The Harbaugh Mentality: Emery Acknowledges Titles All That Matter

The Harbaugh Mentality: Emery Acknowledges Titles All That Matter

When Alex Smith suffered a concussion in November, Jim Harbaugh watched Colin Kaepernick shred the Chicago Bears - at that time the best defense in the league - on a remarkable Monday night. When Kaepernick won his second start against the New Orleans Saints, Harbaugh made the decision that the human tattoo parlor from Nevada, not the Utah game manager, would be his starting quarterback moving forward. It was not that Harbaugh did not believe Alex Smith was capable of winning games. Of course he is. But just winning games is not enough for teams and coaches with title aspirations.

And you saw Saturday night, against the Green Bay Packers, what that decision meant. San Francisco has one of the league's top defenses and they STILL needed 32 points to beat the Packers. They did so with ease. They did so because Dom Capers had no answers for Kaepernick's legs.

John Harbaugh and the Baltimore Ravens have title aspirations. And with three games to go in the regular they also had an offensive coordinator who'd lost the locker room, a majority of the fan base and his favorite bar stool at Bertha's in Fells Point. Harbaugh's Ravens were in the pole position for a division title but that wasn't enough. Cam Cameron was fired Monday morning, December 10th.

Since that firing? The Ravens embarrassed the defending Super Bowl champion Giants in Baltimore and won two playoff games on the strength of their offense and off the hot hand of their oft-maligned quarterback, Joe Flacco. With Cameron calling the plays they were a lifeless entity warbling towards the postseason. With Jim Caldwell assuming those duties the Ravens are on the precipice of reaching the Super Bowl.

Lovie Smith won games. He won twenty more than he lost as head coach of the Chicago Bears. But on the day after the end of the 2012 regular season Phil Emery embraced The Harbaugh Mentality. Winning games is not enough. Winning championships is all that matter. And winning championship in the modern NFL requires a potent, powerful offense.

This was not a popular choice nationally.


Neither was the decision to bench Alex Smith off an injury. Neither was the decision to fire Cam Cameron with three games to go. The difficult decision are often not the popular ones. But the unpopular decisions are often met with the greatest results.

The essence of Emery's decision to remove Lovie was on display this weekend in San Francisco and Denver. To be great an organization must be willing to abandon being consistently good enough.


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  • First to request that this year's DBB T-shirt have that blue/red graphic of the United States across the back of the shirt, along with the question underneath.

    That. Is Brilliant.

  • In reply to gpldan:

    +1 I'd definitely buy that.

  • Thoughts on the new Vette?

    I hate me some General Motors, but the car looks better.

  • In reply to gpldan:

    Why do you hate General Motors?

  • In reply to Johnnywad:

    That's a long discussion for another blog. From McNamara through the interminable Roger Smith years to Ricky Wagoner, the company was managed so badly, so brazenly, so carelessly, it brought a flagship of american manufacturing from the envy of the world in the 1950s to bankruptcy in 50 years. And we can debate until we are blue in the face around here the scapegoated UAW and other issues, but the fact was, despite whatever worker compensation and pension was - the products began to suck and suck badly after 1973 or so.

  • In reply to gpldan:

    Many truths there. Ive had a couple made in the last ten years
    that have been great. I'm becoming a fan again. My next car will probably be an all wheel drive Caddy.

  • In reply to gpldan:

    That wasn't a charged question by the way. Just curious. I know some people go bat shit crazy on this stuff. Not me. My dad's had a couple of Vettes. Fun to drive but not for long. They've always been uncomfortable.

  • In reply to Johnnywad:

    They didn't solve the insulation of the firewall until the C6. Unless it was very cold out, it made long trips brutal.

    I rented a C6 in Portland and drove to San Diego down Highway 1 in it two years ago. Was kinda fun. Driving the streets of San Fran in a Vette is really really really stupid. Not to mention it's like having a "Heterosexual" bumper sticker on your car and earns you loads of dirty looks (I may as well have stepped out with a baseball hat on backwards and a grunge shirt); the suspension is not made for that city.

  • In reply to gpldan:

    Drove my dad's to Saratoga Springs, NY and Daytona, FL. That will be the end of it. It's a tiring car to drive. These days I'm looking more for a rolling couch.

