You saw it. I saw it. Jim Harbaugh saw it. And, except for a few odd moments when he seemed to be yelling at Harbaugh while looking into the stands, Jim Schwartz saw it.
One coach went hopscotching onto the field like he'd just won American Idol while the other screamed obscenities at everyone within earshot.
Or, at least, that's what we all saw at first glance. Now it's time to slow it down, grab a notebook and break this thing down. Step by step.
First things first. The game ends with San Francisco knocking off Detroit 25-19 courtesy of a failed fourth-down conversion from the Lions. Next, Jim Harbaugh proceeds to jog onto the field, with a steadfast resolve that is in stark contrast to the pen tied around his neck, which is bouncing and jostling like a hot dog on a windy day. Seriously, watch the tape. That pen is having the time of its life.
What happens next is hard to say, but it appears that Harbaugh briefly considers pulling his sweatshirt and undershirt over his head in an homage to Brandi Chastain and the 1999 Women's World Cup championship team. However, just as he really gets going, finds the shirts untucked and exposes his stomach, he stops.
He quickly turns to his left and engages offensive tackle Alex Boone in a stunted game of pat-a-cake. Harbaugh obviously thinks he's won this game, as well, as evidenced by his quick spinning jump and touchdown-signal hand raise. Tough sh**, Boone.
Then, it gets real.
After lowering his arms and coiling for one more big hop, Harbaugh turns his attention toward Jim Schwartz. More specifically, Schwartz's right hand. It's unclear what the draw was, but the fire in Harbaugh's eyes at this exact moment is bright enough to light the entire city of Tokyo. He wants that hand. No, he needs that hand—and he takes it. With gusto.
Schwartz, however, notices that Harbaugh's taken a liking to his appendage, and immediately takes a counteraction by moving his hand toward Harbaugh's. Contact is now inevitable, and the point of no return has been reached. The hands meet.
A trained meeter of people, Harbaugh is unfazed by Schwartz's shake and deftly slips it to his left while simultaneously reminding Schwartz of his previous victory over Boone with a sharp pat to the back.
It is at this point that Harbaugh utters something. Actually, it looks as if he screams "yeah!" when the hands first meet, but screaming positive exclamations is customary, and Schwartz lets it go. The exchange we're referring to now, however, is one that can't quite be made out. It may have been a trade offer involving Frank Gore, but there's no real way to tell.
Still, whatever it is, Schwartz is not impressed. He really hates Gore.
Schwartz starts to walk away despite being shoved aside by a man who obviously believes he is now standing on a trampoline. But he balks as Harbaugh speaks for the last time.
Schwartz, now confused, turns to locate Harbaugh. Harbaugh, who is never one to pass up an opportunity to show off his manners, slightly alters his directions and runs closer to Schwartz so that he can hear what the other Jim has to say.
As Harbaugh again picks up speed, still oblivious to the pen around his neck, Schwartz can be seen offering a few words of his own. Some are impossible to decipher, but one of them definitely rhymes with "duck."
Harbaugh, however, is still on a high that a man can only experience when winning a Week 6 game over a team only two seasons removed from going 0-16. He doesn't seem to mind Schwartz's foul language, though decorum does require that he quickly head for the nearest locker room to write in his journal and teach orphans to read. That's what he tries to do.
But Schwartz is having none of it.
Schwartz moves at almost full speed, holding back some so that he doesn't overrun his intended target, something he still hasn't been able to teach Chris Houston. Seeing an excellent opportunity to combine yelling and coaching, Schwartz puts on the brakes at the perfect time and makes contact with Harbaugh.
The focus here is otherworldly as Schwartz manages to find Harbaugh while still never taking his eyes off the crowd. That's when the voices are raised.
Players from both teams step in, along with one short man in a suit. Video evidence cannot confirm the presence of the man in the suit in the earlier sequences, but he must have been there, and he must have been the mastermind behind the entire thing. Let me tell you, Schwartz hates this guy.
And the only explanation is that the man in the suit was pulling the strings that led to the initial hand-to-hand contact because even when Harbaugh ducks into the crowd to calmly count to 10 while the situation is diffused, Schwartz continues to berate the man in the suit.
Finally, Harbaugh gets to 10 and reemerges before making a beeline for the tunnel. Schwartz again takes a sublime pursuit angle, cutting Harbaugh off from his journal, which is housed in the visitors' locker room.
The two coaches are once again swarmed by players and referees before the entire scene merges into a massive mess with players from both sides screaming travel tips to each other in case this inevitable playoff matchup is hosted in San Francisco. Harbaugh's boys know that it's important to be a gracious host.
The crowd finally disperses once everyone realizes that the final score has not changed in the past seven minutes.
The coaches are led to their respective media rooms to conduct post-game interviews. Not surprisingly, Harbaugh takes the high road and blames himself without a hint of sarcasm, saying that he simply shook Schwartz's hand "too hard" and that he shouldn't have done so.
Schwartz attributed the fire-starting spark to the slap on the back, which he called a shove. Alex Boone attested to the fact that Harbaugh's slaps often feel like shoves. Schwartz also noted Harbaugh's mysterious departing comment, which has still not been transcribed, and accused Harbaugh of breaking protocol.
The coaches eventually left the podiums after reporters ran out of inventive ways to ask about the tiff, and both teams went home with 5-1 records.
The Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings talked about it, and decided they would still play their Sunday night game.