His obsessive competitiveness alienated him from others. Kids didn’t want to be around him after a while.

Harbaugh shows us how he played baseball by himself back then in a parking lot he called “the baseball diamond.” He threw a ball at a wall, then he caught the ball on a bounce. That was the game. He played every position and the announcer, too. He had to imagine the whole thing.

“He always won when he played against himself,” said his brother John.

It must be very lonely to be Jim Harbaugh.

After the scene in the parking lot, the show tries to prove that Harbaugh’s obsessive’s nature caused him to wear out his welcome with the 49ers. For evidence, HBO interviewed just one guy who played under Harbaugh during the four seasons he coached the 49ers — Alex Boone.

Before I tell you exactly what Boone said, I have one question.

Where’s the second source?

Newspaper journalists can’t get away with that kind of reporting. The basic rule of journalism is you need two sources. One source could be a lone wolf.

What do we know about this one source? We know he might have an axe to grind.

Boone held out of training camp and didn’t play well last season. Harbaugh might have been down on him. Maybe there was bad blood between them. Boone as a witness seems compromised.

Couldn’t HBO have tracked down a second witness? Hundreds of people played for Harbaugh the past four seasons. Everyone who covers the team knows Joe Staley is the voice of the offensive line, not Boone. Staley talks on behalf of the team after games and during the week. Why didn’t HBO interview him? He would have been credible. If they had interviewed the ball boy, he would have been as credible as Boone.

HBO seems to be going for sensationalism instead of journalism by interviewing just one player. They made the weakest case possible.

We also know that Boone contradicted himself. He stuck up for Harbaugh last year after reports came out that he lost the locker room. This is what Boone told 95.7 the game in September: “I know for a fact that everybody loves Jim Harbaugh. He’s a great guy. How can you not want to win for a guy that wears cleats during the game? Come on now. Have you not seen that guy’s energy? He’s excited 24-7. You’ve got to love to play for a guy like that. That’s what football is all about.”

But here’s what Boone told HBO: “He kind of wore out his welcome. I think he just pushed guys too far. He wanted too much, demanded too much, expected too much … this guy might be clinically insane.”

Boone gave two diametrically opposed opinions in a seven-month span. Maybe he’s the one who’s crazy. Maybe he’s the one who leaked the rumor that Harbaugh lost the locker room. You’ve got to wonder.

Andrea Kremer asked Harbaugh if he thinks he rubs people the wrong way because he wants to win so badly.

“I think most people want to win,” Harbaugh said. “It’s not a fun sport. What you come to love is the struggle of it. I love football. Love it, love it. I think it’s the last bastion of hope for toughness in America in men. In males.”

Great answer. Harbaugh’s job isn’t to make football fun or easy. His job is to win, and he won.

Here’s more from Boone: “I think sometimes when you want to do things your way and only your way, that doesn’t bode well. Especially in the NFL. You have to adapt. You have to learn to work with other people. It’s you and GM; the GM and you.”

Kremer asked, “So you’re not just talking Jim and the players, you’re talking Jim and the front office?”

“Yeah,” said Boone, “The players have nothing to do with him getting fired.”

In other words, the Niners fired Harbaugh because he didn’t get along with Trent Baalke.

What does Boone base his opinion on? Boone is in no position to know how Harbaugh and Baalke worked together behind closed doors.

Maybe Boone knows what he’s talking about. Maybe Harbaugh and Baalke didn’t get along and Harbaugh is clinically insane. Or not. You really won’t learn from this show. Harbaugh remains as much of a mystery as he always has been.

Grant Cohn writes sports columns and the “Inside the 49ers” blog for The Press Democrat’s website. You can reach him at

This article has 125 Comments

  1. I think you’re a little late to the party Grant, because we’ve thoroughly plowed this ground all day long….

    1. I heard that seeds were planted and they are sprouting about now. Harvest will be tomorrow by noon.

    2. It has to be that way, Razor; we’re his source for a third of his stuff. ; >)

    3. Razor, the Harbaughism is ‘We’ve plowed that field already’
      be respectful.

  2. Agree Grant. However, you left out the most damning part of Boone’s interview. You know, the part about the mountain.

  3. Whatever Boone thought, he should have kept his mouth shut. No class. Used to respect him.

    1. Same here. I was proud of the guy for beating alcoholism and doing a complete 180 after his rookie season. I’m still happy for him in that regard, but he’s officially become a two-faced loser.

  4. Is Boone off the wagon?
    This guy goes from body bumping with Harbaugh in the big win against the Lions in Harbaugh’ rookie year as HC and defending him during the fallout of the “shoulder slap” with Schwartz to this.

