BY Art Thiel 07:23PM 12/01/2014

Thiel: Joy among Seahawks, despair with 49ers

As Harbaugh evades and harrumphs through the fallout of the Seahawks loss, Carroll is sunshine, lollipops and rainbows. How sad for Harbaugh.

Jim Harbaugh kept looking for a touchdown in his play chart Thursday against the Seahawks. Never found one. / Drew McKenzie, Sportspress Northwest

As one might imagine, the 7-5 49ers, producers of zero touchdowns and 164 yards of offense at home against the Seahawks Thanksgiving night in front of God, country and all the ships at sea, were Monday mostly splutter, loose ends, lamentations and false bravado.

Coach Jim Harbaugh, rarely a master of elocution, was evasive about his boss, owner Jed York, who tweeted an apology to fans, writing post-game that the 19-3 loss was “unacceptable.”

“To me, that’s not significant,” Harbaugh said, harrumphing. “What’s significant is we move on without excuse and get it right, make it right. That’s our jobs.”

Which brought up the question of his job, and whether Harbaugh wanted it to continue in San Francisco.

“What I want is to attack this week and get it right,” said Harbaugh, who maintained that he doesn’t worry about his future. “Haven’t participated in any of that speculation. I think I have a recessive gene for worrying about my own future.”

If he doesn’t worry, he would be the only football-caring person in the Bay Area that was unconcerned. Besides that, Harbaugh didn’t directly answer the question.

The 49ers have a grand opportunity for repairs by beating the Seahawks at the Clink Dec. 14. Or they could be little more than a burgundy oil slick in Puget Sound by Dec. 15.

Meanwhile in Renton Monday, the Seahawks, at least coach Pete Carroll, was about as yippee-skippee as league rules allow three-quarters of the way through the season.

“Our best football is ahead of us,” he said at 8-4, one game back of NFC leader, the fading Arizona Cardinals. “We have a chance to improve and grow. That’s a beautiful thing this time of year.”

I asked him how he would feel if his team owner tweeted out that a loss was unacceptable.

“Our owner would never do that,” he said, smiling. “I’d never comment on that.”

Carroll wouldn’t engage in a public giggle-fest over Harbaugh’s frayed relationships with York, GM Trent Baalke or any of his players who may be growing weary of their coach’s overbearing, often awkward intensity. Nor will Carroll chuckle over the Niners’ steady episodes of dysfunction, which lately included Baalke’s daughter, Cassie, tweeting that offensive coordinator Greg Roman should be ousted. Baalke later apologized.

But when asked about how much he has to manage up as well as down, Carroll was happy to talk about the Seahawks.

“I have such good support from all that (GM John Schneider and CEO Peter McLoughlin do) that it seems like it’s been effortless, really,” he said. “We’ve gotten along so smoothly and seen eye-to-eye on everything that we’ve dealt with –  finding that spot where you see eye-to-eye.

(Owner Paul Allen) has been so supportive of the multitude of things that John’s in charge of . . . The communication has always been open and we’ve had good dialogue at every turn for all the years.  I think we have such a strong base now that we all feel like we can get through whatever we have to deal with.

“Our format and setup couldn’t be better. There’s nothing to tweak.”

The kumbaya in Seattle’s front office is the largest virtue in the Seahawks’ accumulation of football and financial successes. Its antithesis is 900 miles south, and fairly standard with most teams most of the time, because it’s difficult to align owner, GM and coach — and quarterback — for very long, if at all.

The test for the organization’s unity of purpose was when they decided to blow up the Percy Harvin trade — an embarrassing, mid-season admission of an epic personnel blunder that would have paralyzed most teams. But the Seahawks pulled it off, never looked back and have won five of the past six to again start to scare the rest of the NFL.

When he was hired, Carroll was given by Allen and then-CEO Tod Leiweke what he wanted and what Harbaugh craves — control.

“It really has turned out even better than I could have imagined,” Carroll said. “I really had hoped that the freedom would be here, and the freedom is here, for me to do what I want to do and to get things done in the fashion that I think I can do it best.

“That has been totally supported. I didn’t know John at all. I’ve come to love the guy for all that he brings – his work ethic, his expertise, his vision and creativity and all of that. That’s worked out great . . . We had to develop a relationship with Paul, and John has done a great deal of that in communicating with Paul on a regular basis. I see him once a week during the season, but that’s about all.

“It’s really worked out beautiful and it could not have been better. I think it transcends. This is a good place to be and it’s a good place to work and everybody can feel that. We’ve maintained an atmosphere of upbeat, positive, a lot of energy, willing to take on tough challenges and make tough decisions and go for it.”

No, it wasn’t enough to beat the 49ers 19-3 and virtually scuttle the rivals’ playoff chances. Without saying so, Carroll seem to imply that the 49ers’ mamma is so fat she irons her pants in the driveway.


  • RunningRoy

    Ah, the beauty of the National Football League – the only place where joy and despair is separated by one game in the standings. Is this a great country or what?