  • In reply to Johnnywad:

    Have a friend who drives a Cadillac. Total rolling couch, and seems like a really fun car to drive. Doesn't have the engine of some of the other luxury cars out there, but I imagine it would do just fine with the right engine options. (I confess, I drive an Avalon, which is quite comfy and my kids can destroy it). I think if I could afford a Sunday car in Chicago, it would be a Caddy.

    GP - I've seriously considered taking the family on a trip like you just described. Except instead of a Caddy, I'd rent a Lexus SUV or something. Ever done it with family?

  • In reply to Johnnywad:

    What year was it? Back in the late 80s, I drove my 88 between Chicago and NYC several times. That's a seventeen hour trip and I's do it in a day. I never really felt fatigued by the car, maybe by the length of the drive. I've made numerous four trips to the Florida Keys and back in the 96 since I've been down here and no problems there either...

  • In reply to tobijohn:

    Mid Nineties. His Vette is an 80. I just could never get comfortable in it. It has T tops that aren't very tight either. Feels like the windows are cracked. Daytona was in 94. I made the trip back to SW Michigan in 19 hours, stopping only for gas and one repair. I had to stop in Macon , GA. It was running really rough. I put in plugs, wires, etc. Ran like a top the rest of the trip.

  • In reply to tobijohn:

    In reply to JohnnyW below: Yeah, my father had a 77, that was the third generation same as your father's and any kind of trip in those C3s was brutal. When I first got my 88, I gave him a ride in it and he was grumping afterwards how mine made his seem like a bucket of bolts...

  • In reply to gpldan:

    I never had a problem with excessive interior heat or cold in any of my fourth generation Corvettes (88 L98, 96 LT1, 96 LT4). But I am in mortal fear of plastic bags drifting across the road. Any blockage of air through the radiator and the engine temp goes up quick...

  • In reply to gpldan:

    I'm sure it's a remarkable performer but I just don't like the looks of the new C7. I'm on my third Corvette, a 1996 LT4 which was the last year of the fourth generation of Corvettes (1984-96). Kinda liked the C5 (1997-04), didn't really care for the C6 either (2005-13). I'm sure I'd learn to love it if someone gave me one but even if I could afford it, I'd rather put $15K into mine to make it competitive with the latest and greatest (I'd need another 100HP/50 ft-lbs of torque and bigger brakes, all doable). OTOH, I hit a few of the Corvette sites I hang out and a lot of people are gaga over the looks. I suppose it's been the same with the introduction of every new generation. Some hate it, some love it....

  • In reply to tobijohn:

    looks a little like a mix between my ex-father-in-law's Ferrari 599 GTO and his 'old' Scaglietti. (rich cunt)

    I do like the looks Tobi. One of my buddies had the really fast one (C6 maybe?) that came out about 4-5 years ago... thing was fucking SCARY powerful. I went faster in the aforementioned Ferrari’s, but you always felt like you could do a hairpin turn at 130 in those... not so much with the corvette… which felt a little like they just dropped a jet engine into a fiberglass toy.

  • In reply to MB30SD:

    Yeah that was probably a Z06 or the ZR1 550HP in a 3000 lb car and you can fly for sure....

  • In reply to gpldan:

    love it. Might buy me one as a midlife crisis present when I finally sell my company. Bang! Bang!

  • In reply to MB30SD:

    FYI for the blog members - MB started a company that makes wristwatches with GPS that alarm when it's both the time AND place for hard fucking.

    He later branched out into breast implant manufacture and SMAW red-dot sights, but was less successful.

  • In reply to gpldan:

    I bought the watch. Fucker never works. Screw you MB.

  • In reply to Johnnywad:

    You're welcome!

  • In reply to gpldan:

    Forget manufacturing them.

  • In reply to gpldan:

    It's beautiful, but even if I had the money I wouldn't drive it. It's too much. Too flashy. Aston Martin Vanquish, DB9, or a Ford Mustang for me.

  • Jeff - those were great observations. Lovie was all about doing the "safe" thing. No game is critical until you stand at the brink of elimination; just need to score one more point than the other team. Crap, crap, crap as the playoffs showed.

    I don't like this style of football, but it takes an offense that can put up 30+ points to win. Just think, the Bears gave up 10 points in the WHOLE playoffs in 1985. Now teams give that up each half and win anyway.

    (Oh by the way - Green Bay sucks!)

  • In reply to BillW:

    I don't know. I wouldn't say he had a habit of erring on the side of safety.

