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