Harbaugh: "I'm a human sponge for criticism"

San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh admitted to reporters this week that he's been a punching bag for media and fan criticism, but insisted that he wouldn't want things any other way.

Looking through the 49ers recent success, or therefore lack of, the question comes up if Jim Harbaugh has lost his swagger as head coach of the San Francisco 49ers. With immediate success in his first two seasons, reaching the NFC Championship games in both seasons, and clinching the playoffs every year during his tenure, Harbaugh has proven himself as an elite head coach in the National Football League. However, in the past two seasons now, the 49ers record has declined, and the Seahawks and now Cardinals have jumped them on the NFC West leaderboard.

Often times, Harbaugh has taken the bulk of the criticism for the team’s lack of success as his fiery personality often has become his Achilles heel. Critics tend to believe that Harbaugh’s time in San Francisco is coming to an end, and even all-time 49er great, Jerry Rice, believes so. When Harbaugh was asked about his future with the club, as well as Rice’s comments and his response elicited a smile from most fans and reporters.

“ I really don’t care in terms of the outside flack,” noted San Francisco’s head coach. “I don’t mind. I don’t mind being a human sponge for criticism. I actually prefer it.”

Often times, adversity breeds success, and in this case, it’s no different. It would almost be fitting for Harbaugh to prefer the criticism as his fiery demeanor feeds off the chip on his shoulder. He’ll admit himself, his personality has always held him back, even if it’s genuine. When asked about why there are so many naysayers, he was completely honest.

“I guess that is just my personality,” Harbaugh stated. “It is different, I guess, from other personalities. I don’t know. It is the only one I have. All the other personalities were taken.”

Harbaugh may possess some personality traits that may not bode well with some people, but you cannot deny his success in the NFL. Taking a 49er club that had struggled for almost an entire decade and turning them into a perennial contender is something that not many people could have accomplished. Even if his time in California may be over after this season, his future in the NFL remains very bright.


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