Why is Jim Harbaugh attracting so much media attention?

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The recent (and more than likely overblown) rumors regarding Jim Harbaugh's standing with the 49ers invites us to question the media's perception of Harbaugh.

In today's Golden Nuggets, 10man has an excellent summary of Jed York, Trent Baalke, and Jim Harbaugh's response to certain rumors circulating the 49ers' front office. These rumors, of course, pertain to Jim Harbaugh's potential decision to leave the 49ers and accept a coaching job at Texas. In an odd development, though, they have transformed into rumors that Harbaugh and Baalke have an antagonistic working relationship that stopped the two men from reaching a deal about a contract extension.

At the most basic level, either these rumors are true or they aren't. It is very well possible that Harbaugh and Baalke have a less-than-stellar working relationship and that this has cause Harbaugh to look elsewhere for a job. But, given both men's responses to the rumors, what we know of Harbaugh and Baalke's past relationship, and the fact that beat writers don't seem as suspicious of potential tension as national writers, I think it is safe to postulate that the rumors are largely false. They seem to be grounded more in speculation than in reality.

So, I wanted to pose a question for discussion: why just Harbaugh? Surely there are other front offices with actual internal problems. In fact, I doubt any front office is totally free of these problems. Even though I'm not persuaded by the notion that Harbaugh and Baalke are at such odds that the former would divorce himself from the latter, I would bet that they have had strong disagreements before.

Why, then, has the media fixated upon Harbaugh? I'm sure there are a lot of reasons - in fact, I'm confident that there are enough that this question can generate some good discussion. One reason could be simple: reporters have sources, and sometimes sources get things wrong. Maybe the "source" inside the 49ers' front office just dropped the ball and gave reporters bad information.

Other reasons could be more complex, though. One reason I have been considering over the last couple of days is that Harbaugh presents himself as very odd figure. His sideline demeanor is not typical for the NFL. I mean, he looks like he is on the verge of cardiac arrest for 3 straight hours. And his media sessions aren't a cake walk for reporters (though this is more of a problem for local reporters than national ones).

As a consequence, I wonder if Harbaugh will continue to attract criticisms like "alpha dog" and "too intense" due to his attitude and temperament. In this scenario, as long as Harbaugh continues to act with an occasionally unsettling competitive intensity, he will probably attract controversy.

But, what do you think? Why is Harbaugh inviting so much speculative attention?

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