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Jim Harbaugh sticks to his Manning story, to chagrin of “diabolical” doubters

Jim Harbaugh AP

If 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh was bothered by the fact that his explanation regarding the non-pursuit of Peyton Manning had become a “running joke” in league circles, there’s a good chance it has been knocked from the top of the list.

Thanks to Harbaugh’s decision to revisit his remarks.

In a recent interview with ESPN.com’s Mike Sando, Harbaugh suggested that anyone who disputes the truthfulness of his tale has taken a ticket from one of Dante’s circles of Hell.

“That you can concisely, exactly say it how you see it and believe it, and then somebody can call you a liar, that would make me wonder about the shadiness of that person,” Harbaugh told Sando.  “You know, the seediness, the diabolical world that somebody would live in that would think that another man would come right to his face and lie to him.”

That diabolical world is called Earth, where people come right to other people’s faces and lie.  All the time.

Lying routinely happens in the diabolical world of football, where deception routinely is used to secure on-field results (the zone blitz, the play-action pass, the surprise onside kick) and off-field advantages (feigning interest in a player that the team has no interest in drafting in the hopes someone higher in the pecking order will).  Recognizing that reality and running facially implausible explanations through the B.S. filter isn’t a crime.  Or even a sin.  Only the completely naïve always take others at their word, especially when their word doesn’t seem to mesh with the available objective evidence.

“You don’t really understand another man until you’ve walked in their shoes, but I don’t understand that world,” Harbaugh added.  “I don’t understand the world where somebody would lie themselves or be lied to to that extent where they could commit character assassination on somebody else that is telling the truth.”

There’s a valid point buried in those words (somewhere), but it doesn’t apply in this case, where all the available proof indicates that the 49ers did something much more than “evaluate” Peyton Manning.

Rather than personally attack with colorful imagery anyone (which also happens to be pretty much everyone) who doubted his words, Harbaugh’s better play would have been to acknowledge that he understands why people were inclined to not believe him, but that he knows he was telling the truth and that he can’t ultimately control whether or not anyone believes him and that all that matters is whether he can sleep at night and he can.

None of this means Harbaugh is a bad guy.  He’s a great coach.  But he’s apparently feeling a lot of pressure as he prepares for his second season on the job.  The bar will be much higher in 2012 than it was in 2011, and it won’t be quite as easy to win 13 regular-season games, especially with a quarterback who may be looking over his shoulder (and in turn holding the ball a bit more tightly) after the 49ers’ pursuit/evaluation/whatever of Peyton Manning and the presence of many talented players at the skill positions and the availability during games of only one football.  Throw onto the depth chart the guy drafted right after Pro Bowler Andy Dalton in 2011 and one of Harbaugh’s former pupils from the University of San Diego, and there’s reason for Alex Smith to be nervous.

Which means there’s reason for Harbaugh to be nervous.

And there’s nothing shady, seedy, or diabolical about believing that.

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44 Responses to “Jim Harbaugh sticks to his Manning story, to chagrin of “diabolical” doubters”
  1. doresb21 says: Jun 14, 2012 2:56 PM

    There is always a method to his madness. The guy is a pure genius and knows how to use the media (or stonewall them). He’s the best football coach in the game today and has been extremely successful with every team he’s coached. He wins and his players love him. Keep doubting him and you’ll constantly be disappointed.

  2. thegreatgabbert says: Jun 14, 2012 2:57 PM

    “The voices, the voices….make them stop!”.

  3. dcalifornian says: Jun 14, 2012 2:57 PM

    The guy drafted right after Andy Dalton (Kaepernick) apparently can’t hit the broad side of a barn this preseason. So I’m guessing Alex Smith might manage to be okay this season.

  4. crazybeardedjack says: Jun 14, 2012 3:00 PM

    A lawyer writing a treatise on lying, my day is complete.

  5. cakemixa says: Jun 14, 2012 3:01 PM

    Does anyone really care at this point? We all know they were interested. Case closed.

