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January 12, 2014

Outsider thought: Harbaugh is an odd bird.

My parting thought on a week with the San Francisco 49ers: Jim Harbaugh is smart, but spacey. I wonder how this will play out.

I've covered a lot of pro coaches. At one end, Larry Brown treated candor like a weapon of mass destruction. At the other, John Fox was so comically evasive that beat writers would ask him loaded questions just to watch him duck-and-weave.

Harbaugh -- and I have no doubt he's a good football coach -- interacts with Bay Area media like Bill Murray in "Stripes": Just odd enough that you wonder whether he's a wacka-doodle or brilliantly messing with you.

I like mavericks and I like smart people. Still, I wonder if Harbaugh is just enough of a smart guy and just enough of a maverick to end up Jerry Glanville or Buddy Ryan -- entertaining, but ultimately unfulfilled and unemployed.

-- Rick Bonnell

Posted by Observer Sports on January 12, 2014 at 09:54 PM | Permalink


3 NFC Championship games in his first 3 seasons, Yeah, he's Jerry Glanville...

You should sell your bologna somewhere else...

Posted by: dennis | Jan 12, 2014 10:09:08 PM

I would rather my coach be like him..he knows how to win..I like Ron Rivera though..I think he will get it right in the next few seasons with Dave Gettleman's help.

Posted by: Max P | Jan 12, 2014 11:48:31 PM

WTF??? Glanville & Ryan? Outside of George Seifert, Harbaugh has the most wins in the first 3 seasons of coaching in NFL history. Passionate, eccentric, intense? Yes, but a whole hell of a lot more prepared than his former Chi town teammate Ron Rivera, who by the way, as a diehard Niner fan, LOVE my fellow Cal alum Ron Rivera, who shook my hand when I was 12 years old after watching "Raiders of The Lost Ark" with the Cal Football team at the California theatre, a moment which by the way I will never forget. Stop smoking Carolina blunts. Lose gracefully, stay classy, and come back hungry next year. Your future is bright Panther fans. #QuestForSix #GotLomardis #NinerFaithful

Posted by: Jim T. | Jan 13, 2014 4:50:33 AM

I'm not saying because we lost that Rivera should be fired or he isn't a good coach because clearly he's found a way…BUT I did think the Panthers should have hired Harbaugh when they had the chance. He knows QB's and quite frankly, making the playoffs 3 years in row, the dude knows how to build a team and make it work.

Posted by: Big Rob | Jan 13, 2014 6:34:52 AM

In other news…this team has GOT to add pieces to Cam Newton in the passing game. Steve Smith and Olsen get covered and there's no 2nd or 3rd receiver that can make the needed plays. Alright, so Hixon makes a game winning TD catch and so did Ginn, but there has GOT to be consistency. Look at the Patriots and Saints who can spread the ball to guys who are reliably open. And why? Because there's so much reliability in the WR corps. When you only got 2 guys defense truly care about, and a running game that gets stalled, there's nothing there. Sorry. Coaches can Lafell this, and he might be a good blocker, but c'mon. I played football (not saying I know everything either) but blocking can't be all you do when the time comes to truly make a statement.

Posted by: Big Rob | Jan 13, 2014 6:46:57 AM

Now we have other needs. Offensive line help (Hog mollies) if you want to call it that. And a much needed shut down corner. Sign Hardy and Mitchell back on defense. Let Stewart walk.

Posted by: Big Rob | Jan 13, 2014 6:49:33 AM


Harbaugh took over a team in disarray and had Alex Smith take them to the NFC Championship game in his first season. The last two years, he has taken the team to the Super Bowl and now the NFC Championship game again - with a QB playing in his first two seasons. How did "Super Man" look yesterday at B of A? Not too good.
I can't think of when I have read a more off-base, off the wall comment that you have written here in this blog post.
Do you watch the NFL much?
Would the Panther faithful like to have gone to three straight NFC Championship games and one Super Bowl rather than missing the playoffs for five straight years and landing with a thud like they did yesterday? C'mon dude. Bad commentary.

Posted by: BD | Jan 13, 2014 7:04:47 AM

Let's not forget how good of a college coach this guy was and how well he transitioned to the pro level. While he may be odd, comparisons to the likes of Jerry Glanville is a bit of a sretch and too far reaching.

Posted by: Andrew | Jan 13, 2014 8:24:25 AM

Whats wrong with Glanville?

Posted by: Cecil | Jan 13, 2014 8:52:41 AM

Who is this guy name Rick Bonnell? How old are you anyway again? Smh!

Posted by: OC | Jan 13, 2014 9:40:44 AM

Your team could not score from 1 yard line TWICE ... kicked a FG alright. An 11 points swing, and you are making an issue of the opposing coach ??? Did you graduate from HS ???

Posted by: Charles | Jan 13, 2014 11:05:32 AM

Rick Bonnell is an odd bird.

Posted by: Dave Riley | Jan 13, 2014 12:04:18 PM

@Jim T above: Classy response on your part. Much classier than some of the Niners fans (and even some so called "Panther Fans") I've heard from in the past week. But I will never judge an entire fanbase based on several idiots. Thanks for sharing your Rivera story. Niners have a good thing going and Harbaugh is an excellent coach. He has succeeded everywhere he's gone. My hope is Rivera can continue the winning- not necessarily 12-4 every year. But at least consistent post-season appearances and deeper runs in the post season. That will be the true measuring stick.

Posted by: PantherD | Jan 13, 2014 1:03:27 PM

This is one reason I hardly read the Charlotte Observer. How about you talk positive about your team instead of being negative against another. I bet you were one calling for Rivera to be fired earlier in the year.

Posted by: NotRickBonnell | Jan 13, 2014 1:24:03 PM

Rick Bonnell = Charlie Brown (while Lucy moves the football)

Posted by: OprahW | Jan 13, 2014 1:50:21 PM

Release the Kraken! Sorry I got carried away. Sign the Kraken! We need him back.

Posted by: TheKraken | Jan 13, 2014 4:14:47 PM

Everyone leave Nick Bonnell alone.

Posted by: Jerry Glanville | Jan 13, 2014 10:44:00 PM

Hey! California may be the land of Fruits and Nuts but we LIKE it that way!
Free thinkers and oddballs are welcome here and Jim fits in just fine.
Those who don't buy a lot of Guns and move to Idaho.

Posted by: Darrell B. | Jan 14, 2014 1:16:34 PM

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