Jim Harbaugh Head Coach Hiring: 49ers Fan Expectations Now Through The Roof?

Harbaugh signing his 49ers contract on Friday - Thanks to Taylor Price and 49ers.com for letting me use this picture

In case you were have been buried under a rock the last few days, the San Francisco 49ers signed Jim Harbaugh to a five year deal to become their new head coach. I suppose that sentence wasn't really necessary, but I really think it's reasonable to work that into as many posts as possible because it still feels really good to say. It's safe to say the honeymoon is in full swing with the Jim Harbaugh era in San Francisco.

Of course, he isn't the first coach in sports history to be welcome to town as the savior to be. He's not the first coach who has been viewed as arguably the guy who will return a franchise to its former glory. Not all of those past coaches have been wildly successful and things have ended poorly. Now, 49ers fans find themselves in that position. The team has hired "the guy" this time around. The front office took care of its business and landed the hot coaching option. Jim Harbaugh's coaching career in San Francisco could go down in a ball of flames, but no matter what he was the right hire right now.

However, right now, expectations are sky high. Over the course of Friday I saw some comments indicating a general blind faith in whatever Harbaugh did at this point in time. While I don't recall any specific predictions at this point, it feels like people are expecting great things from the 49ers in 2011 no matter how the rest of the offseason goes. That has me a little concerned that expectations could be too high.

I had a chance to go to the 49ers press conference on Friday and almost had a chance to ask a question. I was supposed to ask but I kept getting passed over. Such is life. My question was going to be about the high expectations and how he viewed them and would handle them. Fairly light stuff, but I believe it's a big issue.

After the press conference ended, Harbaugh and Trent Baalke were available for some quick hit questions. The media swarmed Harbaugh, but Baalke was able to walk relatively freely. As he walked over for a TV interview I had a chance to ask him my question about expectations. He came back with the basic cliche of taking things one day at a time. He followed that up with his personal motto of: When you win say little, when you lose say less.

It will be interesting to see how the relationship develops between Baalke and Harbaugh. Jim Harbaugh oozed confidence while Trent Baalke seemed to be a relatively quiet and direct individual. Baalke seems like a football guy who is there to do his job and that's that. We'll see how that particular relationship plays out.

What I'm wondering is what kind of slack Harbaugh will get in his first season as 49ers head coach. I thought about adding a poll to see what people expected from Harbaugh in his first season, but this team doesn't even have a starting quarterback. These predictions are all just for fun, but a prediction before free agency and the draft for a team without a starting quarterback would be pretty much pointless. Once the team gets its quarterback options for 2011 (well, aside from David Carr), then we'll have a poll.

In the meantime, how do you feel about expectations? Is anybody else concerned expectations might be too high? I know it can't just be me. I'd say people might be concerned about being burned after high expectations entering 2010 were blown up, but obviously the addition of Harbaugh changes things considerably.

Harbaugh-baalke_medium
-- Taken after Harbaugh signed his contract. Thanks again to Taylor Price and 49ers.com for letting me use these awesome pictures.
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