  6. thekingdave says: Jun 14, 2012 3:03 PM

    Well said

  7. citizenstrange says: Jun 14, 2012 3:06 PM

    “Nattering nabobs of negativism.” — Spiro Agnew

  8. sonoco says: Jun 14, 2012 3:06 PM

    Days before the 49ers involvement in the Manning derby was finally leaked Jim Trotter of SI reported that the owner of one 2011 NFL playoff team said they were not pursuing Manning but would seriously consider signing him if Manning called them. At the time of Trotters report Denver was actively and publicly in pursuit. Looking at the remaining playoff teams it’s pretty clear that the team Trotter referenced was the 49ers. Also Matt Barrows of the Sac Bee reported in a Manning aftermath story on 3/20 that Manning reached out to the 49ers. Other than those two reports I’ve seen no mention either way about who contacted who . . . other than a groupthink assumption that the 49ers initiated contact. All we really know is that after contact was initiated the 49ers flew to Duke to watch Manning throw then sent their doctors in to examine him. The extent of the “pursuit” is entirely debatable and Jim Harbaugh’s comments are more correct than anyone is willing to admit.

  9. sea3369 says: Jun 14, 2012 3:14 PM

    Such an idiot he is

  10. 32bigg says: Jun 14, 2012 3:23 PM

    Wow, I like Harbaugh, but he is digging himself a huge hole of credibility.

    He is clearly delusional if he thinks people buy this sh$%, and the trust of his players will be the biggest consequence of his foolishness.

  11. insanelomein2 says: Jun 14, 2012 3:24 PM

    Harbaugh gave the standard corporate answer.

    With that being said, any team without a definitive franchise QB should have kicked the tires on Manning, just because of his resume’ and prowess.

  12. steelersownyou says: Jun 14, 2012 3:27 PM

    How can anybody like the harbaugh brothers? Theyre absolutely insufferable. Makes me so thankful for Tomlin. Seeing that there is idiots coaching such as these Harbaugh clowns!

  13. trollhammer20 says: Jun 14, 2012 3:32 PM

    So I suppose Harbaugh is going to believe every political ad he sees from now until November.

  14. nickster31 says: Jun 14, 2012 3:46 PM

    This has to be an inside joke with someone. No chance does he believe a word he is saying.

    That is as bad as a guy going to test drive a car, then say, “No, I really don’t want to buy a new car”.

  15. realitypolice says: Jun 14, 2012 3:48 PM

    I believe Harbaugh’s exasperation may be borne from the fact that he comes from the major college ranks, where local media tend to treat successful coaches more like heroes to be worshipped rather than subjects to be questioned.

    He isn’t used to reporters questioning his answers and it bothers him immensely.

    Better get used to it.

  16. nepaseahawk says: Jun 14, 2012 3:53 PM

    so he didn’t persue him,but stated that if peyton called the 9ers they would be interested.???? and then only because peyton wanted them to they watched him throw and had doctors check him out?? oh…..ok then so he was humoring a peyton manning request but had no intentions or real interest(you did agree to fly to duke). fact is they pursued peyton…whether they did it directly or indirectly

  17. jayniner says: Jun 14, 2012 3:55 PM

    Harbaugh will be laughing at all the “diabolical” doubters…all the way to the Super Bowl.

  18. sb44champs says: Jun 14, 2012 4:02 PM

    “He’s the best football coach in the game today”
    ————————————-
    Um, OK…. It’s impossible for a coach with 1 year under his belt to be the ‘best’ in the NFL when you have coaches that have had long term success like Bill Belicheck.

  19. Nevis says: Jun 14, 2012 4:19 PM

    realitypolice says:
    Jun 14, 2012 3:48 PM
    I believe Harbaugh’s exasperation may be borne from the fact that he comes from the major college ranks, where local media tend to treat successful coaches more like heroes to be worshipped rather than subjects to be questioned.

    He isn’t used to reporters questioning his answers and it bothers him immensely.

    Better get used to it.

    ————————

    He’s never liked the media and he’s never pretended otherwise. This kind of stuff is par for the course for him, dating back even before Stanford.

    Reality is, he only cares about coaching and isn’t worried what anyone outside the locker room thinks.

  20. saintsfan26 says: Jun 14, 2012 4:19 PM

    Harbaugh the smart move would have been to just shut your pie hole!

  21. sonoco says: Jun 14, 2012 4:21 PM

    @nepaseahawk says: Correct. Unlike the rest of the suitors who were after Manning like they were in heat (like a certain management team that was rejected on the tarmac in Denver). Manning called the 49ers, the 49ers checked him out, Manning signed with Denver. How serious their discussions were after the evaluation is speculative at best. The news was kept quiet for three days after the 49ers went out there . . . I believe because Condon knew there would be no deal and decided to leak the 49ers involvement to leverage Denver against Tennessee . . . and the word was Manning didn’t really want to play in the NFC.