    The Org knew of Harbaugh’ fierce competitive nature when they hired him but they pulled the trigger and hired him non the less.
    I have little doubt that Harbaugh’ relentless work ethic may have hurt his chance at a long future as the 49ers headcoach, but no one can ever question his innate desire to win which is what he did during his 49ers tenure.

    The FO will miss a very good opportunity here by dismissing Boone’ comments as those of a player and not representing of the 49ers organization.
    C’mon Jed/Baalke, step up. If you don’t you run the risk of making it look like there is some closed door pleasure you take in Boone’ HBO interview.

    1. I don’t agree with what Boone did and would have no problem with trading him to the Raiders and swapping 1st round picks; however, the author of that article is basing his entire premise on Boone and only Boone’s statements. As Grant said, HBO should have interviewed some of the real leaders of the team.

      Harbaugh is gone folks; he ain’t coming back and it’s time to move on. That doesn’t mean that we don’t wish him well; but we need to focus on the future. I see some good things happening (albeit they didn’t pick up Browner when they had the chance), but the draft will be very telling.

      1. Sorry bud, it’s going to take a lot more to swap first rnd picks with Oakland by only including Boone. There is not that much value for an average guard.. If we can trade him for a third rnd pick I would do it in a second. I would take a 4th and draft his replacement.

  5. Harbaugh as a coach reminds me of Jerry Rice the player. While not on the same level achievement wise as Rice Harbaugh is awesome at what he does just like Rice was. Also like Rice Harbaugh works so hard to be the best he never allows himself to slow down and enjoy the ride. Jerry will tell you that now that his career is over. In a way some may see that as sad but it’s just how these guys tick and what has made them successful and better than most of their peers.

    1. As for enjoying the ride, take a look at the side line shot of Bill Walsh the moment after “The Catch”. Enjoyment?

  6. “Boone is in no position to know how Harbaugh and Baalke worked together behind closed doors.”

    He was in a position to know how they worked together while face to face. It was common knowledge that Harbaugh and Baalke’s relationship was rocky. They didn’t work well together in public view (sitting separately at the combine).

    The Harbaugh era came and went exactly how it was expected to and exactly how Boone described it. History repeated itself. Harbaugh is the Larry Brown of football. He’ll turn Michigan around. He’ll come close to a championship. He’ll fall short at the hands of Urban Meyer and be looking for his next challenge in another five or six years. Wash. Rinse. Repeat. It’s not about Boone, it’s about Harbaugh being Harbaugh and Boone is being vilified because he is acknowledging the obvious. Harbaugh is, and always has been, dysfunctional. He’s a great coach and a legendary #%$hole…….two things can be equally true. Boone seemed to acknowledge that, along with Harbaugh himself.

    1. Harbaugh is a builder. Once a job is done he’s on to the next one while someone else moves things along.

      1. Jack,
        As excited as we were about Harbaugh’s hiring at the time, I remember you and I joking about ‘enjoying the next four years’ or something along those lines.

        1. Yep. It was an interesting ride with Harbaugh. He took them over the mountain, from a laughingstock to a contender. He’s a very good coach, yet for all the accolades has some holes in his resume.

          Regarding Boone’s comments, meh. Just another example of a player talking out of his rear.

          Davis had some great things to say about Kaepernick a week or so ago. The words were nice. Problem is he spoke in glowing terms about AJ Jenkins during workouts not long before he was sent packing.

          It’s almost all just noise.

      2. Harbaugh is a builder. Once a job is done he’s on to the next one while someone else moves things along.

        That’s nice in theory except for the fact Harbaugh didn’t want to leave the Niners.

        1. “Harbaugh didn’t want to leave the 49ers”

          There’s two sides to every story, and in those one Harbaugh has done a terrific job of playing his cards to make himself come out as the sympathetic figure.

          1. I disagree. He’s simply said it wasn’t his call. It’s not about sympathy; it’s about common sense. Nobody can make a case that this team is better off with Jim Tomsula as HC than Harbaugh. It’s that simple.

            1. I’m not trying to make that case.

              Harbaugh didn’t have to say anything. Fans were already going to be ticked off that he wasn’t returning, and he’s played his cards to near perfection.

              1. He didn’t say anything until he was asked by Kawakami and didn’t mention it again until asked the same question by Andrea Kremer. While Jed was spewing the “Mutual Decision” nonsense, Harbaugh said nothing. Eventually you push back when somebody continues to say something that isn’t true. York wanted everyone to believe it was mutual so he wouldn’t be ridiculed for firing a HC with one of the best winning percentages in the game, but that wasn’t the case and Harbaugh answered an obvious question that didn’t make any sense under the narrative York was portraying.

