Prior to Jim Harbaugh’s arrival in 2011, the 49ers had not tasted the playoffs since 2002. Since Jim Harbaugh has been the head coach, the 49ers have played in three consecutive NFC Championship appearances and a Super Bowl. He revived the career of Alex Smith and created a young star out of Colin Kaepernick. His regular season record since being the 49ers head coach has been 36-11-1, with a 5-3 playoff record. He should not have to wait for his paycheck much longer.
Recent reports have surfaced that there has been some tension between Harbaugh and General Manager, Trent Baalke. According to sources within the 49ers’ organization, there has been a power struggle between the two men for the last three years. While original reports believed that this was just an occasional butting of heads that was healthy for the success of the organization, it is now being reported that the two sides’ feud is escalating to levels that would make any 49er fan nervous.
Both men have been among the best at their jobs the last few years, and the 49ers could not afford to lose either man. Baalke became the 49ers GM in 2010, and has added vital players to the 49er’s roster via free agency and the draft. But it was not until 2011 when Harbaugh arrived that the 49ers turned into an NFC powerhouse. The 49ers had all the talent in the world on their team but no one to unite them and get them to play together. Enter Jim Harbaugh. Since he has taken over as head coach, he has gone 13-3, 11-4-1, and 12-4 with a 5-3 playoff record.
Although it is a misconception that Harbaugh turned the organization around single handedly, his body of work cannot go unnoticed. There have reportedly been difficulties between the 49ers and Harbaugh agreeing to a contract extension, and NFL.com reported that the 49ers are not going to beg Harbaugh to stay. That is where the issues begin.
I have been a 49er fan my entire life. Unfortunately, I was born the same year the 49ers last won a Super Bowl, so I have never been able to witness the glory of seeing my idols hoist up the Lombardi trophy. From 2003-2010, when I really started to fall in love with the game of football, the 49ers were unable to reach the playoffs once. Any sports fan knows that you can only take so much heart break from your team losing for so long before just wanting to give up on them all together. But ever since Harbaugh’s arrival the 49ers have been a top NFL team. Why in the world the 49ers don’t think he has done enough leading the 49ers to three consecutive NFC Championships is beyond me, especially to the fans that only saw the team fail year after year.
There is a famous saying out there, if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it. So maybe Harbaugh might be itching for a little more power. Maybe his personality does not sit well with some people within the organization, but this is a business, and Harbaugh’s methods are producing results. I believe it is good that Harbaugh and Baalke butt heads because it is going to bring out the best in both men, and if they argue with each other, it will help them both make the most beneficial decisions to the team. If the 49er organization is not going to beg Harbaugh to stay and try their best to keep him in the Bay, then they need a reality check. He is not responsible for the entire organizational turn around, but he undeniably played the biggest role in it, and his constant success should earn him a paycheck from the 49ers.