A few more thoughts on the incident:
Harbaugh failed to check his emotions before greeting his opponent. He in effect continued to celebrate his win in the presence of Schwartz, which no doubt left Schwartz feeling as though Harbaugh were rubbing it in -- just as I felt watching the encounter live. It puzzles me that anyone could view the footage and not understand how Schwartz would be ass-chafed by Harbaugh's attitude.
On Monday morning, ESPN radio personality Colin Cowherd defended Harbaugh, comparing the incident to March Madness games wherein jubilant coaches must "turn off their emotions" to exchange pleasantries with their "loser" counterparts. The overall message was that winners can celebrate however they please without regard for the losers.
Does such a viewpoint hold up? What if all victors acted like Harbaugh? To put his behavior in context, let's consider how other celebrated leaders would have looked, had they reacted to winning as old Jim did on Sunday. With a nod to one of my favorite flash-in-the-pan websites, Sad Don Draper, let's look at Obnoxious Jim Harbuagh:
Considering how often football draws comparisons to warfare, let's kick things off with Yorktown:
You can't subscribe to all that only to turn around and say that it doesn't matter if you act like a horse's ass, as long as you win. Unless we've finally reached the point where it really doesn't matter. If sports do indeed reflect our culture, perhaps it makes sense that you can do whatever you want, regardless of how it impacts other people, as long as you win. After all, there are plenty of people who feel that civility in society now runs at an all-time low. If members of the general population fail to act with restraint, it only makes since for a celebrated leader to show an equal disregard for others.
So what about it? Is there room for good sportsmanship? If sports mirror society and society has room for civility, shouldn't there be room for civility in sports -- and wouldn't the tradition of the post-game handshake be a good place to foster that civility? Or should we just get it over with and allow winning NFL teams to sacrifice the opposition's long snapper on the 50-yard line after the game?