Earlier on Friday, we passed along Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride’s belief that NFL officials allow 49ers defensive end Justin Smith to get away with murder by holding offensive linemen during play.
Word of those comments made their way to 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh and it’s safe to say that Harbaugh was not fond of what Gilbride had to say. And, since Harbaugh’s a reliably good quote, he let everyone know that in no uncertain terms.
“Kevin Gilbride’s outrageous, irrational statement regarding Justin Smith’s play is, first, an absurd analogy. Second, it is an incendiary comment targeting one of the truly exemplary players in this league,” Harbaugh said, via Tom Rock of Newsday. “It’s obvious that the Giants coaching staff’s sole purpose is to use their high visibility to both criticize and influence officiating.”
No need to read between the lines there.
When the schedule was released, it didn’t take long to notice this game and circle it on the calendar. The same two teams that played for the NFC Championship last year in the same stadium is always a game that attracts notice. There’s been a fair amount of back and forth between the teams this week and some classic press conference performances by Harbaugh and Tom Coughlin to add a little more buzz to a game that had plenty of it.