Blog Entry

Players think NFL should fine Harbaugh, Schwartz

Posted on: October 21, 2011 3:15 pm
Edited on: October 21, 2011 3:32 pm
In the eyes of the NFL, close-talking is not a crime. (Getty Images)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

The NFL seems uninterested in dispelling the perception that there are two sets of rules -- one for the players and one for everyone else associated with the league. The latest instance came after Jim Harbaugh and Jim Schwartz reenacted the "Wait, what did he just do to me?!" scene that has played out at every pro wrestling match ever staged.

On merit alone the incident isn't worth a fine (and none was levied); the sheer embarrassment of being a part of such a spectacle is punishment enough. But this is the NFL, where no transgression is deemed too small (see, for example) … except when it doesn't involve players.

Remember when the Colts announced before the season that they had hired former Ohio State coach Jim Tressel as a game-day consultant? Instead of meting out the punishment, the league seemed happy to let Indianapolis handle it, but only after the story went public. That would've never happened had Tressel been a player (like, say, Terrelle Pryor).

Understandably, these inconsistencies irk players, and two of them spoke out about it Thursday during an appearance on NFL Network's Total Access. Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey and Texans wideout Derrick Mason, who have 28 years of NFL experience between them, were amazed Harbaugh and Schwartz escaped punishment.

(For what it's worth -- and we imagine not much -- NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said this on Monday: "Fortunately, there was no fighting and thus no basis for a fine. … However, both coaches told [VP of football operations] Ray Anderson today that their post-game conduct was wrong and will not happen again. ... We believe their response is the correct one and that their post-game conduct going forward will be more appropriate.")

“What if that was a player? How would (the NFL) react to that?,” Bailey asked. “These are supposed to be the leaders of our team(s), and you let them get away with it, so to speak, and now how do you think the players will start acting? I like it personally, but I just know how the NFL operates today, it’s amazing to me they let this slide.”

Mason agreed.

“I think they should have (been fined), because these are the leaders of your team,” he said. “I think the NFL should have slapped them with some type of fine, $5,000 or $10,000 here or there, to at least show them they have to be responsible for what they do on the field.”

We love that Mason has no idea how much the coaches should've been fined, no doubt because the league has a history of arbitrarily handing out punishments.

It's one thing to be strict -- we get that. There's a plan, and even if most people don't agree with it, they know the rules going in. But when the judge, jury and executioner is a paranoid schizophrenic you're going to have issues like this crop up several times a season.

(By the way,'s Doug Farrar notes that "it could certainly be argued that both [Schwartz and Harbaugh] stepped on the wrong side of this one," and then points to the NFL's fine schedule which plainly states that "Sportsmanship: Excessive Profanity; other Unsportsmanlike Conduct (e.g., toward opponent(s), game personnel, fans, etc.): $10,000 / $20,000.")

In a web-exclusive, the analysts answer your questions for the 7th week of the season. Get the latest from JB, Phil, Cris, and Warren.

This seems like a good place to include what some other NFL coaches had to say about The Handshake when it invariably came up at their respective weekly press conferences.

Bill Belichick: "[The post-game handshake] is so heavily scrutinized by the media that it’s an event bigger than the game itself, which is so absurd. Like a lot of things, it takes any personalization out of the game and makes it a public topic of discussion. I think it’s pretty ridiculous that the media focuses on it the way it does.

“I’d like to think that the reason that the people are there is to see the game and to see the competition. But they seem to want to talk about everything but the game. That’s not uncommon. That’s the media’s job, so that’s what they do. It certainly takes away from, as a coach, the things that you would say, so you find other times to do it outside of that. Maybe before the game, or a phone call to the coach after the game, that kind of thing.”

Mike Tomlin: "I really have no thoughts [on the handshake]. I think it is the same sometimes, when we pay attention to things that are meaningless, insignificant. The story of the NFL should be on the game itself. That was a hard-fought game played by two really good football teams, two exciting teams on the rise. I think that should be the story, not some unfortunate incident that happened after the game. I think that is silly."

When asked what does into a handshake, Tomlin was frank.

"I don't practice it. I don't think about it. I am just going to be cordial, be respectful and wish them well moving forward. I don't know about the norms, OK. I don't get into that. If I spend too much time thinking about the handshake, then I am not doing my job."

John Harbaugh: "I can just tell you this: I think I know who was right. But whoever was right or wrong, I know whose side I’m on. I’m definitely taking sides. [It’s] the same side I’ve always taken. … You know what? Everybody’s got a lot to learn. So I guess right now, [Jim's] 5-1. If the biggest lesson he has right now is how to shake hands postgame, after a victory, he’s doing OK.”

Fair point. But as one NFL coach told's Clark Judge, Harbaugh and Scwhartz "are going to regret it in the morning. They just bought a film clip for life."

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Since: Aug 3, 2011
Posted on: October 21, 2011 11:28 pm
This comment has been removed.

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Since: Jan 12, 2008
Posted on: October 21, 2011 10:56 pm

Players think NFL should fine Harbaugh, Schwartz


You should be checked for a stroke.

