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Harbaugh, Schwartz downplay handshake talk ahead of Sunday night

San Francisco 49ers v Detroit Lions Getty Images

It was the handshake heard around the world.

Last October, just after the 49ers beat the Lions 25-19 at Ford Field, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh and Lions coach Jim Schwartz met for the customary post-game handshake. It was quick, with Harbaugh still celebrating a comeback win, but it had a second act when Schwartz then ran down Harbaugh, bumped him and a shouting match ensued. It made for quite a scene, leading to a memo from the league reminding coaches that they are not supposed to fight with each other on the field in the moments after the end of a game.

The Lions and 49ers renew acquaintances this Sunday night and, naturally, both coaches were asked about the incident when they met with the media on Monday. As you’d expect, both men did their best to make it a non-issue. Schwartz said that the two men have met “without incident” multiple times in the last year, according to Josh Katzenstein of the Detroit News, and that he doesn’t expect one player on either team will be thinking about it. Harbaugh said pretty much the same thing, but, as is his habit, dressed up his answer a little bit.

“Our approach with the mini-controversies is to give them the attention they deserve, which isn’t much,” Harbaugh said, via Kevin Lynch of the San Francisco Chronicle. “Now people are going to use that to promote this game or any other game are really missing the point. The game is just so much bigger. Just as a rule of thumb, I have too much respect for the men who play this game on both sides to give it anything less than what it deserves.”

The handshake will have no bearing on a game between 1-0 teams, although that won’t have the slightest bearing on how many times we see the video of it in the week to come.

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35 Responses to “Harbaugh, Schwartz downplay handshake talk ahead of Sunday night”
  1. nodrugarrests says: Sep 10, 2012 4:53 PM

    Rooting for the Leos but after what the Niners did in GB, dont think its gonna happen.

  2. schmitty2 says: Sep 10, 2012 4:56 PM

    If the Niners play the way the did against the Pack and the Lions play the way they did against the Rams this game will be over by halftime IMO

  3. jjackwagon says: Sep 10, 2012 5:04 PM

    They forgot to mention the shove in the back that Harbaugh gave Schwartz at the end of the handshake. That’s what started the whole thing.

  4. cwhat32 says: Sep 10, 2012 5:07 PM

    Yes, the 49ers manhandled the Packers, but the Lions are just a tougher team than the Packers.

    Lions held Steven Jackson to `50 yards on 20+ carries. Suh, Fairley, and Williams dominating the line of scrimmage all game.

    Stafford will be ready to bounce back after a very poor first half showing last week. He and Megatron will tear that secondary up.

  5. niners816 says: Sep 10, 2012 5:17 PM

    Hope Harbaugh and the Niners smack the taste out of Schwartz and the Lions mouths.

  6. thereisfootballwestofjersey says: Sep 10, 2012 5:18 PM

    The funniest part of this whole “mini controversy” was watching Niner right tackle Anthony Davis laughing at Schwartz as he ran next to him. Still cracks me up every time

  7. 4thquartermagic says: Sep 10, 2012 5:24 PM

    If Stafford plays 110% better then he did on Sunday, the Lions will still lose by 10.

    Not knocking the Lions so much as giving credit to the 49ers.

    Their D is in mid-season form already. Best LB corps in the league by a mile.

  8. mintberrycrunch1 says: Sep 10, 2012 5:25 PM

    Even though we will be enemies on the field this Sunday, I think Lion fans and 49er fans can agree on one thing…..Enough with the handshake stories!!!!

    The real story is a top NFL offense with the best WR and a 5000 yard QB vs the best NFL defense with the two best ILB in the game and a possible NFL DPOY in Justin Smith.

    Here’s to a good game with no injuries! Go Lions!

  9. bennyb82 says: Sep 10, 2012 5:28 PM

    I am surprised Schwartz gets so much flack over this incident. Clearly it was Harbaugh who showed a total lack of respect by basically shoving Schwartz out of the way. If Schwartz did not stand up to Harbaugh, the whole team would probably view him as a pushover…and that is the last thing that a lions squad should emulate considering the last decade.

  10. goldrush36 says: Sep 10, 2012 5:29 PM

    cwhat32 says: Sep 10, 2012 5:07 PM

    Yes, the 49ers manhandled the Packers, but the Lions are just a tougher team than the Packers.