              2. Rocket,
                At the end of the day, Harbaugh is the one that caused his situation to turn into what it did and he is playing the victim card now. He’s the same guy that was beaning little girls with baseballs years ago. I also disagree that he had his choice of teams to pick from. He went to Michigan and gets paid the same as he did with the 49ers. No NFL owner wanted to pay him $8 million per year. He is better off in college, where players only have to hear his message for a few years. That turnover is essential for Harbaugh to have long term success. Harbaugh is the type of guy that is always going to have an issue or a button to press with others. He’s dysfunctional beyond the acceptable genius coaching threshold.

              3. At the end of the day, Harbaugh is the one that caused his situation to turn into what it did and he is playing the victim card now.

                I disagree BigP. Harbaugh did his job and it was York and possibly Baalke that didn’t want to continue the relationship. I also don’t see him playing the victim at all. As I pointed out above, the only time he’s mentioned it is when asked in two interviews. He’s being honest and incredulous as to why he was fired and he has a right too imo.

                We’ll have to agree to disagree on his NFL fortunes because I guarantee you he could have had numerous jobs if he wanted them. That’s not because I have inside information; it’s because this league hires people who win. The money he is being paid at Michigan is by his own request so his assistants could be paid more.


              4. “He didn’t say anything until he was asked”

                Which is exactly my point. He played the situation perfectly by not talking until asked. He let York take the heat and took the high road.

                The other point I was making is that we don’t know both sides because York has never gone it being a “mutual decision”. We don’t know what Harbaugh’s role in the events that took place was.

            2. Rocket,
              Harbaugh is an ass. He always has been. He’s a flat out jerk. It is what it is. The only thing Harbaugh is a victim of are his own actions. I loved Harbaugh as coach and in a perfect world he would still be here. I never expected that outcome because that has never been the outcome for Harbaugh. He has pissed people off at every stop of his career and has burned bridges. Nobody misses him when he’s gone. He’s not a pleasant person to deal with. I think York is an idiot and has no business running an NFL franchise, but this divorce was about Harbaugh. The NFL knows that, which is why he went back to Michigan. In five or six years he’ll leave Michigan after having pissed everybody off on campus. The star that shines the brightest burns out the fastest….or whatever the saying is. That’s Harbaugh. The star shines bright for a few years but burns everything out around it, including the players.

              1. BigP,

                He can be a jerk absolutely but that’s not the point I’m arguing here. I’m saying you accept the fact that successful people have issues that are hard to reconcile and figure out a way to make it work. You do that because your ultimate goal should be winning…period. There are no successful HC’s who don’t piss off their players at times. In order to be great you have to push beyond what you think you’re capable of.

                Harbaugh is in Michigan because he chose Michigan. He could have had his pick of NFL jobs had he chosen to do so. The team definitely came out on the wrong end of the Public Relations battle, and all you have to do is look at the Coaches who had no interest in coming here and who they ultimately hired to see how this organization is viewed by people around the league right now.

                As for nobody missing him when he’s gone, Stanford and San Diego both wanted him to stay and pushed hard to retain him. The reason they did so is because he made both programs successful when others couldn’t. I have a feeling the 49ers are going to find out it’s not so easy finding a HC who can accomplish what Harbaugh did. That is my greatest fear from all of this, and I can’t shake the feeling that this team is in for a rude awakening overthe next few seasons or however long they retain the current Coaching staff.

              2. Harbaugh left USD after 2006. In 2007 they won the championship again.

                Harbaugh left Stanford after 2010. In 2011 they were back in the BCS, followed by back to back Rose Bowl appearances.

                He’s a very good coach who builds winning programs. Neither of the programs he has left behind suffered greatly after his departure.

                The doom and gloom forecast for the new staff is a bit of an overeaction in my opinion.

              3. Rocket,
                I agree with you about the difficulty in finding a better coach/winning culture. It’s not easy and I don’t have faith in York. The bottom line is that Harbaugh is Harbaugh. He’s the guy that “evaluated” Manning. He propped up Smith and replaced him with Kaepernick, after Smith caddied for him at Pebble Beach. He said Crabtree had the best hands he’d ever seen. He wanted to be here but for some strange reason Cleveland thought they could trade for him, that must have been unsolicited.

                Yes, winning is important. Championships are the goal. Harbaugh had opportunities. Three NFCC games and a SB appearance. He didn’t get it done. He’s more Andy Reid then Jimmy Johnson. I’m very grateful for Harbaugh’s tenure as HC. He was outstanding. It also ended how I expected because that’s how Harbaugh is at every stop. He is a jerk. He was a jerk when he was throwing baseballs at little girls as a kid. He played alone as a child because he was a jerk. Those same qualities make him focused at football but have arrested his development as a functional person, much more so than most coaches.

