49ers coach Jim Harbaugh complained about the absence of a holding or interference call on the fourth-and-goal play that didn’t result in a potential game-winning touchdown catch by receiver Michael Crabtree. And regardless of whether Jim Harbaugh went far enough to warrant a fine from the league office (he probably didn’t), he needs to remember that it was that same kind of non-call that helped put his team in the Super Bowl in the first place.
Two weeks ago, as the Falcons were driving for a potential NFC title-winning touchdown, a fourth-down play resulted in an incomplete pass to receiver Roddy White due in large part to the fact that linebacker NaVorro Bowman admitted to some “pulling and tugging” of White.
Jim Harbaugh is smart enough to realize that, in those situations, the flags stay a little deeper in the officials’ pockets. His team benefited from that dynamic to get to the Super Bowl, and his team was harmed by it in the Super Bowl.
Regardless, that’s football — and it’s incumbent on any coach when calling plays in crunch time and any quarterback throwing the passes to realize that in close cases of pulling and tugging the refs won’t be pulling or tugging the laundry out of their pants.