Found January 15, 2013 on Fox Sports:
The obvious NFL story line is a remake: the potential for a Harbaugh vs. Harbaugh clash in the Super Bowl. We beat this story to death a year ago until the Giants sent Jim Harbaugh and the 49ers home with a field goal in overtime and a dropped pass and a shanked field goal cost John Harbaugh and the Ravens a trip to the Super Bowl. Here we are again -- the Ravens and the 49ers both a victory away from pitting coaching brothers in sports' biggest contest. But there's a twist. Harbaugh vs. Harbaugh isn't the right narrative this time. Jim Harbaugh vs. Bill Belichick is the more significant story. That's the Super Bowl we should all want to see. Jim vs. Bill would be bigger than last weekend's Peyton vs. Ray clash. In fact, I find Jim vs. Bill more interesting than Tom vs. Peyton. To me, where football is at right now, with the games controlled from the sidelines by coaches speaking directly into the helmets of quarterbacks and middle linebackers, Jim vs. Bill might as well be Ali vs. Frazier, Magic vs. Bird and Kardashian ass vs. spandex rolled into one colossal showdown. Let me explain what we witnessed during the divisional playoffs. Two coaching forces of nature -- Jim Harbaugh and Bill Belichick -- further distanced themselves from their peers. It is not a coincidence or a byproduct of favorable matchups that the 49ers and Patriots had it easy getting past the Packers and the Texans, respectively, while John Harbaugh's Ravens and Mike Smith's Falcons escaped exciting but embarrassingly sloppy contests that featured coaching and strategic nightmares on all four sidelines. Eight coaches showed up over the weekend. Four -- John Harbaugh, Mike Smith, Pete Carroll and John Fox -- made fools of themselves. And two -- Mike McCarthy and Gary Kubiak -- were overwhelmed by Jim Harbaugh and Bill Belichick. Seriously, the Ravens survived what I believe to be the worst playoff coaching performance in history. Credible people are actually suggesting Baltimore offensive coordinator and former Colts coach Jim Caldwell should be a head-coaching candidate because of the 38 points the Ravens scored in 76 minutes. I watched a totally different game. I watched the game in which Caldwell abandoned wide receiver Torrey Smith in the second half and ran Ray Rice on first and second down on nearly every possession, putting Joe Flacco under enormous third-down pressure. Baltimore sustained absolutely nothing on offense. It was all big plays or points off turnovers. Who bailed out Harbaugh and Caldwell? John Fox News, whose late-game decision-making was so conservative and risk-adverse that Roger Ailes allegedly plans to meet with him about running for president in 2016. JFN had Peyton Manning take a knee with two timeouts and 30 seconds on the clock at the end of regulation. Not to be outdone, Pete Carroll auditioned for a late-night spot on MSNBC. Has a coach ever liberally given away more playoff points than Carroll? His timeout before the game-deciding field goal was a nonfactor. The field goals he didn't take and the boneheaded clock management in the first half decided Seattle's fate. Carroll's foolishness allowed Smith to avoid discussing his own strategic stupidity. Had Seattle hung on for the victory, Smith would've had to explain what the greatest tight end in history, Tony Gonzalez, was doing blocking on third and 7 on Atlanta's second-to-last possession. Gonzalez was invented for third and 7. He caught everything close to him on Sunday, including the pass that set up the game-winning field goal. Seattle's pass rush wasn't a factor on Sunday. Why was Tony blocking on third and 7? And shall I mention Atlanta's squib kick after the game-winning field goal or why Smith called a timeout with 13 seconds on the clock before the field goal? Why leave 13 seconds on the clock and time for two Seattle pass plays? It was a coaching disaster over the weekend. Only two coaches -- Belichick and Jim Harbaugh -- were left unscathed. Belichick has long stood out, but his reputation has yet to fully recover from the Spygate controversy that taints his three Super Bowl titles. He needs to add a fourth to re-stamp his name alongside Vince Lombardi as professional football's coaching gold standard. Harbaugh is the new and possibly improved Belichick. Better looking, more colorful, brash, filled with collegiate energy and emotion and a former NFL player, Harbaugh is a natural, a coaching tsunami like we've never seen. Except he does remind me of Belichick in one respect. Belichick made his bones by making a bold move at quarterback thanks to an injury. You know the story. Belichick stuck with Tom Brady, a sixth-round pick, over his $100 million QB Drew Bledsoe and won a Super Bowl. Harbaugh is attempting to do the exact same thing, only his move to Colin Kaepernick over Alex Smith is more audacious than Belichick's move to Brady. Bledsoe's injury caused him to sit for two months. Belichick had plenty of time to evaluate Brady, who didn't throw an interception in four consecutive games. I'm not saying it was an easy choice, but Harbaugh's was much more difficult. In Alex Smith's last full game, he completed 18 of 19 passes for 232 yards and three touchdowns. His lone incompletion was a drop. He suffered a concussion in San Fran's following game against the Rams. He completed seven of eight passes for one score before getting hurt. Smith lost his job while he was leading the league in passer rating and had completed 25 of his last 27 throws for four scores. He missed one game with a concussion. Jim Harbaugh is ruthless (in a good way) and bold in a way we could never imagine previously. If the 49ers win this weekend in Atlanta with Kaepernick playing anything like the way he did against the Packers, Harbaugh's impact on the NFL will reverberate for the next decade. The unwritten rule about not losing a job to injury will be rewritten in permanent ink to reflect that a player can lose his job for sneezing at the wrong time or any other reason a coach chooses. More seriously, no one will look at a QB controversy as a negative again. If you have the right coach, with a proper command of his locker room, there is no such thing as a QB controversy. There is just QB change. Nearly every team will be shopping in the draft for a Colin Kaepernick to put pressure on the starting QB. I'm not talking about teams looking for QBs who can run the read option. I'm talking about teams being on a constant search to improve at the QB position the same way teams constantly try to improve their offensive lines. The Texans, Cowboys, Bears, Lions, Bengals and Chargers -- all teams with good QBs -- should look for their Kaepernick in this year's draft. Why not? Belichick started all this when he got lucky and fell into Brady late in the 2000 draft. A decade later, Harbaugh took it to a new level when he hunted down Kaepernick in the second round of the 2011 draft and forced him into the lineup as soon as an opportunity presented itself. Belichick and Harbaugh are game-changers. Belichick vs. Harbaugh is the Super Bowl matchup I want to see. Jim Harbaugh vs. John Harbaugh is last year's story.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Jim Harbaugh posted high school photos of his players on their lockers

