After Notre Dame's not near as close as it seemed victory over Stanford, Tree coach Jim Harbaugh was clearly unhappy with a second-quarter call in which the officials penalized the Cardinal for interfering with a punt returner's ability to catch the ball.
What Harbaugh (and Haden for that matter) thought he saw was a Stanford player penalized for one Notre Dame player bumping another, which in his mind nullified a muffed punt that would have given Stanford back the ball.
One problem with that point of view: the ball hit a Stanford player in the back who clearly impeded Allen's ability to catch the punt. Blocking a player from catching the ball fits any possible definition of interference.
It never touched a Notre Dame player. While Harbaugh and Haden focused on the contact (which was ND on ND) the actual infraction was committed two feet away by the Stanford player standing in the way of the punt. This guy didn't even get it after the fact.
It wasn't the contact that was the issue, it was standing in the way of the punt that was the problem. It was an obvious foul that had to be called.
Yet Harbaugh blew a gasket, ran onto the field the threw his hat. After the game, in unsolicited comments, he said, "It's hard to imagine people don't know football any better than that."
Monday the Pac-10 reprimanded Harbaugh for ass-like behavior.
"Pac-10 officials have reviewed video of the play, and it is apparent the Stanford player covering the punt impeded the Notre Dame player attempting to catch it.
"The call was correct."
He also complained about the spot on Robert Hughes first down run, which for those not watching closely (like Haden,) seemed to fall short. But what the ref saw and Haden didn't was Hughes extending the ball out over first down marker as he was being tackled.
Nothing new here for Harbaugh. He came into the league whining and it appears, much like many Michigan men before him, he'll whine his way through his career.
At first I thought he was just trying to drum up publicity for a Stanford team that can't fill its reduced sized stadium (see Marinelli,) but now it's clear Harbaugh (as Kabong noted and I was thinking) has a little Matt Doherty in him.
If nothing else it beats Buddy Ball and will make the yearly match-up more intriguing.
I can see the JOB t-shirts.
Jims Outrageous Bunch!
At least Stanford won't be boring every year.