The Jim Harbaugh era in San Francisco has officially come to an end and it’s bit hard to digest for many of us 49ers fans. After 4 years, Harbaugh leaves with a career record of 44-19-1, along with a 5-3 record in the postseason. For the fans, we knew that he was something special from the beginning. With his curved bill on his SF hat, khaki pants with his shirt tucked in, and such animated facial expressions, he brought passion and excitement to the 49ers. Plain and simple, he made our team great. Yes, the Niners lost in the Super Bowl, but all in all, he really turned things around for the team. So with such a great record, a man who was loved by the players and the fans, why is he gone?
How do you get rid of a coach with an outstanding record? To make things even more confusing, it wasn’t about the money either. He’s receiving the same pay as the new head coach of the University of Michigan’s football team as he would’ve with the 49ers. Let’s take a step back for moment. Before Jim Harbaugh came aboard with the Red and Gold, things were bad, really bad. The last time the Niners had a winning record was in 2002. Under Harbaugh for the first year, they went 13-3 and went all the way to the NFC Championship game against the New York Giants, losing 20-17 in overtime.
Before the 2014 season started there were a lot of things going on in the 49ers organization. There were many off-field issues with a number of players that were a cause for concern. Linebacker NaVorro Bowman was among a few key injuries and the Levi’s Stadium would be the 49ers new home in Santa Clara. Despite all of this, after 3 winning season under Harbaugh, there didn’t seem to be any reason to panic. However, that feeling was short lived. Comments and rumors started circulating about issues between Jim Harbaugh, general manager Trent Baalke and the rest of the front office. About halfway through the season, we realized that the 49ers organization was in trouble.
It’s hard to imagine after three great years, how quickly things can fall apart. More rumors started coming out about Harbaugh being traded to the Cleveland Browns, Oakland Raiders, or leaving the NFL for the University of Michigan. This blew up all over the media and something that was certainly on the minds of the players and fans. It began to effect the team and the entire organization, ultimately leading to a disappointing season with the Niners finishing 8-8 and out of playoff contention.
“Winning isn’t the only thing that matters. Winning with class is what matters.” – Jed York. While we can respect that statement, putting arguments aside and looking at the bigger picture matters just as much. We’ll never lose faith in our team, but greatness is hard to find, and Harbaugh was and is a great coach. It’ll be hard to find a replacement for a guy like Jim, but hopefully Jed York has a plan. We certainly hope we’re not looking at a negative turning point in franchise history, but we can only wait until next year to see what happens. Peninsula Auto Body would like to wish Jim Harbaugh the best at his new head-coaching job in Michigan. The entire Peninsula Auto Body team thanks you for all of your hard work and dedication while coaching the 49ers. You were awesome!