ESPN posted a lengthy profile of Ravens head coach John Harbaugh. And if you though before he had the Patriots were living inside his head, particularly after the AFC championship game where Tom Brady led two 14-point comebacks and Bill Belichick completely outsmarted him with weird (but legal) formations, then you don’t know the half of it. Based on this, it would appear they’ve got drilling rights to his ass.
A few of the highlights:
— Belichick ran three plays in that January 2015 game with normally eligible skill-position players reporting as ineligible, and the formations baffled the Ravens … Harbaugh is still upset about it. …
“Maybe those guys gotta study the rule book and figure it out,” Tom Brady said afterward.
Harbaugh didn’t appreciate the comment. “I was pissed off,” he said. “It was uncalled for. And the rules are deeper than that, and I know the rules, and I stand by why that play shouldn’t have been allowed. … So yeah, that should never have been said.”
— Brady made it up to Harbaugh five months ago, when they shared a private plane ride back from Michigan, where the two attended Jim Harbaugh’s national signing day event on Feb. 3. … Brady talked about the endless work he put in on the journey from part-time Michigan starter to NFL greatness, and Harbaugh’s daughter, Alison, a promising lacrosse player along for the ride, took in every word. “We’ll go to practice now, and sometimes she’ll say, ‘I’m gonna Brady ’em today,'” Harbaugh said. “Which means, basically, ‘I’m going to win everything in practice.'”
— The Ravens coach said he admires Belichick and likes him and sometimes lunches with him at league meetings, and he “regrets we are unable to be the kind of friends I think we would be if we weren’t rivals in our conference. … I think I’d be riding around on his boat if we weren’t such rivals right now.”
— “There was a thing that just came out that I happened to catch, the 25 worst villains of the Patriots,” Harbaugh said of a MassLive.com ranking. “I think I was like 20th or 21st [19th]. I think that’s a little low. I plan on making that higher in the future.”
Not to go all Chandler Bing on everybody, but … Obsess much, John Harbaugh?
Not only is he still wallowing in self-pity over Patriots formations that the NFL actually signed off on in advance, but actually told the Ravens defense who they should cover, he can’t come to grips with Brady saying it’s in the rule book. Which is an odd take for a man whose own team is among the league leaders every year in disrespect, unsportsmanlike penalties and general smack talk. That would be the same Ravens team who celebrated a win over the Pats in the AFC title game two years earlier by screaming “Have fun at the Pro Bowl! Arrogant f*****s!!!” into the Patriots locker room. The coach of that team is still struggling with PTSD after Tom Brady had the temerity to suggest the eligible receiver rule is in … the rule book. And the fact he now he gets a daily reminder of it from his own daughter, who clearly knows a role model when she sees one, has to make it all the harder to deal with his pain.
But the real hilarity comes in those last two excerpts. The fact that Harbaugh is so tormented by New England that he’s fixated on a goofy list on MassLive goes beyond obsession and becomes a fetish. And by that I mean the dangerous, self-destructive kind. Not the fun, harmless “Mr. Grey will see you now” kind.
But at the same time, he so craves Belichick’s friendship and approval, he’d throw away his bad boy status in a millisecond if he thought The Hooded One would accept him. He’s like a comic book villain. Or think Sydrome from “The Incredibles.” A tragic figure who wanted to be a superhero, but when he was turned away, decided to go all criminal mastermind. It’s as sad as it entertaining.
But at the same time, pathetic. Because revealing yourself as a self-pitying, butt hurt, cry baby who’s own family loves his chief rival and who would give anything to be friends with his arch nemesis is no way to climb to the top of a villains list. And it’s going to be next level pathetic when Harbaugh buys his own boat and names it One Ring.