    Lions held Steven Jackson to `50 yards on 20+ carries. Suh, Fairley, and Williams dominating the line of scrimmage all game.

    Stafford will be ready to bounce back after a very poor first half showing last week. He and Megatron will tear that secondary up.

    ________________________________________

    That’s because Jackson is the ONLY viable weapon on the team at this point in time. 49ers actually showed on the field they are improved. Lions squeezed a win over the rams… Yeah you know the 2nd worst team last year and yet you are ready to throw a parade because the defense held up. I also don’t remember the lions getting anywhere close to beating the pack even against a backup QB. Oh and also this is happening in the 49ers house.

  11. koro69 says: Sep 10, 2012 5:35 PM

    What they need to do give an old fashion running chest bump!! After the game. Sportsmanship.

  12. bobhk says: Sep 10, 2012 5:37 PM

    cwhat32 says:
    Sep 10, 2012 5:07 PM
    Yes, the 49ers manhandled the Packers, but the Lions are just a tougher team than the Packers.

    Lions held Steven Jackson to `50 yards on 20+ carries. Suh, Fairley, and Williams dominating the line of scrimmage all game.

    Stafford will be ready to bounce back after a very poor first half showing last week. He and Megatron will tear that secondary up.

    —————–
    The last sentence had me laughing hard. Not because Megatron is not great. But I don’t know who’s torn up that 9ers secondary recently.

    Fact of the matter is that the lions don’t run the ball well, just like the Pack. Niners will be in nickel and dime all game and it will be very hard for stafford to move the ball.

    On the other hand, Smith, Gore, etc will move and score, despite Suh, Fairley.

    It should be a good game.

  13. claytron5000 says: Sep 10, 2012 5:41 PM

    What they need to do give an old fashion running chest bump!! After the game. Sportsmanship.

    Schwartz wouldn’t survive the chest bump. Since the slap on the back was magically elevated to a “shove,” a chest bump would have local police called to the stadium for aggravated assault by Harbaugh.

  14. realnflmaster says: Sep 10, 2012 5:44 PM

    If Detroit doesn’t lose by 50 it will be a miracle.

  15. ninerdynasty says: Sep 10, 2012 5:47 PM

    @cwhat32 – You do know that this game will be played on real grass not the carpet your team is used to playing in.?

  16. goldrush36 says: Sep 10, 2012 5:50 PM

    Hey I read in the paper that Schwartz was gonna request a 2 officer police escort to the field for the handshake…. I sincerely hope it was just a joke.

  17. butkus54 says: Sep 10, 2012 5:56 PM

    The coaches don’t like each other , the players don’t like each other , it wouldn’t surprise me if the team mascots got into it.
    Sunday night primetime…
    The handshake won’t matter once the game starts.The 49r’s better be ready to play because I have a feeling the Lions are going to be.

  18. hyzers says: Sep 10, 2012 5:57 PM

    What’s with the 9ers fans acting like they own this match up? You guys barely ESCAPED with a win in which you had to score on 4th down by mere inches. That also happened to be the same drive the refs magically gave you an extra 5 yards on the punt return for no reason. Get over yourselves… it’s only week 2.

  19. Nevis says: Sep 10, 2012 5:59 PM

    cwhat32 says:
    Sep 10, 2012 5:07 PM
    Yes, the 49ers manhandled the Packers, but the Lions are just a tougher team than the Packers.

    Lions held Steven Jackson to `50 yards on 20+ carries. Suh, Fairley, and Williams dominating the line of scrimmage all game.

    —————————

    LMAO. Dude. The Rams Oline ain’t the Niner Oline and after S-Jax, who else do you fear for StL? The Niners have 5 capable running backs and about 5 legit receiving threats. Multiple packages, multiple looks, dealing plays you haven’t seen in the preseason, etc.

    I agree the Lions will be a test, but it’s laughable if you think how they played the Rams will help them here.

