The Harbaugh Handshake — it’s the mysterious wild card of the NFL. Like the old cereal boxes with prizes inside, when a Harbaugh goes to shake hands after a football game you never know what you’re going to get. Jim Harbaugh is a repeat offender of the handshake law, and he’s managed to violate said law at two different levels of football.
His brother Jim is not a whole lot better, but he tends to be more subtle about his interactions at mid-field. That was until Sunday’s loss to the Steelers when Harbaugh and Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin shared an awkward handshake following a gutsy win by the Charlie Batch led Steelers.
During the incident in question, Tomlin jogged over to Harbaugh, grazed his hand and then went to take off to his victorious locker room. But like every cheesy romantic movie in human existence, Harbaugh held onto Tomlin’s hand, wouldn’t let go and pulled him back. What he said wasn’t anything Tom Hanks has said to a mermaid in the past (this Splash reference doing anything for you).
Instead Harbaugh told Tomlin that he wasn’t about to be ignored. That’s almost a direct quote too, Harbaugh wasn’t happy about losing and he was doubly unpleased about getting a half-assed handshake after an emotional game.
Harbaugh was likely letting out aggression and anger rather than genuinely being heartbroken Tomlin didn’t want to play footsie at mid-field, but it was still really awkward. It was so awkward because we really couldn’t hear what was said at first and out last image of the game was Harbaugh yanking Tomlin back to him.
At this point, we’re used to Harbuagh’s trying to start stuff after game, but we were holding out hope that the handshake chromosome was only missing from one of the brothers. Jim still takes the cake with both his interaction with Pete Carroll when the two were at USC and Stanford, plus there was the quasi-brawl with Lions head coach Jim Schwartz.
This wasn’t on the same level, but maybe we should just let the Harbaugh’s skip the post-game handshake.