    I'd say Lovie generally erred on the side of stupidity. See not kicking the field goal from the 10 in (what game was that?) on 4th and inches as case in point. Hardly the safe move, not kicking it.

  • Bingo

  • Point well taken. I guess I'm channeling the attitude that seems to say it's the defense's job to get the turnovers needed to win rather than the offense being programmed to score early and often.

    I wonder where the final 4 teams stand in terms of turnover ratio? I wonder what the turnover ratio was in thus weekend's games? Will have to look that up.

  • In reply to BillW:

    New England (best in AFC) +41 -16 = +25
    Houston (2nd in AFC) +29 -17 = +12
    Baltimore (3rd in AFC) +25 - 16 = +9
    Denver (7th in AFC) +24 -25 = -1

    Atlanta (tied for 4th in NFC) +31 -18 = +13
    Seattle (tied for 4th in NFC) +31 -18 = +13
    San Fran (6th in NFC) +25 -16 = +9
    Green Bay (7th in NFC) +23 -16 = +7

    Chicago (best overall) +44 -24 = +20

    Philly (worst in NFC) +13 -37 = -24
    KC (worst in AFC) +13 -37 = -24

  • wasn't that the seattle game? i believe that petey loved the move so much that he emulated it at the end of the 1st half against the falcons.

  • It's trivially easy after the final score is in to point to a decision in the heat to the game that was 'stupid'. I'm sure you, and a bunch of others, would bitch about his call if they HAD kicked the field goal and lost by 4 points or less. I can see it sooooo easily in my mind's eye - "Oh shit, fucking Lovie should have gone for that 4th and inches, and we could have won"...

    Bitch about the stuff that was actually stupid; certainly there was plenty enough of that. But players failing to convert a 4th down with less than a foot to go is not one of them.

  • WITF?!?!?!

    Know what kind of "bears fans" answered that fucking poll. The exact same kind of douchebag milquetoast clown who I saw wearing bears sweats in the gym... and who obviously knew NOTHING about the team when I engaged him.

    Fucking bunch of bandwagoneers who haven't watched a bears game in years and who became a fan in 85 or because they like the animal that's our mascot (bears are cool!)

    The same fucking people who go to bears game and who fucking scream and shout when the O is in the red zone trying to score on their end of the field. Bunch of fucking clueless monkeys. You should have to fulfill a fucking IQ quotient and/or a fan test before being able to answer something like that.

    Nice piece Jeff… same as I’ve been saying for the last 4-5 years on this here blog. Let San Diego enjoy lovie’s abject mediocrity, but hey I’m a nice guy and players love me attitude. Fucking loser.

    Oh, and I like your shirt idea GP

  • In reply to MB30SD:

    i became a fan because my older brother wouldn't let me use the giants in tecmo bowl so i settled on the bears and their screen pass to payton. i'm not sure that's better than thinking bears are cool.

  • In reply to evantonio:

    Oh it's definitely more cool. I wonder how much NFL success is owed to Tecmo Bowl. I bet we're talking about a pretty significant contribution. Especially if you consider that it probably spawned Madden. (The game. Not the guy.) Everybody I knew in high school and college played. For me, it got me looking at out-of-market teams and players. I probably never would have otherwise.

  • In reply to Johnnywad:

    Tecmo Bowl - got you looking at other players from other teams, so in that way, it kinda was like the first FF league.

    I used to love running with Bo Jackson and The Nigerian Nightmare. It took like 8 defenders to tackle them, all at once.

    If you're a true Tecmo fanatic, here you go...

  • oh, and if fucking emery and teddy and the McC's had the balls they should have shitcanned lovie and brought Jimmy H home when we had the chance... like I was sceaming to have happen.

    Always a day late and a dollar short with these turds. they better get this opty right maings, it could be the modern turning point for this org. They fucking better. get. it. right.

  • In reply to MB30SD:

    You were screaming for Harbaugh, I can document that. And I believe that had the McCaskeys allowed him control of the 53 and tossed Glitchy then, would have happened.

    Now that Peyton choked (again), Emery needs to hustle the fuck up if he wants McCoy.

    If he drags this out, and let's the Eagles call theirs and so on - McCoy's choice of assistants dries up.

  • In reply to gpldan:

    Yep, I concur with Dan...and I thought you were nucking futs for wanting him.

    +5, MB30.

  • In reply to gpldan:

    Wow, Peyton choked because two dilwads made an incomprehensible fuckup to let a guy get behind them for 70 yards with 30 seconds left in the game?



