Strange days in San Francisco continue with a somewhat strange “day in the life” look at coach Jim Harbaugh, courtesy of the team’s official website.
Crafted against lingering (but never mentioned) tension and uncertainty regarding Harbaugh’s tenure with the franchise beyond 2014, the photo-driven, superficial glimpse at Harbaugh’s existence feels more like a carefully-crafted campaign brochure than an authentic look into how Harbaugh actually spends his time.
I like Jim Harbaugh, and he’s a great coach. But things very often aren’t what they seem when it comes to the NFL. And so it’s hard to look at the pictures and read the accompanying narrative and decide, “This is how Harbaugh really is.” The more natural conclusion is, “This is how he wants the us to think he really is.”
It’s also hard not to wonder whether the 49ers knew that the team’s online resources would be used to help Harbaugh score points in the unspoken struggle for the hearts and minds of 49ers fans.
What Harbaugh really is could be fairly close to what the photos and article lead us to believe he is; there’s no way of knowing with any certainty. But as Harbaugh moves toward concluding the fourth season of his five-year contract and with resolution of his long-term status looming before the fifth season commences, perception is reality. The perception emanating from the photos and the article will make fans more inclined to like Harbaugh.
They do, and they will continue to. Regardless of anything that has happened behind the scenes, Harbaugh has turned around a team that had badly lost its way. As a result, things could get very dicey for the 49ers if it appears the organization is nudging him out. With a divorce still feeling likely if not inevitable, the team needs the fans to think Harbaugh wanted out. The “day in the life” feature hints that he knows this.
The portrait commences with Harbaugh rolling a small army of trash cans to the curb, wearing his ubiquitous pleated khakis, his back fleece mock turtleneck bearing a 49ers logo, his black hat with a larger 49ers logo, and work gloves. Yes, work gloves. To roll his garbage cans to the curb.
I’m not doubting that Harbaugh routinely rolls his trash cans to the curb, but who wears work gloves to do it? It may be been a deliberate effort to make Harbaugh seem thoroughly blue collar. But anyone who wears a blue collar to work knows that, while work gloves have their place for a variety of backyard chores, they’re not part of the standard uniform for rolling trash cans to the curb.
That’s all I’m saying about this. For several reasons. Including that it’s not very easy to type while wearing work gloves.