COHN: Jim Harbaugh's sideline antics may be harmful to 49ers

  • San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh protests a non-call by the officials during the Super Bowl.

SANTA CLARA -- Go on the internet. Look for a video called, “The Best Jim Harbaugh Freakouts.” It's easy to find.

It shows the 49ers' coach freaking out on the sideline during games, a wild man throwing his clipboard, screaming at the refs, screaming at who knows who. Just screaming.

If Harbaugh were a child, you'd call it pitching a fit. You'd send him to his room. This I freely admit, the freakout video is funny and there's something elemental about Harbaugh, even enjoyable. But you probably wouldn't invite him over for dinner. If he didn't like pot roast, he might throw it or you out the window.

Of course, we in the Bay Area knew about Freaking Jim long before the Niners lost to the Ravens last Sunday, knew all about his tantrums, his horrible manners, mostly directed at the media. Which means they are directed at you, the fans.

But two things changed Super Bowl Sunday.

First, an enormous national audience got to see the Freaking coach. From what I've read, some rational people were taken aback by such blatant fury so out of proportion to the immediate stimuli. Lots of people didn't like the Harbaugh Show. One commentator on ESPN called him a “buffoon.”

Second, Harbaugh lost the game, making him the only 49ers' coach to lose the big one. When you are a winner, people will put up with just about anything. And in Harbaugh's case, they sure have.

But when you lose, when you are just another Super Bowl loser, there's a sense of a contract broken. People notice you. They tend to be more critical. Aside from the tantrums, the whining about the officials, people notice — or recall — Harbaugh being snide, condescending, rude, intolerant, secretive, defensive, unsubtle and, worst of all, uninteresting.

Harbaugh the man, fell victim to Harbaugh the loser coach.

Life can be so unfair.

What is wrong with Harbaugh going off on the sideline, especially during the Super Bowl?

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