According to Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times, 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh placed a laminated photo of each of his players from back in high school and what they were nationally ranked as football players. Coach Jim Harbaugh had a laminated sheet made for each player during wild-card weekend, which the 49ers had off, then surprised the players with them when they reentered...

Will the Harbaugh brothers meet in the Super Bowl?

O Brother, Where art thou? The Harbaugh brothers, Jim and John, are each, for the second consecutive year, one step from the Super Bowl. That is pretty, pretty good. No? It raises the question (though it does not beg it, because begging the question is a philosophical term that has nothing to do with raising a question): Are the Harbaugh brothers to NFL coaching what the Manning...

Jim Harbaugh Says He’s Half The Coach His Brother John Is

It must be a gift and a curse to have a brother in the same profession, when both of you are really good at what you do and people around you expect you to fight for supremacy. The Harbaugh brothers like any siblings are competitive with each other to a point, but do their best to avoid it turning into a rivalry. Ravens head coach John Harbaugh is the older of the two and has always...

Jim Harbaugh Used Old High School Pictures To Motivate 49ers

San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh is all about using whatever tactics he can to motivate his players, so last weekend Harbaugh went old school on them according to the L.A. Times, and hung up their photo’s from when they were in high school, with their rankings above each locker to remind them of expectations and earlier aspirations. Each player got a laminated sheet...

