Jim Harbaugh is arguably among the top five coaches in the NFL. His transformative work with the San Francisco 49ers last season was no fluke. Harbaugh is inventive, a master motivator and just a little bit obsessed with scattering the competition.
He's also underpaid.
We have a few issues with Forbes' list of the highest-paid coaches in sports for 2012, and here's one of them: Harbaugh is the lowest-paid coach in the NFC West.
St. Louis Rams coach Jeff Fisher ($7 million), Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll ($7 million) and the Arizona Cardinals' Ken Whisenhunt ($5.8 million) all top Harbaugh, who signed a five-year, $25 million contract in 2011, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
(Let's be real: None of these men recall the inviting/despairing smell of Ramen noodles wafting from the next room.)
Harbaugh won't lose sleep over greenbacks. The man drives a ramshackle blue pickup; owns a limited, modest wardrobe; and doesn't talk about his earnings. As you read this, he is tucked away in a dark room, with last season's NFC Championship Game on loop, searching for answers. Let the rest of the division prance about town with their fat wallets and steak dinners. Harbaugh is burning the midnight oil, probably irritated with somebody, drawing plays on napkins, late for a meal: Totally unsatisfied with what happened last season.