    • Its onlySports(DavidWakefield)

      Here’s to the Hope that they channel their inner late 2012 season mojo
      in Philly(when we were an offensive Juggernaut flattening teams with 35
      and 40 point final scores at that seasons end). We have 3 NFC west games left after this and its almost certain they will be defensive slug fests so the chance to really score is this sunday.
      On the other side of the ball?
      Defense was truly miffed they about that close road loss in KC. They
      have played like lions with their tails afire since. And all somebody
      has to do is whisper in the defenses ear that Chip Kelly is going to
      trick play you right out of your cleats. Pissed is good with this
      defense.They really have rose to the challenge so far that this NFC West
      title is still ours boys until you wriggle it free of our claws and fat
      chance of that(in their disgruntled minds).
      Controlling their own destiny by catching AZ and staying ahead of the 9ers by at least one game is a one game at a time affair starting in Pennsylvania.
      Battle of the Birds~Lets go Seattle.

      • eYeDEF

        Yeah I was surprised to see how Jim responded to the press about how they were going to treat the rest of their games, which was that they would have too win then all. That’s not something we’d ever hear from Carroll on that situation and his “one game at a time” mantra, which I thought was how all coaches approach these things.

        • Its onlySports(DavidWakefield)

          Did you detect that shell shocked vibe reverberating from his persona/body in that presser?Life is currently not fun for coach.

          When he beat us out here in what 2011( It was Dec 24th to win season series 2~0) and they(Harbaugh, 49er coaches) ran down the tunnel immediately after the win shouting profanities and “Merry Xmas we beat your ass” stuff like they were back in prep school? I made this resolution/ life long commitment to hating that guy~but now its turned to pure pity. He is a D~bag but i just cant hate his Khaki loving derriere anymore….. its more of a one game at a time til I’m outta here look on his face now.

          • art thiel

            No pity warranted. He’s a big boy.

          • Its onlySports(DavidWakefield)

            Your right… I dont know what got into me….

        • art thiel

          Harbaugh’s mouth doesn’t always rep his thoughts. He said one game at a time too. He’s a welter of contradictions.

      • art thiel

        I think your point is: Win out. Yes?

        • Its onlySports(DavidWakefield)

          Befitting plan of a SB Champ wouldnt you say?Yes, Win out…..

    • art thiel

      Also depends on which way the needle is pointing . . .

      But if SF wins Dec. 14. It’s all different. Great country.

      • RunningRoy

        Exactly my point. Overreaction by everyone has become like a bodily function.

        • art thiel

          I won’t ask which one . . .

  • jafabian

    I’ve been wondering if the NFL has contacted York to get his act together. The 49er-Seahawk rivalry is the best thing in the NFL right now. To break it up is to break up a ratings grabber. I felt a touch bad for Jim today as he faced the SF media. They were, to me, trying to get a response from him more so than report a story. How many times can you rephrase a question? And I’ll miss the rivalry when he leaves. It won’t be the same without him and the 49ers will spiral back into the mediocrity they enjoyed under Mike Singletary and Mike Nolan.

    • eYeDEF

      The SF media always does that to Jim. It goes with the territory of dealing with a big market press corps. The Seattle media had always seemed very, uh, accommodating in comparison from what I’ve seen.

      • art thiel

        Any market would do that to Jim. It’s him, not the media.

        As far as Seattle, speaking for myself . . . wrong.

    • art thiel

      I will hold a day of silence if Harbaugh leaves SF. The rivalry is wonderful and will be much diminished if he leaves.

      • jafabian

        I can’t recall a rivalry like the current Hawks/Niners one in recent memory. There’s been some with some real dislike between teams, such as Jimmy Johnson’s Cowboys vs, Buddy Ryan’s Eagles, or Cowboys/Niners when TO spiked the star. Some Bears/Packers/Lions runs or Patriots/Jets/Dolphins. But those were fairly lopsided and none were as closely matched as what’s going on right now. I’ve been very disappointed that Harbaugh has been seemingly muzzled the past season and a half. That took a bit of the fire out of him. When he’d get snarky his players seemed to rally around him.

        Goodell should slap York upside the head. Overall the SF/SEA rivalry has been the best thing for the NFL since the Cowboys got cheerleaders. Harbaugh has a .760 winning percentage, better than Bill Walsh and second only to George Seifert. I suppose York can always re-hire Dennis Erickson to replace Jimmy. I wonder if Jim’s interested in coaching his alma mater?

        • art thiel

          Not impossible for him to go to Michigan, but he’ll have his choice of jobs at the premier level. Much better than the college game in almost every way.

  • Its onlySports(DavidWakefield)

    A tinge of sadness for me~ its a unique rivalry that seems destined for the plight of the dodo bird extinct…and that dodo bird dysfunction the 49er brass display rarely evolves into anything Good(or at least mends itself)…but Jim is/was good for the NFC west. Mike Singletary ran that club into the ground. Jim Resurrected it. I have great respect for this foe.Pity that it seems imminent he will move on….only the strong survive. Go Hawks!