  20. bobhk says: Sep 10, 2012 6:08 PM

    hyzers says:
    Sep 10, 2012 5:57 PM
    What’s with the 9ers fans acting like they own this match up? You guys barely ESCAPED with a win in which you had to score on 4th down by mere inches. That also happened to be the same drive the refs magically gave you an extra 5 yards on the punt return for no reason. Get over yourselves… it’s only week 2.
    ——
    Happens after a convincing road victory over a very good team. I am a niners fan.

    However, if you read there are lions fan on this board claiming victory as well.

    As regards, last year niners went into your house and won (even if they had lost).

    Then the lions almost lost to the Rams (at home too).

  21. hipstercagematch says: Sep 10, 2012 6:14 PM

    Wait did someone say Megatron was going to rip the 49ers secondary apart? The same secondary that kept Megatron out of the Red Zone?

    Let’s also not forget that the 49ers came back and beat the Lions IN DETROIT! Now the Lions are coming to the stick and the 49ers are a better team offensively. Coming into that game last season the 49ers had just lost Josh Morgan with a broken leg the week before. All of this happened in your house!

    Both coaches should save their energy for the impending awful calls by the officiating crews.

  22. jimmylions says: Sep 10, 2012 6:18 PM

    Rest assured, Goodell has pulled Schwartz and Harbaugh aside for a little talk about this game. Both guys know the school principal has a close eye on them. But as we all know … sometimes that just doesn’t matter.

    Putting last year aside, both teams have improved offensively and defensively. It should be a great game. Despite all the talk about defense, I expect this to be a shootout, just like last year’s game.

    Last week’s Niner’s game against Green Bay was a shootout. Time will tell whether Rodgers poor play was ring rust. I’m expecting the Niners to try to shorten the game by running Gore a lot, and also to try a lot of screens (because the Lions love to blitz).

    Both Moss and Megatron will get 100+ yards and at least one TD a piece.

    Stafford’s bad first half last week (against the Rams) was totally ring rust, but the bottom line is he lead the game winning drive when the clock was running out.

    We have the best receiving corps in the NFL. I also like the very short passes to our RBs as a substitute for ground and pound. If one of them springs loose, it could be the game. Likewise, Cliff Avril could have a big game and maybe even a score.

    Last year it came down to a questionable score in the last two minutes. Wouldn’t surprise me if this year it comes down to who has the ball last.

  23. pop562 says: Sep 10, 2012 6:34 PM

    It’s hard to show any lion fans respect after what I’m reading…if the niners beat the lions on the road last season with the same stout defense what is the probability of the niners not repeating. This year, the lions are playing at candlestick and now the niners have new weapons that will smash that lions mouth in. We’re going to make the lions one dimensional and all they will do is pass? Lion fans, you think you’re team is better than the packers or the niners, then the whole fan base must be delusional. You wanna talk about the niners secondary when the lion secondary still has no identity. I can’t wait till the niners tear that ass up on national tv. In addition, you guys barely beat the rams…don’t even speak about beating the niners if you guys have a hard time beating the rams with an injured o line.

  24. jamezz23 says: Sep 10, 2012 6:39 PM

    This is gonna be a tight game like last year. Calvin Johnson is such a difference maker, you gotta triple him to even contain him and he’ll still get you at times. If they just double him he’s gonna have 150 + yards and 2 tds

  25. goldrush36 says: Sep 10, 2012 6:56 PM

    @Jamezz23 they played Culliver… a rookie one on one with Megatron most of the game and most of his production was the final two possessions. Trust me I was pulling out my hair that they were just testing fate. Fangio and Roman if nothing else are very good playing the matchups… hence why he was able to get away with sitting Willis and Aldon Smith on a ton of plays yesterday. I’m certainly not expecting a blowout or probably not even an overall dominant game like yesterday but I expect a win at home

  26. thelastpieceofcheese says: Sep 10, 2012 6:58 PM

    I wish head coaches went the way of Buddy Ryan and just walked/joged off the field after the game.

    These hypocritical after game handshakes are annoying and have grown old!

  27. furysniper says: Sep 10, 2012 6:59 PM

    The Detroit Lions versus San Francisco Forty Niners on Sunday night will go down as 1 of the best games of the NFL year. Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson will rebound from a disappointing game against the Saint Louis Rams. The Detroit Lions have motivation for their coach to get back at Jim Harbaugh and Forty Niners for coming into Ford Field last year and beating them. I can’t wait to see the look on Harbaugh’s face after Schwartz avoid him and doesn’t shake his hand

  28. hipstercagematch says: Sep 10, 2012 7:08 PM

    Next Monday morning it will feel like the city of Detroit became a ghost town for a day.

