Paul Sakuma/Associated Press
The most perplexing thing in all this is that reporters, national writers and other media professionals have presumed to know the inner workings of someone else’s working relationship. That’s quite stunning.
Human interaction is complex enough to figure out when the two people involved know every single second of every single interaction they’ve had. How on earth does someone 3,000 miles away, relying on unnamed sources, have the slightest clue as to what is going on in their office behind closed doors?
Many of which are the same outlets that have the 49ers prioritizing defensive tackle as the No. 1 need in the 2014 draft.
And unfortunately, despite the local media's tremendous efforts to keep fans up to date with what’s going on and provide their best interpretation of the situation, the national outlets are reading it and re-reporting these theories as fact, which they are not.
It seems people’s account of what they saw or how they perceive it translate into actual “incidents” people think Harbaugh and Baalke are having an abundance of—and there’s a disconnect.
Moreover, another point to be drawn from Eric Branch’s article in the San Francisco Chronicle recounting a dialogue with Jed York about the working relationship of Jim Harbaugh and Trent Baalke is that people are focusing on a small percent of the so-called dysfunction.
Here is a tidbit from Branch’s article detailing their unique rapport:
At the time, York said Harbaugh and Baalke saw eye-to-eye on personnel decisions “95 percent of the time.” The other five percent? York, chuckling, said those were not the warmest-and-fuzziest of discussions.
“That’s always very entertaining to see those conversations,” York said. “But they fight with each other and they push each other because they both want to win.”
One of the important things is why they’d be argumentative at times, and that’s because they’re two alphas that share a common goal.
Branch mentions the great respect the two have for one another, which is something he gained in hearing from York. And it’s also why anyone engages in an argument in the first place. There’s a willingness to hear each other out and work toward a solution for the sake of something greater than the individuals involved.
Folks want to fester over the selection of wide receiver A.J. Jenkins at No. 30 overall in 2012, and that's no surprise. There’s been talk of possible friction that could’ve been caused by Trent Baalke passing on Stanford fullback Owen Marecic in 2011 and selecting tailback Kendall Hunter and fullback Bruce Miller instead.
But in hindsight, why would Harbaugh harbor negative feelings over that?
Baalke decimated the 2011 and 2013 drafts. We're still yet to see it unfold. And as for Marecic, the team has a starting-caliber backup in Hunter and an All-Pro-type blocker and receiving back in Miller. Added to which, Marecic is AWOL from the league at the age of 25. So how much did “the perfect football player” really love the game?
In the grand scheme of things, these are trivial.
This is a ballclub that has led in Pro Bowl voting since 2011, sending roughly eight starters per year.
People conveniently forget to mention Trent Baalke’s successful trade up for LSU safety Eric Reid, who was Harbaugh’s handpicked safety he recruited to Stanford.
Trading up for Colin Kaepernick in Round 2 in 2011 was no easy task either. But Baalke accomplished what was arguably his most important charge by beating out the Oakland Raiders, who were on hot on the trail for the dual-threat from Nevada, and obtaining Harbaugh’s quarterback of the future, via Peter King of Sports Illustrated.
That was the most important thing Baalke could’ve done in his entire tenure, past, present and probably future.
And for Harbaugh, who was going to tie his NFL coaching career to a quarterback, he should never forget that Baalke pulled that off. They could’ve wound up with Ryan Mallett if Baalke fell asleep at the wheel. But instead, many find it easier to nitpick the misses than it is to appreciate the sensational roster they’ve assembled together.