Tonight we pay tribute to what seems like the end of the Pete Carroll–Jim Harbaugh rivalry. One that was put under the microscope, dramatized, and sensationalized – but most of all – incredibly enjoyable to watch.
And we do it the same Niners General Manager Trent Baalke did it in the press box earlier today. (Slams table).
With the Niners officially eliminated from the playoffs, it’s a safe bet that Harbaugh won’t be back in San Francisco next year – given his documented salty relationship with GM Trent Baalke and owner Jed York, and a disappointing playoff-less season after the opening of a brand new stadium in Santa Clara. And that’s perfectly fine with me.
Best of all, thanks to their win today, Carroll now leads their all-time head-to-head rivalry in the NFL by a score of 5 to 4. That’s amazing, since I stood here two years ago, saying that it’s not a rivalry if it’s completely one-sided.
Carroll responded by winning 5 of the last 6 against Harbaugh - a perfect representation of “It’s not how your start but how you finish.”
It’s not to say the two coaches won’t go head-to-head sometime in the future. But it’s likely the end of the two coaches being linked together in the same conference like they were in college, or the same division, like they have been in the NFL.
Then again, there’s a part of me that will miss Harbaugh – and not just his excessive and annoying whining on the Niners sidelines.
I’ll miss the dynamic of two uber-competitive men, whose football philosophies are identical, but whose coaching styles are polar opposites.
And while the Seahawks-Niners rivalry will continue on – something will feel like its missing. Maybe it’s the characterization of Harbaugh as the evil villain, or the guy we simply loved to hate. We’ll miss clowning on Harbaugh’s monotone post-game press conferences, and his defense of often indefensible actions from his players.
It’s been fantastic making fun of the dis-function of a front office with its head coach, when the Seahawks collaborative system between Pete Carroll and John Schneider are a united front.
In the end, Harbaugh reached three straight NFC title games. But Carroll got the ring.
It begs one final shot to Harbaugh’s famous postgame line. Who’s got it better than us?
Pretty simple: The Seattle Seahawks.