By Dash Hamley
SANTA CLARA – San Francisco 49ers head coach, Jim Harbaugh, has much to prepare for in the offseason: refining his program, indoctrinating rookies and new players, and planning the practice schedules. Most of his work is to lead the team, but during the offseason, Harbaugh does something for himself. He keeps up a strict whining regimen.
“It’s just one of the things that’s part of my game,” said Harbaugh. “First thing I do when I get into my office, after emails and whatever else, is get down on the floor and start whining. It’s practice, just like my players do.”
Whining is one of the most integral parts of Harbaugh’s game. His screams, flops, and non-existent fuse have produced the biggest tantrums on the sidelines since he joined the NFL. Every call against his team, no matter how small, causes him to fly off the handle, and it’s all a strategy.
“It’s all about gamesmanship,” he said. “If there’s some way to influence the refs to get one, maybe two calls to go my way, then, hey, that could mean the difference between winning and losing. I’ll make a damn fool out of myself at any chance that I can.”
Harbaugh’s regimen starts out with basic stretches to loosen up his muscles. He follows that with 30 upward arm swings, 30 clipboard tosses, 30 tantrum jumps, and 30 belly flops. Once that is done, he screams for 10 one-minute intervals. If he has time, he ends the regimen with rolling across the floor back and forth in front of his office for 10 laps. Sometimes, he asks his assistant to throw a yellow flag in front of him at random times during practice.
“I need to keep vigilant,” he said. “I need to keep up with my players. I don’t let them slack off, so neither can I.”
So far, his tantrums on the field haven’t reversed any calls, but it’s impossible to determine if his whining had any influence on the referees. Still, that won’t deter Jim Harbaugh from acting like a spoiled brat at any chance he gets.
“I will do whatever I can to help my team win. Hell, I’ll wear a bib and a pacifier around my neck if it helps. I have no shame.”