Late last night, Peter King's MMQB blog posted an absolutely wonderful review of former San Francisco 49ers coach Bill Walsh. Specifically, author Greg A. Bedard went into detail about Walsh's interactions with the team in the film room. It's a long read, but absolutely worth your time to dive into.
The entire piece is just wonderful, from Walsh's preaching of perfection on timing to the confidence he instilled into his team to execute on everything.
For me, the part that had me smirking was section on how Walsh talked about the way in which the media would try to break the team down -- especially when they were doing well.
Every year you’re going to have a calculated approach taken by a couple writers, especially when you’re doing well, to take the team apart. And they delight in it. They like to see you squirm, they like to see all of us squirm. If they could feel they affected us and we didn’t do well, they have won the war. It’s that simple. I guess we’re fortunate we don’t have more of them. If were in New York City or some place it would be eight or 10 of them doing this. But every year, the same guy locally, there’s a couple of them, will do anything they can to disrupt us. They can make it black and white, defense versus offense, coaches versus players, owners versus coach. They’ll do it every conceivable way, and they’ll get a formula and a plan and methodically work on it. And they work on it. They really calculate it. These guys are not simple-minded people. They’re very bright guys. Just find a way to deal with this stuff, because it will happen. We’ll have two or three things come up, we don’t even know what they are yet, but he’ll come up with something to try to break us. And nobody’s going to break us. Nobody’s going to take us apart."
The 49ers have had their share of detractors in the media during the Jim Harbaugh era. Certainly, some of that has been brought on by the coach and his players' actions on and off the field. However, much has been written to drive narratives that simply don't exist.
Harbaugh and GM Trent Baalke only speak on the phone. Harbaugh was almost traded, or wanted to be traded. He wanted it, they wanted it, he knew about it or he didn't know about it. You see so many iterations of a story, as new unnamed sources twist each plot in seven different directions.
Way back in 1985, there were people who wanted us to believe that Joe Montana wasn't perfect. Come on. As if.
I wonder how coach Walsh would have handled today's media, with the rapid delivery of every speck of dirt within the locker room and players' homes straight to our twitter feeds and web browsers. I'm sure he'd have one arm draped across his body, the other angled up -- hand calmly settled in front of his face -- in that famous Walsh pose, and he'd softly say something that would ease the entire football world.
Harbaugh has his own way of handling things, and they're quickly creating a lore of their own. But, man, did coach Walsh know how to handle everything.