              4. Jack,

                The Coaches who took over won with Harbaugh’s team.

                I hope I’m overreacting in regards to how I see this playing out, I really do.

              5. BigP,

                I’m fine with Andy Reid if that’s all Harbaugh was ever going to be. After the decade of dysfunction we witnessed before he got here, I’m ok with that.

              6. “The Coaches who took over won with Harbaugh’s team.”

                Yes and No.

                First the yes. The 2007 USD team was mostly Harbaugh’s as was the 2011 Stanford team.

                The no. None of Harbaugh’s guys were around at USD in 2011 and 2012 when Caragher led them to back to back championships. The 2012 and 2013 Stanford teams were without Andrew Luck among others.

                Regardless, it doesn’t change anything I’ve said about Harbaugh. He’s a builder. Once a job is done he’s on to the next one while someone else moves things along. The proof is there. Nothing really to debate about it.

              7. Jack,

                Regardless, it doesn’t change anything I’ve said about Harbaugh. He’s a builder. Once a job is done he’s on to the next one while someone else moves things along. The proof is there. Nothing really to debate about it.

                Except there is no proof. The job wasn’t done at Stanford or SF which is why your theory is flawed and ultimately incorrect. He left San Diego and Stanford because in both instances he was offered a better job and more money. It had nothing to do with him feeling like the job was done. He didn’t want to leave the 49ers. There was no feeling a job was done and it was time to move on according to him. That is nothing more than a false narrative being applied to give a story some form of resolution in the minds of those who analyze it that way.

              8. The job is that he turned the teams into winners.

                I don’t think that I’ve stated that he wore out his welcome, etc. I think this is an instance where one wants to debate something that really isn’t debatable.

                Harbaugh is a builder, check. At each stop he has built winning teams.

                Harbaugh has eventually moved on, check. For whatever reason this has happened at each stop.

                The next man up moves things along, check. All previous stops have enjoyed success post-Harbaugh.

              9. Rocket,
                He left SD and Stanford as soon as he increased his market value. He was never going to win a National Championship at Stanford. He didn’t win a championship in four years with the Niners despite having arguably the most talented roster in the league for three of them.

                I don’t think he will win a NC at Michigan. He’ll turn them around and make them competitive again. He’ll get credit for developing some phenomenally talented QB and he’ll jump ship while the glow is still warm on the bowl game they just won. Despite the success he will have experienced at Michigan, few will miss him when he takes his inevitable next step.

                He’ll talk of unfinished business in the NFL and people will remember his previous success. He will be popular. He’ll have work shirts made and give out lunch boxes or whatever he does. I can guarantee you one thing, the “Nooooooobody!” will be much quieter by year three in response to Harbaugh’s “Who’s got it better than us?” post game antics- regardless of the team.

                It sounds like I don’t like Harbaugh. I think he’s awesome, but he has always been a pain and he seems to view it as a badge of honor. I understand why he is where he is.

              10. Jack,

                It is debatable, and it’s debatable because he didn’t leave the jobs the same way each time, nor did he see that a job was finished and decided it was time to move on. Each move was a better position that was offered. The final move was not, and in fact he didn’t want to move. No matter how you try to wrap this up as a trend it doesn’t work.

                Anyway, at this point it’s pointless to continue as it’s two opinions that cannot be substantiated one way or the other.

              11. BigP,

                I think he believed he had a shot to win a National Championship at Stanford, as did many others. With Luck, anything was possible. The reason he left in my opinion is that the job offered by the Niners satisfied his desire to Coach in the NFL and also allowed him to keep his family in the same area which at the time was a big factor.

                I don’t know how well he’ll do at Michigan, but I don’t assume there is a pattern to his employment. It’s going to be tough with Meyer at OSU no doubt about it.

              12. You’ve basically said the same things a couple of times now, and I agree with your opinions. The reality is that Harbaugh is dysfunctional and people don’t like him. He angers people. It doesn’t work over time with grown men, on the field or in the front office. He’ll coach and recruit in Michigan, which will save him from being himself around others most of the time. That’s the best situation for him. It just is.

              13. BigP,

                I have tried to lay them out a different way, but yes essentially I’m repeating myself now and that means we are at the agree to disagree point of the things we don’t agree on.

                I think the main thing we don’t agree on is the reasons for Harbaugh’s propensity to not stay in one place very long. His tenure at Michigan will go a long way in deciding that argument.

    2. It’s not about Boone, it’s about Harbaugh being Harbaugh and Boone is being vilified because he is acknowledging the obvious.

