Jim Harbaugh won his home debut as Michigan’s football coach Saturday, but, as usual, they’re talking about Harbaugh The Cartoon Character today.
In the second quarter of a 35-7 victory over Oregon State, Harbaugh threw his first Big House tantrum. Irate about a personal foul whistled on a punt play, he heaved his green play-call sheet, screamed at any official within earshot, gestured with his arms and finally, when he didn’t get his way, simulated punting a ball with a wild kick of the air.
Coincidence or not, the Wolverines continued on a binge of five unanswered touchdowns, thrilling a crowd of nearly 110,000 fans hoping that the former 49ers and Stanford coach is a savior at his alma mater.
At one point during his emotional fit, when his cap was pushed down over his face, Harbaugh left a vision of the coach he tries to channel: the temperamental Michigan legend, Bo Schembechler. “Bo would have been proud,’’ ABC announcer Sean McDonough said.
Did Harbaugh at least try to enjoy the day?
“Yeah, I did,” he said. “It’s mainly about the players, the coaches and their families.”
His wife was far more quotable.”It was really cool and very surreal,” Sarah Harbaugh said. “When we were pulling up in the parking lot, his mother was sitting behind me. The band went in front of us and she started bawling. She said, ‘I remember this.’ But for Jim, it’s always about the team.”
They probably got a good laugh out of the sideline tantrum in Santa Clara. But before the 49ers laugh too hard, they should realize Harbaugh is in the win column. It may take them a while to get there.
NO TEARS FOR BELICHEAT: We’re mere hours into the new NFL season, and guess which organization is involved in a controversy.
The New England Patriots? Gee, who would have thunk them?
It’s seems the Pittsburgh Steelers heard the Patriots’ home broadcast instead of each other on their headsets Thursday night at Gillette Stadium. As Steelers coach Mike Tomlin fumed afterward, this kind of thing is “always the case” there. The NFL oversees the headseats, but it’s the home stadium personnel who are responsible for the feed.
So Patriots’ head scumbag Bill Belichick wasted no time to paint his team as the victim the next day, of course.
“I’d just say on, kind of tying this in with a couple things from last week, or earlier in the week, I just think overall it’s kinda sad, really, to see some stories written that obviously have an agenda to them with misinformation and anonymous type comments,” Belichick told reporters in a rare fit of words Friday.
“I mean it’s just, I think it’s a sad commentary and it’s really a very, it’s gone to a pretty low level. It’s sunk pretty deep. First of all, I would say that our program here is built on competition and trying to improve every day and trying to work hard. And it’s not built on excuses. And we just try to go to work and improve and find a way to get better.”
Yeah, coach, it is kinda sad, really — sad that whenever the NFL is dragged through the mud, it’s the Belicheats who often do the dragging. If it’s not Spygate, then it’s Deflategate or Headsetgate or some other gate.
The Patriots are a lying, cheating, conniving bunch of losers who have friends in high places, and no amount of tainted victories or Super Bowl titles will ever change their legacy.
TOM-FOOLERY: Still no word on whether Aussie sensation Jarryd Hayne will be activated for Monday night’s season opener, a decision the 49ers aren’t required to make until 90 minutes before kickoff. Jim Tomsula continues to have fun with this potential international incident.
“Well, I’ll tell you what, if I was in Australia, I’d have the NFL package,” the rookie head coach said Saturday when asked if he had viewing advice for those Down Under. “I’d be watching every football game I could watch because I just love football and it’s a great game.”
Any particular reason to watch Monday? “It’s a phenomenal game,” he cracked.
DAILY HAYNE: If not for 49ers’ coach Jim Tomsula, rookie Jarryd Hayne might not be one of the biggest and best stories of the early NFL season.
Tomsula had experience with crossover athletes from his days in NFL Europe, which piqued his interest in Hayne while he was the 49ers’ defensive line coach.
“I met him in my office,” Tomsula recalled. “The reason was that I had worked in the European League with international and crossover athletes for quite a while with the NFL Europe League. So we were introduced, we sat down and talked. He struck me as a bright guy. He struck me as a fearless guy.
“But the only thing I had to say was, if he wanted a fair opportunity, this was the organization to get it with. I shouldn’t say fair opportunity. I should say best opportunity with the way we work here. Does it surprise me? No, it doesn’t. But I’m different. I’ve been exposed to so many crossover athletes.”
HAPPY TRAILS: In seven-plus seasons in teal and black, Ryan Clowe was the definition of a two-way grinder, one of the few Sharks who brought it every night and didn’t wimp out in the playoffs.
At 32, Clowe has played his final game. Friday, it was announced that he had not been cleared to play because of the multiple concussions suffered in his career.
“Since the last injury (early last season), I tried to work my way back,” said Clowe, who split time between the New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils the last two seasons. “Of course, I want to play again and it just didn’t work out, and I’m not able to play again. It’s just not possible and it won’t be possible moving forward.”
At least Clowe will be well-compensated for his headaches. He’ll receive the $14.55 million that remains on his five-year, $24.25 million contract while on the Injured Reserve list.
REST OF THE STORY: Clowe was traded to the Rangers for the rights to forward Gabriel Boudreau, their 49th pick in the 2013 draft, yet another personnel move gone awry in the Doug Wilson administration.
Earlier this year, the Sharks took a pass on Boudreau after he was limited to seven playoff games because of tendon surgery. The 20-year-old was told that he had the wrist of a 75-year-old, the result of shooting too many pucks.
What, you think Balls makes this stuff up?
THE LIST: Five NFL picks against the spread or your subscription money back:
Carolina Panthers at Jacksonville Jaguars (+3.5). The Panthers are a complete wreck right now. The Jags are just a partial wreck.
Cleveland Browns over New York Jets (-3). The Browns plus Josh McCown plus plus on the road equal almost no chance.
Detroit Lions (+2) at San Diego Chargers. The visitors will win straight up.
Green Bay Packers (-6) at Chicago Bears. Aaron Rodgers and the Packers have owned the Misers of the Midway for years.
Miami Dolphins (-4) at Washington Redskins. Has “blowout” written all over it. And not for anything associated with Daniel Snyder.
WHERE HAVE YOU GONE… Mark Henderson? (He’s the convicted burglar who plowed a spot on the field at Schaefer Stadium to set up a Patriots’ game-winning field goal in the snow a while back. Under orders from his coach, not Belichick.) BallsBill BelichickDrakeGrand SlamJarryd HayneJim TomsulaNew England PatriotsSerena WilliamsU.S. Open