  • In reply to SC Dave:

    Manning choked because he took Corey Graham's cock with two gloved hands and shoved it down his own throat.

  • In reply to MB30SD:

    Not sure what Emery has to do with it. Harbaugh had already been the 49ers head coach for a year before the Bears hired Emery.

  • In reply to Ufficio:

    shhhh... that doesn't help his argument. =]

  • In reply to Ufficio:

    He foresaw Emery too!

    +5, MB30.

  • In reply to Crunch Buttsteak:

    Bang! Bang!

  • Can't say I'm as positive about the Ravens Offense as much as you are Jeff. Almost every first down play that I saw was a Rice run between the tackles that continually got stuffed, I mean, even the commentators were picking up on it. Secondly, that game was won by a combination of a Safety not playing his zone right (against a WR that is known to be a pure speed WR and a QB that can wing it), the apparently "Best QB EVAR" taking a knee with 3 TOs on hand and one of the best long range kickers to play in Denver (even Matt Ryan can get into field goal range, heck, Jay did it with half the time Manning had) and then the previously mentioned "Best QB EVAR" making one of the most putrid, fundamentally awful passes I have ever seen since I had the misfortune of watching a Jets game.

    All in all, as MB said in the previously thread, their O is very similar to ours. They have a RB that is both mis and under used, a QB with a good arm and questionable awareness/decision making....the only real difference being that they have 2 speedy WRs and a better OL. They also have one of the best FBs in the game, which makes their misuse of RR even worse.

    Pats/49ers Superbowl, 33-21 to the Pats.

  • Peyton 'Not Linda Lovelace' Manning has 5 - count them - FIVE - one and dones in the playoffs.

    At a certain point one has to wonder if it affects his Canton ballot. Probably not.

  • In reply to gpldan:

    He has 8.

    99, 2000, 02 (a 41-0 drubbing), 05, 07, 08, 10, 12

  • In reply to DYLbear23:

    He wasn't one and done in every one of those, was he?

  • In reply to gpldan:

    His stats are still alright all things considered.

  • In reply to gpldan:

    Nah. First ballot HOF'er. Gotta admit it didn't break my heart seeing the Donks shit the bed. Fox is basically Lovie with a better OC and personnel.

  • John Harbaugh seems significantly less douchey than his brother.

  • In reply to Johnnywad:

    John wasn't an NFL QB. There is some inherent douchiness with that position. People have been falling all over you since you were 10.

  • Marino never won the big game and he made it in so I don't see any reason Peyton doesn't get in the HOF. But I think that drops him down the subjective "best QB ever" list.

  • In reply to BillW:

    For Peyton fans, his legend may grown in this game. From where I was, it seemed like John Fox absolutely took the wind out of his sails when he didn't let him at least try to run something with 30 seconds left and a couple of TOs. I think they needed about 30 yards in 6 plays; that situation is exactly why you pay $19 million for Manning.

  • In reply to NewBearInTown:

    Yeah. What dafuq was that about?

  • In reply to Shady:

    That was the conservatism that got Fox canned from Carolina in the first place, was it not?

  • I know all here find this truth to be self evident- Steve Rosenbloom sucks about as bad as one can but why, oh why, does the Trib promote him so? I just was over there checking up on things and they have two featured videos by him. WTF...

  • In reply to tobijohn:

    Don't feed that troll, Tobi

  • In reply to SC Dave:

    Don't worry, I haven't clicked on one of his pieces in months...

  • If Peyton Manning wants a title he will take a pay cut.

    The team has no money to sign depth because Manning is taking up so much cap space, and then the his favorite left tackle takes another huge chunk.

    Denver needs the money for three things:

    1) Help on D, particularly the secondary. $4-5 million in space would help them imporve the secondary.
    2) Help on special teams. Team needs an extra $500K here and there to pad contrats of guys who can be big special teams contributors.
    3) Help with depth. Wasn't a big issue this year, but they have nothing on the bench if a key guy goes down. Peyton can make it work with scrub WRs, but they need help elsewhere.

  • "Sources" say the finalists are Bevell and Trestman.

  • Read that too. Interesting about Bevell as what I've read about him is that he's a quite, low key guy. I got the impression from Emery's press conference that while he wasn't looking for a Jim Harbaugh type in terms of intensity, he did want somebody with a bit of warmth...

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