      Uh no, IT IS ABOUT BOONE. I don’t care if the coach was Walsh, Harbaugh, Singletary, or even Cheat Pete. You don’t say voice your support for your coach and then do a complete 180 after he’s gone. That’s just being two-faced. Tell the truth or keep your mouth shut. It’s that simple and yet Boone failed to do so.

      1. I forgot, you’re the Snicker dude. Capitalizing words for emphasis doesn’t help your argument. It’s not about Boone. The segment was on Harbaugh’s dysfunctional personality. Boone earned the right to make an honest comment because he was the only player to actively go to bat for Harbaugh when the media was smelling blood. Actions speak louder than words.

        -Boone did support Harbaugh while he was coach. Quite publicly.

        -Boone is saying what everybody already knows. He gave an honest response regarding Harbaugh’s personality. Harbaugh agrees with the notion that he’s hard to work with and pisses people off. He’s done it his whole life.

        1. It’s not about Boone. The segment was on Harbaugh’s dysfunctional personality.

          Bull. This is about Boone and hiding it behind the facade of Harbaugh’s personality is nothing but a cope out.

          Boone earned the right to make an honest comment because he was the only player to actively go to bat for Harbaugh when the media was smelling blood. Actions speak louder than words.

          -Boone did support Harbaugh while he was coach. Quite publicly.

          Those two areas automatically cancel each other out. Either Boone was lying the first time and telling the truth now or vice versa. Sorry BigP, but it can’t be both. Also, please tell me what’s so honest about them getting over the mountain. Better yet, tell me what supposed mountain Boone was talking about.

          Boone is saying what everybody already knows. He gave an honest response regarding Harbaugh’s personality.

          If it was just that, then he’d be okay. But the fact of the matter is that Boone did a complete 180 after Harbaugh was gone. It can be denied until the end of time, but it doesn’t change the fact that Boone basically threw his former coach under the bus after praising him while he was here. You may think being two-faced like that is okay but I don’t.

          Harbaugh agrees with the notion that he’s hard to work with and pisses people off. He’s done it his whole life.

          And that gives Boone the right to reverse course? Sorry, but I’m not buying it.

    3. @BigP

      Thank you….This is my favorite of your posts….it mirrors my own feelings …I wish that I could have explained it so well….Let’s stop the villification of who is STILL HERE and continue the journey….

    4. Boone is being criticized because he’s contradicting himself and being two faced. There was no reason to say what he said other than to take a shot at a HC who is no longer around. The fact he did this after being a vocal supporter of Harbaugh 6 months ago just makes it that much more puzzling. I don’t know if Boone was the source in the locker room for some of the rumors that were flying around, but he sure has opened himself up to that speculation now. Boone’s comments were based on the fact he thought Harbaugh kept pushing even when Boone thought it was enough. Think about that for a minute. Do you want a HC that say’s “ok guys we didn’t win the SB but I think we are good enough”, or do you want the guy that says “the SB is all that matters and we haven’t reached the top of the mountain until we win one?” Most players respect HC’s who prove to them they can lead them to greatness, but some don’t want to be pushed to reach that level. Boone is one of those guys based on these comments.

      As for Harbaugh being the Larry Brown of football, there may be some truth to that, or maybe fiction has overtaken reality in the minds of people who have formed a conclusion based on nothing but speculation. In the past two days I’ve read numerous people on this board state that Harbaugh wore out his welcome every where he’s been and yet that is unequivocally wrong and not supported by fact. Harbaugh left his two previous jobs on his own accord. He was not forced out or fired, and his employers did not want him to leave. He left because of better opportunity and money due to his success. Somewhere along the line a theory became a truth in the minds of some and that is evident when reading a number of the submissions the past couple of days.

      My view is simple: You don’t fire a HC who took you from doormat to contender. There is no question Harbaugh is an eccentric hard ass who rubs people the wrong way at times, but that is true of a number of successful Coaches in professional and College sports. You have to be a little nuts to do what these guys do, and when you find one who wins like Harbaugh does, you figure out a way to coexist so you keep winning. Bill Walsh was not a cuddly Father figure to his players. He demanded perfection and worked their tails off until he thought they reached it. He was also disliked by a number of players because of it and yet they still won in spite of that. Bill Parcells was the same way and Parcells pissed off every Front office he worked for until he became the Front office.

      The moral of the story is, many successful people have personality traits that make them difficult to be around never mind work with, but that is a big part of what makes them successful. Jed said during the PC after Harbaugh was fired, that he didn’t share the same philosophy as Harbaugh starting in 2012. That right there was a huge Red Flag for me because it was a clear signal that Jed valued other things (style, relationships etc) over winning. The message was cemented when they hired Tomsula. Tomsula was a nice guy, subservient and willing to go along with what he is told. He’s also about the 20th guy on the list for who you’d want to take over as HC if you are being honest, because he has no history in this league as a HC, as a winner. He’s easier to deal with, and that is more important to Jed York and Baalke than winning.