  22. mochris says: Jun 14, 2012 4:30 PM

    He then continued by asking Sando if he has stopped beating his wife, David Stern style.

  23. ademell1 says: Jun 14, 2012 4:33 PM

    Harbaugh is pissed that Denver (Qb-wise) has it better than him.

    But get over it. Continuing to insult people’s intelligence when it’s not that hard to figure out that Manning gives you a better chance to win than Smith…it’s just stupid.

  24. CKL says: Jun 14, 2012 4:38 PM

    Nevis says:
    Jun 14, 2012 4:19 PM

    Reality is, he only cares about coaching and isn’t worried what anyone outside the locker room thinks.
    ________________________________
    That’s a good thing, but his continuing to talk about this months later shows that’s simply not 100% true. If he doesn’t care what people think, why keep talking about it TO the “people”? Let alone with such melodramatic comments.

  25. mrmarcus55 says: Jun 14, 2012 4:45 PM

    Lol @ ademell1 Harbaugh isn’t pissed at anything broncos have over the 49ers. Ill take a healthy alex and our defense over a manning with alot of questions marks and a bad defense.

    ‘if the 49ers success offends you, so be it’ – jim harbaugh

  26. jaymc1988 says: Jun 14, 2012 5:07 PM

    ok wtf does this guy keep talkin about it for.. its actually starting to get really irritating.. its obvious to me and everyone in the sports would u tried to get peyton. 1. hes the arguably the best QB in nfl history. 2. u got alex smith as ur qb (although he did have a good year). and 3. u gave smith a contract extention not 2 long after peyton turned niners down. stop the bs. n stop talkin about it

  27. 14liloso says: Jun 14, 2012 5:48 PM

    How did all this talk about Peyton Manning, end up bringing up Alex Smith. Atleast wait till tha season starts.

  28. canadian52niner says: Jun 14, 2012 6:05 PM

    People forget that Peyton is still a risk – 3 neck surgeries in 2 years people! People called Jim stupid at the start of last year – how did that work out for you. Alex smith with another year under Jim and a full offseason will improve and may surprise a lot. Mark my words, Alex will be a lot better and Peyton may leave the broncos hanging. Would u rather have a good qb who is improving and buying into the coaches kool aid or a hurt hall of fame qb?

    In Jim We Trust!

  29. ademell1 says: Jun 14, 2012 6:32 PM

    lol at Alex Smith fans. I got nothing against him. I’ve actually thought he’s gotten a bad rap for years, thought he’d do good last year but that’s not the point.

    Josh Johnson would do just as good if not better than Alex in this offense, and if you gave Kaepernick a shot he might too.

    There’s a reason WHY the Niners only did 3 year contract for Smith. They can actually get out of that deal in a year and be fine. He’s not their future. He can’t make some of the throws. The weapons he got for this year SHOULD make him a better Qb…but in the crunch time, in the playoffs…we’ll see.

    They didn’t draft Kaepernick (trading up in front of OAK who was going to pick him) so he could sit on the bench for more than a couple years.

  30. timj997 says: Jun 14, 2012 9:26 PM

    “Throw onto the depth chart the guy drafted right after Pro Bowler Andy Dalton in 2011 and one of Harbaugh’s former pupils from the University of San Diego, and there’s reason for Alex Smith to be nervous.

    Which means there’s reason for Harbaugh to be nervous.”

    Considering Harbaugh talks over and over again about competition at every position, I really doubt he’s nervous about trying to bring in the best quarterback he can. Do you really expect him to to bring Ryan Leaf out of retirement, just so he can point out to Alex Smith that his job is safe, which would then make Harbaugh less nervous according to you? You might want to head back to law school with that logic.

  31. vader7176 says: Jun 14, 2012 9:36 PM

    Hate yo say it but I think there’s a psycho meltdown in Jimmy’s future that will make Jim Mora and Dennis Green’s press conferences look like a bocci ball game at a rest home.

  32. kingcarlbanks says: Jun 14, 2012 10:01 PM

    Harbaugh is going to be a good solid coach for a long time. Say what you will, but he came in and changed the whole culture in San Fran in a lockout shortened year. If San Fran gets more offense to go with that d,nobody will want to see them on there schedule.

