Jim Harbaugh has been a 49er for only a few hours now, but it seems as though he already has a target on his back.
The comparisons to LeBron James' disastrous free-agency process or Brett Favre's legendary waffling are flooding Twitter and the blogosphere, and fans of both the NFL and NCAA are ridiculing what has been a torturing 72 hours.
The narrative we keep hearing sounds something like this:
"He changed his mind four times during a period of three days!"
"He knew what his plan was from day one, and yet he took everybody on a wild goose chase for the sole purpose of garnering publicity!"
"This guy is overrated, and yet all of us were forced to hear about nothing else for an entire week!"
The list of complaints goes on and on, and as a fan who followed this story non-stop, I've got exactly two things to say. First, it drove me crazy. Second, I have nobody to blame but myself.
It was my decision to refresh Twitter every 10 minutes. It was my decision to check in on Jay Glazer and Tim Kawakami without stop. And it was my decision to get strung up over the hype. As a 49er fan, I now feel perfectly content. If I were a fan of the Dolphins, Broncos or Stanford...well...I'd be fuming like crazy right now.
And that is the essence of the problem.
Everybody who criticizes Jim Harbaugh is doing so because they irrationally worked themselves into a mental odyssey over nothing.
He's a talented football coach who went job hunting. He selected his program of choice in about a week. And he announced his decision.
That's all that Jim Harbaugh did.
It takes most Americans at least a month to get a new job, regardless of how plum their career prospects may seem.
The difference is that we don't have 10 million frantic sports geeks breathing down our backs.
Those who feel even the most remote sense of disdain towards Harbaugh need to sit down, take a deep breathe and ask themselves exactly why they blame the man?
Did he tell an army of "sources" that he was going to accept the Dolphins job? No, he told a few people that he would politely hear what they had to say out of respect. And that's precisely what he did. But I'll bet that there are some angry people in Miami right now.
Did he tell a thousand journalists that John Elway was his best buddy, and the Broncos were a real contender for his services? No. That was everyone in Denver's speculation—keyword being "speculation."
Did he tell the AD at Stanford there was a "90 percent chance he was going to return?" No, those were bunk numbers made up by the nice folks on Twitter.
He simply conducted a three-day job search, made a decision and we acted like a bunch of third graders.
Now that it's all over—and my team won—I can smugly sit here and admit that I acted like a complete jackass who could barely think about anything else for three days.
Hopefully, my friends in Denver, Carolina, Miami and Palo Alto can admit the same, even if they don't have a payoff moment in the end.
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