  • Jamo57

    Ah…..”Total Control”……the pro football Holy Grail. The more I think about it, the more I wonder if the Raiders would be desperate and/or dumb enough to offer it to Harbaugh. An owner who admits he’s not a “football guy” but wants to recapture a family legacy. And a season worthy of blowing it all up. I wondered earlier in the year if Stiff Jim would end up in Ann Arbor, but now the East Bay seems much more likely.

    • eYeDEF

      If Mark is anything like his dad he’ll never be willing to fork over Total Control. Then again, it’s possible Jim might be willing to settle for less to stay in the Bay if reports are true scout his wife having no interest in moving.

      • Jamo57

        After posting this yesterday I partook in surveying the carnage down in the Bay Area by reading about their coverage of Harbaugh’s Monday presser. Interestingly, the SJ Mercury News also had two articles on Harbaugh and his fondness for the Raiders who gave him his first real coaching job. Interesting timing. LOL (Yeah sure, they’re playing the Raiders this week, but still…..):

        • Its onlySports(DavidWakefield)

          Yah…that big looooooooong road trip across the bay. Travel time?About the same amount of Time Jim Expends buying his annual 20 pair of pre ordered Khakis from the Oakland Wal~Mart.

          • art thiel

            Amazon can deliver, although they would be hard pressed to find a supply of pleated khakis.

          • “Harbaugh Ships his Pants.” Great idea for a headline.

        • art thiel

          My colleagues in the Bay Area would love to see Jim cross the pond. They are happy to stir the pot.

    • art thiel

      Raiders would love to steal him. He’ll say, “I want what Pete has,” and get it.

  • Scott Crosser

    I get so much joy out of my disdain for Harbough, its part of the storyline with the rivalry. I am going to miss him. My guess Colin will not be far behind.

    • art thiel

      I think everyone who cares in Seattle would agree. Harbaugh is too much fun.

      • RunningRoy

        The food stinks and there’s not enough of it.

  • Cameric

    Jim Harbaugh is the Snidely Whiplash of the NFC West. He could only be more despised in Seattle if he tried tying one of the Seagals across a SODO railroad track. Sadly, we kind of need him.

    • art thiel

      Agreed. Pete can’t be Dudley Do-Right without Snidely as foil.

  • HairballOracle

    Twas the night before the playoffs, when all through the house
    Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse
    The stocking were hung, by the chimney with care
    In the hopes the Lombardi Trophy soon would be there

    The children were nestled all snug in their beds
    While visions of kielbasas danced in their heads
    With mama in her Rogers jersey and I in my Cheesehead cap
    Had just settled our brains for a long winters nap

    When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter
    That I rose from my bed to see what was the matter
    Away to the window, I flew like a flash
    Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash

    The moon on the breast of the new fallen snow
    Gave a lustre of midday to the objects below
    When what to my wondering eyes did appear
    But a blue/green sleigh and eleven Seahawk men here

    With a tall, laughing driver, so lively and quick
    I knew in a moment it must be shutdown corner Dick
    More rapid than Philadelphia Eagles they came
    And he whistled and shouted and called them by name

    Now Avril, now Thomas now Wagner and Russell Wilson
    On Beast Mode, on Chancellor, Bruce Irvin will be blitzen’
    To the top of the division, to the top of them all
    Now punt away, punt away, punt away all!

    As leaves before the wild hurricane fly
    When they meet the 49’ers they mount to the sky
    So up to the divisiontop, the Seahawks they flew
    With a sleigh-full of big plays and Pete Carroll too

    And then in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
    The defensive domination that brings you the proof
    As I drew in my head and was turning around
    Down the chimney Dick Sherman came with a bound

    He was all dressed in Seahawks gear, from his head to his foot
    And his clothes were all grass-stained from giving Crabtree the boot
    A bundle of big plays he had tied with a stick
    And a grin a mile wide from a fresh Kapernick pick

    His eyes how they twinkled, he knows he’s better than Revis
    He’ll make your quarterback look like either Butthead or Bevis
    His grinning mouth always provides quite a show
    and the words he speaks can shame any foe

    The shred of Kapernick’s jersey he held tight in his teeth
    And the smoke from his words, ’round his head like a wreath
    He has a smiling face and a hit like a hammer
    That makes opponents wince, stutter and stammer

    He is loud and outspoken, yet sure of himself
    And I laughed when I heard him, in spite of myself
    With a wink of an eye and a twist of his head
    Soon gave me to know, I had nothing to dread

    He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work
    Receivers to shut down, for lazy quarterbacks he would lurk
    And laying a finger aside of his nose
    Giving a nod, up the chimney he rose

    He sprang to his sleigh, gave his team a whistle
    And away they all flew like Earl Thomas, the Man Missile
    But I heard him explain as they drove out of sight
    “The Super Bowl is ours, and to all a good night”