I told you Jim Harbaugh was a lunatic. I mentioned it last week. The guy is off his rocker.
Lo and behold, he declines a penalty that would have given his team a safety at the end of Thursday night’s Seahawks-49ers game, and the 49ers won by a 13-6 score rather then a 15-6 score. Since the 49ers were favored by either 7 or 8, depending on which sportsbook you consult, Harbaugh’s declining of the safety cost his team the cover in a game where most people bet on the Niners.
Instead, the Seahawks covered, Vegas made out like bandits and most people were left licking their wounds and wondering why in the name of all that is holy would Harbaugh decline two free points at the end of a game, especially when those points weren’t going to make ANY difference.
Here’s his answer, according to an ESPN.com article:
After the game, Harbaugh explained that simply kneeling on the ball would ensure that the game would be over, instead giving them to change to kick the ball after the safety. “Otherwise, they’ll onside kick it and you give them a chance to win the game,” Harbaugh said.
Well that doesn’t make any sense, does it? Let’s break this down.
If Harbaugh accepts the safety, his team is up by nine points with 43 seconds left AND would be getting the ball on the ensuing kickoff. In a two score game, the Seahawks would have no timeouts, had scored six points all game, had a quarterback who had completed significantly less than 50-percent of his passes up to that point and would somehow have to recover an onside kick, score a touchdown, recover another onside kick, then kick a field goal.
In 43 seconds.
Keep in mind that the kicking team can’t advance the ball on an onside kick if it recovers it. So the absolute best case scenario for the Seahawks would have been that they kicked an onside kick following the safety, recovered it at their own 42-yard line, and took over with 41 seconds left needing 10 points.
Sorry Jim, that wasn’t going to happen. If anything, by declining the safety and taking the ball with 43 seconds left up seven, the 49ers put themselves in a worse spot. They had to snap the ball and kneel down twice to run out the clock. Isn’t it more likely that the Niners fumble the ball on one of those two snaps, Seattle recovers and then scores rather then Seattle recovering two onside kicks and scoring 10 points in 43 seconds with no timeouts?
Of course it is. Harbaugh can throw all the “logic” that he wants at the media to explain why he made that ridiculous decision, but the bottom line is that it’s flawed. His logic doesn’t add up. Keeping it a one-score game with two kneel downs is not better than trying to protect a nine-point lead with 43 seconds left…while being the receiving team on a kickoff play.
I’m not insinuating that Harbaugh bet on the Seahawks, although that would have been an ingenious move as it turned out. I just think he’s a borderline psychopath who thought he was making a really smart decision and didn’t think it through all the way. Or, he has a horrific gambling problem and saw an opportunity to make some extra coin. Either way, word on the street is that 65-percent of the action in Vegas was on the 49ers, meaning that the casinos absolutely cleaned up because of Harbaugh’s gaffe. It screwed more people than the Golden Tate touchdown/interception against Green Bay a few weeks ago.
Amazingly, I am not one of the people who was screwed. I didn’t bet on this game, marking the first Thursday nighter I have not waged on this season. I probably would have bet on the Seahawks (Honestly. I’m on record with my love for Russell Wilson), but I might have had a change of heart come game time and bet on the 49ers. I can’t say for sure. Either way, I’m happy I stayed away, because there is nothing worse then winning a bet only to have it be changed because of a non-player’s boneheaded decision.
In 2008, I did bet on the Chargers in a game against the Broncos. Jay Cutler was the Broncos quarterback, and he fumbled a ball late in the game, which the Chargers recovered. That should have given me the cover, as San Diego just had to kneel down with a seven-point lead and they had the game.
But no. Easy Ed Hochuli had whistled the fumble dead – for some reason – ruling it an incomplete pass. He later admitted his mistake, but they couldn’t do anything about it. The Broncos retained possession, scored a touchdown, went for two and won the game. There went my cover, and my money.
So I can relate to people who bet on the Niners Thursday night. It’s a real punch to the seeds when something like that happens.