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Which Jim was at fault: Schwartz or Harbaugh?

By Matt Vensel

10:30 AM EDT, October 17, 2011

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Forget the football. That little altercation between Detroit coach Jim Schwartz and San Francisco coach (and former Ravens quarterback and current sibling of John Harbaugh) Jim Harbaugh was the talk of the NFL on Sunday. The two coaches had to be separated after the post-game back slap following the 49ers' victory.

In case your TV is busted and you haven’t heard of YouTube, here’s a rundown: The 49ers won. Jim Harbaugh skipped across the field. Harbaugh slapped Schwartz on the back. Schwartz took umbrage. Carnage ensued.

"I went to congratulate Coach Harbaugh and got shoved out of the way," said Schwartz, who blew a gasket, chased him down the field and bucked into him a couple of times before they were separated. "I didn't expect an obscenity at that point. Obviously, when you win a game like that, you are excited, but there is a protocol."

Added Schwartz: "I'm sure it is on video, and you can see it.”

Of course it is. Here is video of the back slap and here is video of Schwartz’s reaction.

"That's totally on me," Harbaugh said, offering a mea culpa. "I shook his hand too hard."

Football writers across the country (such as this one, this one and this one) are handing out blame in the situation (my two cents: both were at fault). John Harbaugh hadn’t seen the incident Sunday when he was asked to comment on it after the Ravens’ win over the Texans (I can’t wait to hear what he says about it on Monday).

“Jim won [the game], right? Someone went after Jim?” Harbaugh said at the post-game presser. “Let’s put it this way: I’ve been in fights with Jim before, too. I won some early when we were in our childhood career. Then it got slanted the other way for a while. We’ve got one coming up on Thanksgiving night, don’t we?”  

Two brothers getting into a fist fight during one of the Turkey Day games? Now that would be a story.

Anyway, back to Schwartz vs. Jim Harbaugh. It’s your turn to assess blame in the near-brouhaha between two guys with Baltimore ties.

Your turn: Who was at fault in the altercation, and should it be as big of a deal as it is being made out to be?