Harbaugh on khakis: 'Happy wife, happy life'
Idle time is the devil's workshop, which is what leads to conflicting stories about Colin Kaepernick's charity work. Can't we fast-forward to kickoff? (USATSI)
Programming note: Watch Thursday's 49ers press conferences with Jim Harbaugh, Vic Fangio, Greg Roman, Michael Crabtree and NaVorro Bowman live on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area at 11:55 or streaming live right here
Jim Harbaugh’s pants. Colin Kaepernick’s hat and headphones. Richard Sherman’s dreads. Russell Wilson’s charity work.
All these trivialities that have been filling your heads so far in this NFC Championship Week remind us of one central fact: The games are too far apart.
It is true that the human body was not really built to allow for football games on back-to-back days. They didn’t even do that in the 1920s when the NFL just began and players were legally classified as livestock.
But I think we’d be willing to forgo that egregious breach of safety just this once if we could be spared Internet photos of Harbaugh buying off-the-shelf work clothes two thousand miles from home with an intensity unknown to mankind.
[RELATED: Harbaugh entertains local, national media]
That, however, is the price we pay for these three weeks – the week before the conference finals and the two weeks before The Thing They Wrap Around All Super Bowl Commercials. Too much time, not enough stories.
The worst of them was the Wilson-Kaepernick character comparison, in which Wilson played the earnest, polite, kind and generous young man to Kaepernick’s narcissistic street thug – most egregiously the comparison between Wilson’s charity work and Kaepernick’s lack of same.
As it turned out, Kaepernick’s clear disinterest in giving time and money to charitable causes is marred only by the fact that he actually gives time and money to charitable causes. I mean, it’s hard to be uncaring and self-absorbed when you are neither of those things.
But early-week stories tend to be of the superficial/stylistic/appearance-based ilk, which is in one way an homage to the old-school NFL. As in, Joe Namath had to put up with this same rampant nitwit-driven stereotyping nearly 50 years ago. It is gratifying to know that some traditional verities never go out of style.
Indeed, we are surprised that Carroll hasn’t tried to counter Harbaugh’s eight-buck-khaki stories with information about how he wears Ben Davis-label drawers made from burlap and gravel, or how he goes to speaking engagements wearing only clothes he bought off winos outside Pike Place Market.
Indeed, we take that as proof that he and Harbaugh are not mutual bêtes noires as we keep proclaiming them. If the two men truly loathed each other, they’d be fighting battles on all fronts simultaneously. But no, they actually have the same fashion sense – monomaniacal casual.
Indeed, these guys ARE each other in too many other ways – philosophically, tactically and strategically. They do different things based on the rosters they have, like any intelligent coach would, but they’ve both been at their present jobs long enough to have melded their teams with their personalities. Put it this way – when Carroll asked Harbaugh, “What’s your deal?” back in 2008, he already knew the answer, because if the circumstances had been different, Harbaugh would have wanted to know the same thing.
Frankly, if you want to look hard enough, the only real differences between the two are trouser quality and the fact that Carroll’s father never gave his son a battle cry like, “Who’s Got It Better Than Us?” Or, its new incarnation based on last week, “Who Could Possibly Have It Better Than Us?”
That makes for a slightly slower news day on Wednesday, but we’ve already seen what we do with a slow news day. We talk about hats and pants and charity obligations and headphone endorsements. We pretend that Tuesday and Wednesday have value, but we know better.
Fortunately, there’s Thursday and Friday and finally game time, at which point the rest of us say with considerable relief, “Who’s got it better than us?”
Besides, if the 49ers and Patriots win, we’ll have to put up with four full days of “Harbaugh or Belichick: Who’s The Bigger Sideline Slob?” At which point the answer to “Who’s got it better than us?” will include “Anyone not currently living in South Sudan."