      1. @rocket,

        … and Boone is probably trying to get Jed to tell Baalke to give him a new contract after a poor season.

        1. Yes there is the matter of his contract being up after this season. He’d better step up his play or he’ll join Harbaugh as a former member of this organization.

      2. “Do you want a HC that say’s “ok guys we didn’t win the SB but I think we are good enough”, or do you want the guy that says “the SB is all that matters and we haven’t reached the top of the mountain until we win one?” ”

        First, let me just begin by saying Boone’s comments have been taken way to seriously.

        Second, do you believe Boone was referring to the SB in his comments? Do you believe the “mountain” he used as a metaphor referred to the SB?

        Third, there is such a thing as over training, over preparing. Pushing yourself to be the best still requires balance, or it leads to burn out. Manically training every day takes its toll. I believe that is what Boone is referring to. Harbaugh didn’t know where that balance was. Not saying Boone is right (though I do believe he is based on everything I’ve ever heard about Harbaugh), just that is what I believe he was referring to.

        I guess the real question I have is this – do you believe the reason the 49ers didn’t win a SB in Harbaugh’s four years is because they didn’t train hard enough?

        1. Scooter,

          I’ve mentioned why Boone’s comments are being criticized and I believe rightfully so.

          We have to try and read between the lines as to what he meant by the mountain comment, but what I take from that is Boone felt satisfied with his training or performance and Harbaugh kept pushing him as a number of HC’s are prone to do. I’m not sure how else that can be interpreted. As for what we’ve heard about Harbaugh, I’m not sure what you’ve heard but until the offseason of 2014, I never heard a peep about players feeling they were being pushed too hard or were unhappy playing for Harbaugh. In fact Boone is the first one to say anything in that vain publically. Most of the stories about Harbaugh were in regard to his competitive nature in everything he did, the fact he battled with Administrators at Stanford over player eligibility and an Alpha dog pissing match with Baalke. You never heard stories about players taking exception to his Coaching practices. That is a story that has taken on a life of it’s own since the firing.

          The reason they didn’t win the SB or get to the SB in the other two years is because the other team made a play and/or the 49ers made a mistake. That’s football. I don’t think it was due to a lack of training but I also think it’s a bit presumptuous to believe he drove his team too hard. One guy has stated his opinion which is not indicative of how the overall team felt. In fact most of the players who have talked about Harbaugh have praised and supported him.

          You know what it comes down to for me Scooter? If you had asked anyone a year ago if they would be in favor of Harbaugh being fired they would have thought you were insane. If you then said he would be replaced by Tomsula, most would have been incensed that was even a consideration. So why in the world are some sitting here after the fact making a case that it’s somehow ok that a top NFL HC was fired, and replaced with a Dline Coach who’s best trait is that he won’t butt heads with the front office? My guess is it’s easier to accept if you paint Harbaugh in a negative light somehow to justify a move that didn’t make any sense. It’s the fan part of the equation that has a need to feel like there was some positive to come out of it and have hope for the future. My apologies if I sound like I’m trying to play Psychologist, but that is what I see happening here.

          1. You should read Seth Wickersham’s piece on Harbaugh from last year again. I’ll ask again, do you think they didn’t win a super bowl because they didn’t train hard enough?

            More is being made of Boone’s comments than there is to make. He didn’t say anything that wasn’t already known about Harbaugh.

            1. You’re probably right about too much being made of it. A couple of reasons likely:
              – Draft Countdown Hysteria, a seasonal affliction like pollen allergies.
              – The Faithful Family is still in an uproar and all twitchy, like any family right after a traumatic divorce.

            2. Scooter,
              An argument can be made that they didn’t win the SB because the ref’s made a couple of bad calls. The one that still gnaws at me is the 2nd half kickoff return where the ref totally ignored two raven’s players holding Bruce Miller for about 10 yards allowing Smith to run free.

              The record will show that we lost the SB in 2012, but I have a difference in opinion on that.

              1. Sure.

                The important thing though is that I don’t think anyone can hand to heart say they believe the 49ers lost through a lack of effort on the practice field.

                Conversely I recall a few times people commenting the past few seasons that the team looked flat entering games. That is usually a sign of a team that is either tired or unmotivated.

            3. I did read it Scooter and it doesn’t change my opinion on this topic. If anything it enhances it. Training is not the reason they lost the SB imo, but I’m not sure why that is an important question. It only means something if you believe that Harbaugh overworked the team, and I see no evidence of that other than Boone using a Mountain Metaphor to explain that he thought Harbaugh wanted too much from him.

