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John Harbaugh draws criticism for tense halftime interview with Brent Harris

So by now, it seems the biggest takeaway from the Ravens' 31-13 loss to the Redskins on Saturday has nothing to do with the game. Instead, people (or at least denizens of the Twitterverse) seem fixated on John Harbaugh's rudeness to halftime interviewer Brent Harris.

For those who didn't see, Harbaugh got annoyed when Harris asked about an apparent shouting match with Redskins coach Jay Gruden. He then gave a curt response to a question about his team's futility in two-minute situations and concluded "give me a good question and I'll be glad to answer it."

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By Sunday morning, Harbaugh's performance had made the national rounds, with Richard Deitsch of Sports Illustrated tweeting that it was "not a good look for the Ravens or the NFL." 

Harris is a good guy, and I felt bad for him in the moment. His questions were the questions many viewers would have posed. Anyone who's covered professional sports has stumbled into a tense interview with an unreceptive subject, and it never becomes fun.

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It's part of an NFL head coach's job to be the face of his team, even in unpleasant moments. Harbaugh knows this and handles it with reasonably good humor more often than not. He can be prickly with the reporters who cover the team regularly, but he's not a persistent pain to interview like some of his peers.

He was petty with Harris, and my guess is he recognized this if he watched the replay.

That said, I see plenty of hypocrisy in the mini-tempest over the interview. It made me think of all the cute features I've read about Gregg Popovich's difficult halftime interviews and all the chortles I've heard over Bill Belichick's absurdly blank responses to media inquiries.

We love to celebrate coaches for their bullyish tendencies and then scold them in the next breath. We carp about how useless mid-game interviews are until it's more convenient to talk about them like they're sacrosanct.

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As usual, we want to have it both ways.

Look, coaches are used to ruling their domains. A lot of them don't care to be questioned at tense moments. This isn't going to change.

If we agree that it's good entertainment to force them into these situations and occasionally watch them react boorishly, fine. If we instead opt to dispose of halftime interviews because they're generally inane, that's also fine.

What we shouldn't do is feign outrage every time one of these interviews delivers the uncomfortable behavior it's pre-destined to induce.

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