  33. dhragonn says: Jun 14, 2012 11:02 PM

    There in no way in the diabolicals realms of Dante’s circle the niners would have not need to pay the price of Peyton manning. You truly have to be a damn fool if you think they were interested at the cost. If manning was willing to take a severe discount then, then Harbaughs comments could be viewed as lies. It’s his job to do due diligence, it does not mean genuine interest. Every player the niners evaluate is not necessarily a player they will pursue. How do you people not understand this?

  34. competitivecompetitioncompeter says: Jun 14, 2012 11:09 PM

    Oh, outstanding! How does he not have the brains (aka intellectual balls) to realize the smart play is to shut up or laugh it off? No one is accusing him of persuing/evaluating/fantasizing about Peyton Manning (or if they are, they at least grant him the built-in “and rightly so/wouldn’t you?” caveat).

    There’s a famous, probably allegorical, story about the former farmer running for office against a savvy opponent. “Let’s spread a rumour that he used to take indecent liberties with his pigs.” “What? No one will ever take it seriously, not for one second.” “I know, I just want to hear the f-er deny it”.

    So, for the record. JIM HARBAUGH: NOT A PIG F-ER.

    PS Go ahead and put in Kaepernick, if you think it’ll help. ‘Hawks take NFC West regardless.

  35. dhragonn says: Jun 15, 2012 12:01 AM

    Harbaugh is a man of principle, he defends his character. He doesn’t runaway from being a cheat and a liar to the nfl and write a book about it, like Pete carrol. Carrol is a chump compared to harbaugh. Niners will smoke the west and save $25 mil this year.

  36. jibberator says: Jun 15, 2012 2:08 AM

    Its a lot different to be actively pursuing someone and being open to them if they felt like it.

    Think of it in terms of relationships. You could be actively pursuing a hot chick or you could just go with it if one decided to come onto you all of a sudden.

  37. jaykubs says: Jun 15, 2012 2:42 AM

    Perhaps the audience was unaware of the art of sarcasm… come on, he was intentionally over the top.

  38. tatum064 says: Jun 15, 2012 4:24 AM

    They need to really reel it in, and go back to hard work and understatement….Harbaugh first denied the interest in Manning and it was obvious, then Alex Smith ran his mouth about Cam Newton.

    They are setting themselves up for a Philadelphia Eagle style fall. Fortunately they are in the garbage a$% NFC West, so 5-1 in division is automatic.

  39. tatum064 says: Jun 15, 2012 4:33 AM

    doresb21 says:
    Jun 14, 2012 2:56 PM
    There is always a method to his madness. The guy is a pure genius and knows how to use the media (or stonewall them). He’s the best football coach in the game today and has been extremely successful with every team he’s coached. He wins and his players love him. Keep doubting him and you’ll constantly be disappointed.

    =======

    Yeah, Tom Couglin really looked disappointed, didnt he? We’ll see if Alex Smith becomes Rex Grossman 2.0 in 2012…be very careful, Niner fan.

  40. tatum064 says: Jun 15, 2012 4:39 AM

    jayniner says:
    Jun 14, 2012 3:55 PM
    Harbaugh will be laughing at all the “diabolical” doubters…all the way to the Super Bowl.

    ============

    2006 Chicago Bears, Rex Grossman

    Niner fan, that will be sounding familiar in 2012

    same M.O., great defense, “improved” inconsistent QB, except they lost the Super Bowl.

    Manning won, that SB, and you lost out on Manning this year. You have no legitimate, proven back up, so you ride with Alex Smith. You have a cancer named Randy Moss a great RB who is due for an injury that will sideline him…..

  41. japadacktle49 says: Jun 15, 2012 7:01 AM

    @sea3369

    Such an idiot you are.

  42. japadacktle49 says: Jun 15, 2012 7:08 AM

    @jaymc1988

    its obvious to me and everyone in the sports would u tried to get peyton. 1. hes the arguably the best QB in nfl history.

    HILARIOUS !! Thanks for the laughs.

  43. japadacktle49 says: Jun 15, 2012 7:32 AM

    Peyton’s best chance to win another ring was to join the 49ers, but he decided that money was more important. As a 49er fan Im happy with his decision seeing as how no NFL starting QB has won the superbowl with more than one team..

  44. nepaseahawk says: Jun 15, 2012 9:39 AM

    just because no qb has ever won with 2different teams doesn’t really mean that it is impossible buddy…..but I’m glad your glad…

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