              I disagree with your last point, because you are assuming that what Boone said about Harbaugh working the team too hard is true, and there is no evidence of that. If we get a bunch of other former players corroborating Boone’s comments then we talk about what we knew about Harbaugh’s Coaching methods.

              1. Its a relevant question because people are up in arms about Boone’s comments. If the team didn’t practice hard enough then fine, Boone’s comments are out of line.

                What I find interesting is you disagree with my comment about the team being over worked due to lack of evidence, yet you are using the same lack of evidence to suggest Boone is wrong.

              2. I can only speak for myself Scooter, but the main thing that bothers me about Boone’s comments is that he made them, and they contradict what he said a few months ago.

                The content is purely subjective. You either choose to believe him or you don’t. I don’t simply because he’s the only one I’ve heard bring it up, and the team showed no signs of being overworked when they were going deep into the playoffs year after year.

  7. “I think most people want to win. It’s not a fun sport. What you come to love is the struggle of it. I love football. Love it, love it. I think it’s the last bastion of hope for toughness in America in men. In males.”
    – Jim Harbaugh, Super Bowl loser

    “Work is fun. I mean, I love coming to work.”
    – Russell Okung, OL under Pete Carroll, Super Bowl winner

    There’s a reason the 49ers NEVER drafted a Stanford player under Harbaugh. Sherman and Baldwin both hate him. They love Carroll. Harbaugh respects toughness, but he doesn’t earn the respect of tough men, because he infantilizes and abuses them. Anyone who doesn’t see that lacks insight into the human psyche.

    1. Oh yeah, and one other thing: Bill Walsh was a legendary prankster whose hijinks were known to keep the atmosphere around the World Champion 49ers players light. He made work fun.

      Football’s not fun. What an asinine comment. The guy is a joke.

      1. He occasionally showed humor and was remembered for the bell hop outfit before the Super Bowl.

        Winning Super Bowls was fun, but playing and coaching for Bill often wasn’t. He was ruthless and uncompromising. Many of the warm and fuzzy stories you hear from the Niner legends were only told after a painful departure and lengthy reconciliation process. Greatness usually comes at a price. For Walsh, that price was relationships with his players. For Harbaugh, the price of being very good seems to be meaningful relationships, period.

    2. Soory, but you’re not really backing up anything you’re saying or more or less making accusations you cannot prove.

    3. Yup, you might be right.
      But their hatred (as you call it) has more to do with Harbaugh not drafting them. I never heard them complain when Harbaugh was making them winners while at Stanford. Same could be said for Boone for that matter.

  8. I don’t think Boone should have come out and said the things he did, mainly because he left himself open to this kind of backlash. But honestly, it is being made out to be much more than it is. You’d swear Boone had come out and said Harbaugh sucked as a coach, and everyone hated playing for him. Hate to tell you this folks, but that’s not what he said.

    Boone said what most people already knew – Harbaugh is a difficult person and personality to work for, he’s extremely intense and is constantly exhorting everyone to give more, and there was some tension between Harbaugh and upper management. Whoopty doo.

  9. The point, you morons, is not to Win. Tje real goal is Win with Class. Uncle Jed told is that.

  10. Well the Bears just gave us something else to pay attention to this offseason the upcoming epic quarterback battle between David fales and Tyler Wilson for the 3rd quarter back spot on that roster.

  11. Did you guys ever talk about an ex-gf after the breakup? You might as well have since she was talking about you.
    Those old Packers hated Lombardi more than they loved him when they were playing. After they retired they evolved to love/hate in hindsight because of what they all achieved together. But Jerry Kramer said one of his fond memories of his playing days was getting together after practice with his teammates to drink beer and b*#+* and moan about how much they hated Vince.
    Bill Walsh was The King and the only king;no mistake. I always found it ironic that there was tension between Harbaugh and Baalke since Jim’s My Way attitude is much like Parcells’.
    Was Boone too candid? Yeah, probably was.
    But in the outtakes I read with Andrea Jim’s answers seem to indicate some self-awareness but not regret. I remembered being slightly troubled after the back-slap incident when Jim said when asked that he usually doesn’t apologize. That seems ‘unhealthy’ to me.

  12. They interviewed Boone because he went to Ohio State. There’s a Michigan/Ohio State rivalry. I highly doubt that Boone would ignore the fact that he didn’t have success until Harbaugh got there. In other words, I think HBO is leaving out the “generous” things Boone had to say about Harbaugh.
    I didn’t watch it, but I would also assume that viewers were unaware of the question that was asked of Boone. There’s always 3 sides the to the story: the plaintiff, the defendant and the truth.

