Harbaugh vs Cowherd: Who was in the Wrong?

Have you heard about Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh’s interview with ESPN’s Colin Cowherd? If not, I’m sorry about your internet being out and missing out on the fun. For those of you who missed it or need a refresher, here it is:

Ok, after listening to this interview multiple times, I have come to a conclusion:

Jim Harbaugh was in the wrong but Colin Cowherd looks worse.

This is not just a “homer” backing up his head coach. Looking at all sides, Harbaugh clearly didn’t attack this interview with that “enthusiasm unknown to mankind” but everyone, including Cowherd and his producers, should have known that JH will never fake it. He will be himself in every single situation, no matter what (remember his shirtless adventure in Alabama or beyond serious first pitch at the Tigers game?).

Harbaugh is a character but not an entertainer. He is not going to jazz up his personality or attitude for anyone. There have been plenty of somewhat dry interviews/answers I’ve seen from him in the past so this didn’t catch me off guard at all.

It’s like people, including Cowherd, forgot to read the Harbaugh instructional guide from The Sacramento Bee:

Your Harbaugh will be enormously affectionate one day and cold and distant the next. This is normal.”

Would you like him to be a little more peppy? Sure. But I believe every single Michigan fan would rather have a Bill Belichick/Scotty Bowman/Greg Popovich-like record and a questionable media presence, than a fantastic interviewer out there who struggles on the field (cough, Brady Hoke, cough).

Taking Shots 

Harbaugh will always “keep it real” and he clearly didn’t feel the connection or like the questions that were coming from Cowherd. But to me, I didn’t think it was THAT awkward or bad of answers for CC to just pull the plug on the interview. However, not everyone felt that way and came out defending Colin and his decision:

Bashing Harbaugh for not being a great interviewer is one thing, but to argue that this will affect recruiting is just flat out wrong and laughable. And that’s where Cowherd really looked bad IMO:

And of course ESPN’s Danny Kinnel agreed with it:

Let me combat that one real quick.

Almost every single recruit and parent that I have spoken with or have read about has absolutely loved Jim Harbaugh’s personality and attitude, including the nation’s #1 overall player Rashan Gary and his mother ($). And lets be honest, which recruits even listen to The HERD or would allow one interview to be a deciding factor in their recruitment?

Playing Defense

Here’s what five star 2016 OLB Caleb Kelly‘s mom had to say about the interview:

And there’s also 247Sports’ Keith Neibuhr responding to Cowherd thinking this could affect recruiting:

Add in Harbaugh and the staff putting together a top 10 class of 20 commitments after only 7 months on the job, with it likely rising much higher after the top targets drop, and it just shows some of these talking heads should stick to their day jobs.

While plenty of people took shots at Harbaugh and defended Cowherd, who I actually like as a radio host for the most part, plenty of people (a lot who have actually interviewed him) backed Harbaugh up or at least saw the problem was on both sides of the microphone:

Even secret Michigan super fan and Mercury News writer Tim Kawakami, who arguably knows Harbaugh better than any reporter, defended the former 49ers head coach:

I know Colin didn’t try to do this on purpose, but Harbaugh cannot stand when you try to put words into his mouth in order to set up your own ideas.
Other coaches or subjects will play along, just for courtesy’s sake and not to sound odd on national radio, but that’s not anything that enters Harbaugh’s mind. It’s just not.

He says what he wants to say and if he thinks you’re pushing him down a road he doesn’t want to, he doesn’t care if it gets awkward.”

Besides Kawakami actually being on Michigan’s side this time, this is just another example of the disconnection between the local and national media that we first truly saw with the rumors of Harbaugh leaving the NFL for Michigan.

Quick Fix? 

While the interview was stale (I didn’t think it was THAT awkward), it felt unprofessional for the radio host to pull the plug and take a shot at Harbaugh like CC did and JH agreed:

That’s much more of a reaction than I thought Harbaugh would give but I’ll also give credit to Cowherd and his team for this perfect response:

Honestly, it wouldn’t shock me to hear that the two spoke again behind the scenes to mend this thing. I fully expect to see Harbaugh jump on The HERD in the future when he’s a little more up for it and CC has some clearer questions to ask.