Family affair? Harbaughs embrace Super Bowl possibility

For the Harbaugh family, Saturday will be a day that gets remembered for a long, long time. Not just because the NFL teams John and Jim coach won divisional round playoff games, either. Their brother-in-law, Indiana men's basketball coach, Tom Crean, won his game earlier in the morning too. The big winners, Jack and Jackie Harbaugh, watched all three from their basement in...

Dominance: Five Reasons Why The 49ers Will Win Super Bowl XLVII

The first reason is head coach Jim Harbaugh.  During his lengthy 14 year playing career, Jim Harbaugh commanded his teams to a combined record of 66-74, reflecting that he wasn’t the greatest of quarterbacks to step foot onto a field.  However, he is 24-8 as a coach, reflecting that he was a great student and learned from some top notch coaches during his playing days.  Prior...

Jim Harbaugh: Master Motivator – KSK Kontent Klearinghouse

Jim Harbaugh has never made it to the Super Bowl as a player or coach, though this Sunday marks his third conference championship game appearance and second in as many years. Eager to make good on his latest chance at championship glory, Harbs has been trying to fire up his players by posting pictures of them as high schoolers on their lockers. Coach Jim Harbaugh had a laminated...

Bisciotti sent Harbaugh in-game text of thanks

With the Ravens trailing by a touchdown late in the fourth quarter in Denver, majority owner Steve Bisciotti wrote a text message to Harbaugh. Dealing with the flu, Bisciotti wasn't able to attend the game. "I've never texted you during a game," said Harbaugh in the locker room afterward with cameras capturing him reading the text to the players. "We are...

‘Sting Ray A Double-Sided Scooby Snack’ – NFL’s Bad Lip Reading Is An Essential Watch

Please stop whatever you’re doing and watch this. If you’ve already seen it, watch it eight more times. Watch it until it is your dreams. Gotta say, the Super Bowl with the 49ers will be quite interesting with Jim Harbaugh’s incessant demands for cake and the revelation that Joe Staley set a guy on fire. [via] The post ‘Sting Ray A Double-Sided Scooby Snack’ – NFL’s...

49ers seek to break long road playoff drought

SAN FRANCISCO -- For a team as storied as the San Francisco 49ers, it sure has been awhile since the last time they won a road playoff game. Jan. 8, 1989, to be exact. The 49ers traveled to Chicago, where they beat the Bears 28-3 at Solider Field as a pit stop on their way to the Super Bowl title in New Orleans. It wasn't until later that year when rookie running back LaMichael...

Ravens owner happy win or lose

Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti was unable to attend Saturday's game against the Denver Broncos because of the flu.  But he was very happy with the team win or lose. As Ravens head coach John Harbaugh exited the field after the Ravens pulled off a stunning victory in

Bill Belichick 18-7 Postseason Record Trumps John Harbaugh (7-4)

Bill Belichick is 18-7 in the postseason and 5-2 in his career against the Baltimore Ravens.

Dying Meme Watch: ‘Kaepernicking’ Is A Thing Now, Because Of Course It Is

When San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh opted to stick with Colin Kaepernick as his starting quarterback even after a concussed Alex Smith had been cleared to play, a lot of Niner fans were pissed off. Smith, of course, was vocal about his discontent with being benched, saying something like, “All I did to lose my job was get a concussion and not look like a young Gregory Hines...

49ers to face former coach in NFC title game

(Eds: APNewsNow. Will be updated.) By JOSH DUBOW AP Sports Writer Mike Nolan's 3 1/2-year tenure as coach for the San Francisco 49ers offered few highlights on the field. An 18-37 record before a mid-season firing in 2008. No playoff berths for a franchise used to winning championships. A parade of offensive coordinators unable to develop Alex Smith at quarterback. Yet to call...
NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.