  13. Harbaugh reminded me of my drill sergeant. I hated my drill sergeant until I was in Nam. He toughened me up for the rigors of battle. As a young man I never appreciated ‘difficult’ until difficult was over, then my appreciation was immense. I still don’t like my drill sergeant but I respect the hell out of him – for being tough and for teaching tough. Boone you might be a big boy, but you a little mind – shut up and play ball and don’t let your team down ‘again’ this year.

    1. If anyone needs an edit button, I do. should read – you ‘have’ a little mind.

      1. Yep. Just like he kissed up to Harbaugh when he was here. When his 49er time comes to an end he will probably have bad things to say about everyone. Boone is about Boone, and what I like least about him is that when he looses it on the field he rants and raves on the sideline in a storm of self justification.

  14. Harbaugh gave us our best seasons around here in 20 years! I had season tickets at the stick for JH’s 3 years……and the 3 years BEFORE JH. Night and Day baby! Remember the “fortress” we defended against the saints & giants?

    The bottom line: JH didnt get it done. Had we won the SB…..JH would still be here today. He was no Walsh. We were never a great offense and bad clock management didn’t help either.

    Make no mistake though: JH is one of the greatest coaches in 49er history and deserves better from the 49er family.

  15. Aside: PFF profile on La’el Collins:

    Conclusion: “Collins looks the safest pick of any offensive tackle in this draft and by a decent margin. He can get better against the run — and might need to add some weight to deal with the power of NFL pass rushers — but he looks like a pretty polished prospect who should slide in from Day 1 and represent an upgrade on an average tackle with the capacity to be so much more. Recent years haven’t seen many tackles take the league by storm, but Collins is the best bet in the 2015 draft class to do so.”

    1. Rotoworld on Flowers:
      Arkansas edge player Trey Flowers “ranks among the most underrated prospects in the entire 2015 draft,” according to CBS Sports’ Rob Rang.
      “Flowers lacks ideal height but his disproportionately long arms (34¼ inches), strength and toughness make him one of this year’s better overall defensive ends — and considering the talent among edge rushers in 2015, that’s quite the accomplishment,” Rang wrote. The three-year starter and two-time second-team All-SEC defender ran a mid-4.8s 40-yard dash at his pro day workout. ranks Flowers as the No. 89 overall player and colleague Dane Brugler projects him as a third-rounder. Apr 20 – 8:59 PM

      1. Interesting kid. I see him suggested as a third round selection but his ultimate role appears to be depth as a rotational rusher. 5th round is where he should go but sounds like he’ll possibly go higher.

  16. Note the power play, with class, the 49ers and Jed are running against youth soccer in Santa Clara.

      1. I glazed over that. I must have gotten to the point where I skip over any roster analysis from a “national” (east coast) reporter. At least he didn’t predict the 49ers taking Arik Armstead.

  17. Boone is an excellent guard but he is even better as a tackle. He’s not going anywhere.

  18. My predictalator says the 49ers going to open on Monday Night Football against Seattle.

    1. I predict a lot less primetime games than recent years. They could put us right back to the 1 MNF against Arizona, and 1 TNF against Seattle days.

      But if I had to guess I’d say opener against Division opponent (may or may not be primetime) and a MNF against NO. Definitely a TNF against Seattle in there somewhere. Possibly a MNF against Pittsburg or Baltimore.

      Good thing I got the Sunday Ticket this year.

    2. My magic 8-ball tells me that our last game of the season will be against Arizona.

    3. My predictalator has stated that the game will be the 2nd of the double header.

  19. 1 Sep 14 MIN @ SF
    2 Sep 20 SF @ PIT
    3 Sep 27 SF @ ARI
    4 Oct 04 GB @ SF
    5 Oct 11 SF @ NYG
    6 Oct 18 BAL @ SF
    7 Oct 22 SEA @ SF
    8 Nov 01 SF @ STL
    9 Nov 08 ATL @ SF
    11 Nov 22 SF @ SEA
    12 Nov 29 ARI @ SF
    13 Dec 06 SF @ CHI
    14 Dec 13 SF @ CLE
    15 Dec 20 CIN @ SF
    16 Dec 27 SF @ DET
    17 Jan 03 STL @ SF

      1. “The rest of the schedule looks relatively sane.” Never mind. Five 10am games is absurd.

      1. I’ve been the biggest optimist on this board. I’ve been telling people… “don’t base everything on. Take a deep breath, examine who remains and the team looks pretty good.” I was predicting 10-11 wins.

        But this schedule is a meat grinder.

        The NFL has a video on its website bragging about its scheduling algorithm. They can’t plug in “no 3000 mile travel days after a Monday night games?”

      2. We won’t know how strong that schedule is until games start getting played. Relax people.

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