Was Robert Johnson really selling his soul to the devil for fleeting fame and fortune at the crossroads of Highways 61 and 49, or was he just trying to get the hell of of Mississippi? I ask this question, because this pattern of instant success and then lingering animosity seems to be following Jim Harbaugh around like a tick hound after a convict.
He revived two college programs and the Niners through the force of his insatiable will and drive, yet has left people angry and confused with his balls to the wall 24/7 approach. This includes the front offices of the colleges, and especially 4949 Centennial Blvd. Abrasive, caustic, dismissive, arrogant are the terms usually used about Harbaugh. The success is fine, but is it worth the cost? Some say sure, as long as the big prize is won. The problem is, Jimbo has not hit the jackpot. Yes, he won the Orange Bowl in 2010. His biggest win as a head coach, Yet his 3 playoff losses have been marked by bad breaks, a few gut wrenching fumbles, some terrible officiating, and a very mistimed timeout which apparently changed the last 3 pays of the 2012 season.
So, what’s the plan going forward? This week was one of a lot of damage control. The Niners reached their nadir in PR relations after the Raider loss, and who could really blame them? A team that had given up 52 points to the lowly Rams (and scored ZERO) suddenly looked like the monsters of the midway. Kaepernick was terse with the media, Harbaugh was his usual prickly self, and all the talk circled around the new head coach and where Harbaugh would land. There’s even talk the trade with the Raiders would happen after this upcoming game. And how weird would it be for the Raiders to trade for the guy they just beat?
All the talk is of a massacre not seen since the likes of Custer and Little Bighorn. I’m sure this next loss will come to pass, but I think this team has actually helped itself with some actual communication going on. If Harbaugh has any pull left with these players, this is their last stand. Win, and their flickering playoff hopes are still alive. Lose, and they are staring at a possible 0-5 run to close out the Harbaugh era, and a 7-9 record.