NFL to review skirmish between Jim Harbaugh and Jim Schwartz


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A hard handshake, a dismissive shove and a shoulder bump is all it took Sunday to reduce a couple of spectacular coaches to a spectacle.

The dust-up Sunday between San Francisco’s Jim Harbaugh and Detroit’s Jim Schwartz was an embarrassment.


NFL spokesman Greg Aiello confirmed Monday that the league is looking into the incident, which happened in the aftermath of San Francisco’s 25-19 victory at Detroit. If there’s any discipline, it likely would fall under the personal-conduct policy.

POLL: Who was a poorer sport, Jim Harbaugh or Jim Schwartz?

Is this a huge deal? Not really. But if the league cares about underscoring the importance of sportsmanship, it should take some sort of disciplinary action. After all, the NFL sets the example for every level of football beneath it.

Harbaugh had every right to celebrate, of course, after his 5-1 team posted an impressive road victory over the previously undefeated Lions. His hard handshake and backslap/shove of Schwartz was clearly over the top. That enraged Schwartz, who lost his cool, chased down the 49ers coach and angrily gave him a shoulder bump, escalating the situation.

Both of these coaches are passionate and combustible, and that’s part of what makes them good at what they do. This isn’t the first time Harbaugh has rubbed an opposing coach the wrong way (before playing Pete Carroll’s Seahawks this season, he said: ‘I’ve got to say that really, the only friend I have in the NFL is my brother [John Harbaugh] who’s on an opposing team.’) By the same token, Schwartz isn’t exactly subdued when he celebrates a win.

So the league should do something swiftly, preferably on Monday, that isn’t over the top, but reminds these coach-of-the-year candidates of something they already know: Getting their teams to play hard for 60 minutes is only part of the job.


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