NEW ORLEANS — Spent most of my postgame podium time listening to 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh after his team lost, 34-31, to the Ravens in Super Bowl XLVII.
And he spent most of his time complaining about the calls that he felt went against his team in the second half.
Harbaugh didn’t have much time to talk about how there were no read-option plays in the final four plays from the Raven’s 7-yard line, or how running back Frank Gore got zero touches despite having 81 yards on eight carries in the second half and plenty of time to run the ball.
I’ll have more on that in my Monday’s story, but here are some of Harbaugh’s comments, which started out with, “I really want to handle this with class and with grace…” and then he failed to do so.
Harbaugh thought there should have been flags on the second- and fourth-down throws to Michael Crabtree against Corey Graham, and then Jimmy Smith.
“Yes, there’s no question in my mind that there was pass interference and then a hold [against] Crabtree on the last one,” Harbaugh said in remarks that are sure to be looked at the league, who have made criticism of officials a fineable offense. “On the second down play I thought the defender played through [Crabtree]. Early contact, before the ball got to Michael. And then on fourth down, felt like he was grabbed and held.
“There was no explanation [from the officials].”
There were other calls, though, that Harbaugh complained about: the no-call on Ravens receiver Torrey Smith when cornerback Chris Culliver appeared to be in position to intercept the pass, and the pass interference on Cullver that extended the Ravens’ final scoring drive on third and 9.
“I didn’t think that was interference on Chris,” Harbaugh said.
“I realize I’m the coach of the 49ers. I’m probably have some bias there. In my mind I wouldn’t be bringing it up if in my mind I thought it was obvious. But that’s not the way they saw it. But that’s the only reason I bring it up.”
Then he brought it up when asked about why quarterback Colin Kaepernick didn’t find his groove early on.
“I thought he made good throws the entire game,” Harbaugh said. “One that got a little high. He just led a fourth-quarter comeback. In my opinion, that series should have continued.”
That last line was delivered with a laugh of disbelief.
But when asked why Gore didn’t touch the ball on the final sequence, “We had other plays called,” was all Harbaugh could muster.