It’s no secret that Jim Harbaugh didn’t get along with his bosses during his final season with the San Francisco 49ers, but perhaps it wasn’t just front office people who weren’t happy with the head coach.
Alex Boone speaking to Andrea Kremer on HBO, another person who had his problems with the franchise and the front office, holding out until September, which was part of why the offensive line looked so bad last season when protecting the passing game. But Boone voices something that people only assumed previously; that Harbaugh isn’t hard to cope with for too long.
He does a great job of giving you that spark, that initial boom. But after a while, you just want to kick his ass. He just keeps pushing you, and you’re like, ‘Dude, we got over the mountain. Stop. Let go.’ He kind of wore out his welcome. I think he just pushed guys too far. He wanted too much, demanded too much, expected too much. You know, ‘We gotta go out and do this. We gotta go out and do this. We gotta go out and do this.’ And you’d be like, ‘This guy might be clinically insane. He’s crazy.’ I think that if you’re stuck in your ways enough, eventually people are just going to say, ‘Listen, we just can’t work with this.’
Now Boone does come across as a little bit spoiled or settling for little. After all, the 49ers didn’t complete the job they were out there to do. Making three conference championship games is great and even special, but the goal was always winning a Super Bowl. That, they failed to do, regardless of how close they managed to come to doing it in 2012.
Maybe a good comparison is Jose Mourinho, although the structure and what comes off as success in European football is different. Mourinho is also a highly successful manager (championships in England, Italy, Portugal and Spain) with two Champions League trophies. But he never sticks around for too long, and often leaves some scorched earth situation behind him, or at least that was the case at Real Madrid after three seasons that overall can be considered something of a failure.
Harbaugh is back in College Football, something that might fit him a lot better. After all, the 49ers didn’t go 8-8 last season just because of injuries or the front office not getting along with the head coach. It might say something about his players’ work ethic and diva attitude, but pushing players to the brink works a lot better in college, where they’re not staying for more than three or four years at best.