Since: Aug 3, 2011
Posted on: October 21, 2011 10:11 pm
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: October 21, 2011 10:01 pm

Players think NFL should fine Harbaugh, Schwartz

Lion fans ENOUGH already with the HYPOCRACY,you guys were talking about the Lions being undefeated when they play the Pack on thanksgiving.

You always pick the 1 or 2 or 3 people out of hundreds that say something stupid to try and expose an entire fan base. I don't know ONE real serious Lions fan that knows football that PREDICTED the Lions to be undefeated come Thanksgiving day.... 

And the 49ers have a right to be excited about 1 game they beat an undefeated team on the road,something to be excited about.

The players have every right to be excited about any win on the road in the NFL, it's tough to do.  But a coach has a responsibility to do what EVERY OTHER COACH IN TODAY'S NFL DOES EVERY SINGLE WEEK AFTER EVERY SINGLE GAME... his job is to jog up to the other coach, stop or pause in front of him and shake his hand.  Not jump up in the air, slap down on his hand and push him away.... 

Question for you though...  if the 49'ers have a right to be excited ( and I agree they do), why did you say REPEATEDLY that the Detroit Tigers and their fans especially had no right to be excited after they beat the Yankees because they haven't won anything in such a long time?  Using your logic, you should be telling 49'er fans to shut up because when's the last time they won anything? 

And right now they are SuperBowl contenders just like the Lions are

I'm a huge Lions fan but I've NEVER called them a Superbowl contender, not yet.  The Lions need more depth and they need a couple new o-linemen that can create holes semi consistently for the running game before they can be called contenders.  Can my Lions make the playoffs?  Sure, and I hope they do.... but contenders?  Nahhhhhh, not yet.   And the 49'ers are a good team, but not quite contenders yet either.  In my opinion Alex Smith, a guy that really is lucky to still be in the league isn't the man to lead them to the Superbowl.... either way, they aren't quite contenders yet either.  You don't go from missing the playoffs for a while to being a contender in 6 weeks.....  not yet. 

Since: Feb 22, 2008
Posted on: October 21, 2011 10:00 pm

Players think NFL should fine Harbaugh, Schwartz

HAHAHAHAHA.  Thanks for the laugh man, you're awesome.  So, let me get this straight.  A coach who's team needed to convert a 4th down play with less then 2 minutes late to win a game "outcoached" the other guy?  LOL   Moron.

For as much as Schwartz may have overreated to a very unprofessional Harbaugh, you 49'er fans are just as bad if not a lot worse.  You're getting a little too excited over one win.....

Take it easy folks... a year ago you were all ready to jump off the nearest bridge.  Suddenly you act like your Superbowl contenders....

Oh come off it.  Lion fans were pretty revved up and cocky about their team before they got beat in their own house.  I wonder how pleased you would have been if you had won?  Don't act all superior; both of our franchises are trying to come back from the dumps and both fan bases are liable to get overexcited about any victory.   BTW, we are Super Bowl contenders.  So are the Lions.  Six games is a healthy fraction of the season, and being 5-1 in that span implies that you are a good team.  We just happen to have an easier road because Green Bay isn't in our division. 

With respect to the coaching battle, this game didn't really come down to coaching.  The Niners did convert on fourth down.  Harbaugh's staff dialed up a play that won the game.  Overall, this game had very little to do with coaching, so I wouldn't be thinking that Scwartz is a better coach just because he was ahead in the fourth quarter.

Since: Aug 3, 2011
Posted on: October 21, 2011 9:59 pm
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: October 21, 2011 9:54 pm

Players think NFL should fine Harbaugh, Schwartz

Harbaugh's shake was elation NOT taunting. 

I challenge you for the rest of this season to find me just ONE example of another coach that does what Harbaugh did.  You won't see it...

And yes, it was taunting... it was big time taunting.....  get some new eyeglasses that don't have 49'er in the middle of the lense and watch the replay with the new glasses on..... if that wasn't taunting, nothing is.


Since: Sep 19, 2006
Posted on: October 21, 2011 9:05 pm

Players think NFL should fine Harbaugh, Schwartz

AND players dont get fined for yelling and screaming at eachother. so no there's no double standard here.

if harbaugh or schwartz had actually thrown a punch.... THEN you start handing out fines/suspensions

Since: Sep 19, 2006
Posted on: October 21, 2011 9:00 pm

Players think NFL should fine Harbaugh, Schwartz

bottom line is - if Schwartz hadnt gone bananas.... this whole shakegate is not even a discussion.

Harbaugh's shake was elation NOT taunting.

Since: Apr 3, 2007
Posted on: October 21, 2011 8:48 pm

Players think NFL should fine Harbaugh, Schwartz

So because the media blew a few strong words between coaches completely out of proportion, the moron players think they should get fined?

P.S. Bill Belichick owned everyone in the media who thought this was a big deal.

“What if that was a player? How would (the NFL) react to that?,” Bailey .

Um, it happens damn near after every play between the players.  My God are these guys idiots.

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