    The 49ers/Packers game wasn’t as close as the score said. The Packers only got 2 TDs on the 49ers D the other TD was a Punt Return that featured so many blocks to the back it led to a Hulk Face moment for Harbaugh.

    They effectively took the deep ball away from Rodgers and the 49ers D made the Packers earn every yard. The 49ers will play balanced football and make the Lions O one dimensional.

  29. tdem232wi says: Sep 10, 2012 7:25 PM

    Saw 49er Coach Harbaugh look away/past/through Packers Coach McCarthy on the post-game handshake yesterday. No backslap, but no sign of any class either.

    Also, If I were Harbaugh I would tone it down a bit – with those replacement refs, he might have a cardiac before the bye-week break. I though he was going to mash his own teeth to bits after his DE “lost” his helmet after a 1st quarter “sack”.

  30. joerymi says: Sep 10, 2012 7:54 PM

    hipstercagematch says: Sep 10, 2012 7:08 PM

    Next Monday morning it will feel like the city of Detroit became a ghost town for a day.

    The 49ers will play balanced football and make the Lions O one dimensional.
    ————————————————–
    It is always a ghost town, and 1-1 wouldn’t exactly be the catalyst for a mass suicide.

    And…

    It is always one dimensional. But that one dimension is pretty damn good.

    This will be a game of strength against strength.

    I give the edge to the 49ers, but the Lions also offer a couple of dimensions different than the Packers. One is a D-line that underachieved last season, but has the capability of being one of the best in football. The other dimension is Megatron.

    I tend to think that game 1 was a case of the Lions looking ahead of a bad team. But there is no doubt, if the 49ers play like game 1 and so do the Lions, Harbaugh will be celebrating again.

  31. sixjak says: Sep 10, 2012 10:02 PM

    Detroit is going to need all of the planets in the universe to as well as having all of the replacement refs “all in” for DET in order to pull out a win. Sure they have a chance albeit a slim chance in hell to win this game but it isn’t very likely that they will.

    That is nice and everything that DET stopped STL’s running game but to compare the STL’s running game to SF’s game is an excercize in naïveté and stupidity.

    Harbaugh out prepares, out schemes and out coaches his competition and his team will definitely be ready to abuse DET. Last year’s handshake is but a metaphor for how caught off guard Schwartz and his team will be this year. By the time they react and adjust and try and do something about it, it will be to late and Schwartz will look as impotent and foolish post game as he did last year post handshake.

    The handshake this year will not live up to the hype.

  32. warrenpeacephotography says: Sep 11, 2012 12:53 AM

    bennyb82 says: “If Schwartz did not stand up to Harbaugh, the whole team would probably view him as a pushover”
    —————————-

    Right, the professional athletes on the Lions have such little respect for the coach that’s made the team successful that if he were to let a minor slight go without retaliating, the team would view him as a pushover. What grade are you in, Benny? 6th? 5th?

  33. joerymi says: Sep 11, 2012 2:42 PM

    sixjak says: Sep 10, 2012 10:02 PM

    Detroit is going to need all of the planets in the universe to as well as having all of the replacement refs “all in” for DET in order to pull out a win. Sure they have a chance albeit a slim chance in hell to win this game but it isn’t very likely that they will.
    —————————————————

    Didn’t realize the ’88 49ers were facing the ’08 Lions on Sunday. Good to know.

  34. jpeterson4743 says: Sep 11, 2012 3:36 PM

    i think more than anyone on both teams this game is on stafford….megatron is dominant, gore will be dominant. SFs LBs are dominant, Detroits DL can be dominant, you know what you will get from smith and megatron i just have a feeling that the lions will go as stafford goes. if he can get in a early rythm watch out, but i think SFs defence will give him more fits than any other team this year. as a lions fan i hope to god they start up that no huddle early

  35. dallascowboysdishingthereal says: Sep 11, 2012 10:42 PM

    I don’t care what these two hot heads say. When the game ends, it will be on!

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