Sports Analysis by Stan Bunger & Steve Bitker
SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — “What’s your deal?” Thus did Pete Carroll greet Jim Harbaugh after Stanford’s 2009 butt-whipping of USC. In case Harbaugh’s hearing was faulty, Carroll repeated his question.
And in case Carroll didn’t get the point, Harbaugh responded, “What’s your deal?”
Carroll was ticked because Harbaugh ordered Stanford to go for a two-point conversion after its 7th touchdown of the day. The USC coach apparently felt Stanford might be pouring it on a bit.
Um, yes. They were pouring it on that November day. It’s the way Harbaugh runs things: in your face, right at you. His Cardinal had a chance to make a statement against Big Bad USC, and he wasn’t going to miss that chance.
We didn’t get the chance to see how a Carroll-coached USC team would respond when next it met Stanford, because by the time Stanford nipped USC on a game-ending field goal in the tightest game of Stanford’s magical 2010 season, Carroll was coaching the Seattle Seahawks of the NFL.
Don’t bet that Carroll has forgotten. And now that Harbaugh has ended the Great Wooing of 2011 by hiring on with the 49ers, get ready for an even more delicious rivalry. As divisional foes, the 49ers and Seahawks will face each other twice each year.
We may never know what Harbaugh’s “deal” was (or Carroll’s either, for that matter), but this rivalry is a great deal for football fans. Love or despise Carroll or Harbaugh, nobody can accuse either of being colorless or boring. They’re both good for football, a game that thrives on passion and energy.
Bring it on!
(Copyright 2011 by CBS Radio. All Rights Reserved.)