Coach Harbaugh’s magnificent midlife crisis
The midlife crisis, it can happen to the best of us.
After years of driving around with hands at ten and two in your reliable, beige, family sedan, you find yourself looking out the window at the souped up rides roaring you off at the traffic lights and think “What happened to me?”
So you do what any questionably sane man would do, i.e. you go out and buy yourself a Harley, run off with a younger partner and get yourself a tattoo.
Or, if you’re Jim Harbaugh and the San Francisco 49ers, a whole bunch of tattoos.
Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time the footballing world stood up and properly acknowledged the emergence of Colin Kaepernick…. quite possibly California’s most welcome midlife crisis.
Whilst any NFL playoff series contains more variables than the Duckworth Lewis method, for this year’s post season there was one question that divided football fans like the gangs of West Side Story.
“The kid with the nose and the tats, is he the goods or what”?
And whilst he still has at least one game to play this year, the answer is a resounding yes, yes he is.
San Francisco’s Colin Kaepernick’s individual performance and utter disregard for self preservation in the 49ers playoff match against the Packers was good enough to stop people momentarily stop talking about the Ravens vs Broncos match…and that’s saying something.
Going up against a Green Bay team helmed by big game specialist Aaron Rodgers and a defence that had made the inexperienced Vikings quarterback Joe Webb look like Bambi on ice the week before, captain Kap could have easily played traffic cop and let Frank Gore shoulder the running load for the team.
It was not to be though, and in the heat of an early Packers lead Kaepernick made it his mission to run, and run, and run, the end result looking something like Forrest Gump meets Jersey Shore.
Whilst Kaepernick’s 181 yard rushing performance will be remembered in the Bay area for years to come, in a league that almost always seeks to play it safe the bravery that ‘crazy’ coach Harbaugh has made with his choice of Kaepernick should not be underestimated. The 2012 49ers were not a Kyle Orton/Tim Tebow style franchise with fans rioting for the inked one. Nor was former QB1 Alex Smith either some molly coddled patsy or washed up veteran. Sure there was that whole dumping and grovelling re-signing business, but this should only confirm that San Francisco believed that (Peyton Manning aside) there was no player available to the level of Smith in the NFL.
So, with the 49ers season in danger of peaking too soon and RG3 and Russell Wilson adding new dimensions to offences in the league, Harbaugh had the cojones to fly in the face of all conventional football reasoning and stick by his one time wildcat. The payoff for his gamble is a shot at the big dance, and there’s a very real chance San Fran’s new stadium will be home to Lombardi trophy along with its Fantasy Football dedicated lounge and Jumbotron in the near future.
Which is perhaps fitting.
After all, what good’s a midlife crisis without a few expensive, shiny things to show for it?
The NFC Championship …. football’s going to get a little bit crazy.