Immediately after the San Francisco 49ers closed out their 25-19 upset of the previously undefeated Detroit Lions, Jim Harbaugh and Jim Schwartz approached one another for the traditional post-game handshake.
Harbaugh swung hard in what looked like more of a high-five motion as he approached Schwartz. He followed up his strong contact with a powerful pat on the back.
However, Schwartz didn’t respect Harbaugh’s energetic, strong offering and decided to charge after Harbaugh. Schwartz went after Harbaugh, obviously irked by the handshake, but he went way overboard.
Schwartz set a bad example for his team. Regardless of whether or not Harbaugh swore at Schwartz—which he claims he did—Schwartz was the one who looked like a fool on camera.
According to NFL.com, Harbaugh apologized about the situation saying, "I was really revved up. That wasn't me, just shook his hand too hard... That's on me. Handshake was too hard."
Although it’s smart that Harbaugh apologized, he really didn’t have anything to apologize for. Schwartz was completely out of line for physically going after Harbaugh and he was clearly just upset that his team lost the game.
There is no definitive way that coaches are supposed to approach a handshake. Maybe Harbaugh was a little fired up, but with good reason.
Should Harbaugh have calmed himself a little before reaching the opposing coach? Yes, but Schwartz needs to shrug off the strong handshake because he is the head coach and an important figure in the Lions organization.
The Lions season received its first blemish on Sunday with the loss to the 49ers, but San Francisco earned the win with incredible defense and well-timed offense. The only negative story coming out of Detroit tomorrow should be the reaction of the Lions head coach after the game.
Both the Lions and Niners are teams on the rise, as they are both tied for second in the entire NFC with matching 5-1 records. Schwartz needs to apologize for what he did and accept the fine that he could—and should—be administered.