If any sane people had doubts about the 49ers before the game, they surely don’t now. Unfortunately, the 49ers' biggest win in recent history is being overshadowed by a brouhaha that has much to do about nothing.
After the game, 49ers’ head coach Jim Harbaugh was excited (to say the least). Many people said he celebrated like he just won the Super Bowl. Well, to Harbaugh—he had.
Harbaugh has installed a philosophy in his team: 16, single-game seasons. A blue collar mentality combined with the idea of getting better every day. Those three philosophies, along with the energy and passion Harbaugh has provided, is the reason the 49ers are winning.
So, when the last second ran off the clock, Jim Harbaugh began to celebrate with his players. He jumped up and down and untucked his shirt as he does after every game. This is a symbol to his players that collates with his blue collar philosophy.
Harbaugh - “It’s a mentality that when we work we tuck our shirts in. When work is over, we untuck ‘em and we win, we celebrate. That’s the theme and the message behind that, and it goes back a ways. I had some uncles that lived in Ohio that worked a blue-collar job and when they came home from their work, they’d untuck their shirts, sit on the couch, put their feet up on the coffee table and eat some pizza and drink a beer. Those were good times. Those were good times to be a kid and just watch them do that. We’re kind of taking that approach, that theme here.”
Mid-celebration, Harbaugh met up with Lions coach Jim Schwartz for the traditional handshake, as NFL coaches usually do. In the moment, Harbaugh slapped his hand a bit too hard for Schwartz’s taste. Particularly after being handed a loss at home. You’ve seen what followed.
The worst thing about all of this? We should be talking about how good this new 49ers team is. We should be talking about these things:
-The 49ers are in total command of the NFC West and the playoffs appear imminent.
-The 49ers defense hasn't given up a 100 yard rushing game in 28 games.
-The 49ers were the first team this year to keep Calvin “Megatron” Johnson out of the end zone.
-Rookie Chris Culliver played amazingly well against Johnson in the game.
-Rookie Aldon Smith had another amazing game and is probably in the lead for Defensive Rookie of the Year.
-Frank Gore rushed only 15 times but for 141 yards and is on pace to break the 49ers all-time leading rush record in a matter of just a few games.
-Alex Smith is playing solid football for the first time in his career and came through with the clutch pass to Delanie Walker that put the 49ers on top in the final moments.
-Michael Crabtree (although the end zone is still deceiving him) had a solid game with 9 catches for 77 yards. More surprising, the guy is blocking. Yes, Crabtree.
The list goes on and on and on...
This 49ers team is good, possibly even great. I hope as time passes, so does Handshake-Gate, and the 49ers can finally get the attention and respect they deserve.
This article was originally published in the Benicia Herald.
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