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Penalty on Harbaugh may have started feud with Schwartz

San Francisco 49ers v Detroit Lions

DETROIT - OCTOBER 16: Jim Harbaugh head coach of the San Francisco 49ers argues with Jim Schwartz of the Detroit Lions during the NFL game at Ford Field on October 16, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. The 49ers defeated the Lions 25-19. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)

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Jim Harbaugh and Jim Schwartz’s altercation heard around the football world may have been inspired by a mistake Harbaugh made in the first quarter Sunday.

After Brandon Pettigrew scored the game’s first touchdown, Harbaugh decided to challenge the play. He was given a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for an illegal challenge. (All scoring plays are automatically reviewed.)

Chris Chase at Yahoo! Sports unearthed the television broadcast of the aftermath, which shows Lions coach Jim Schwartz enjoying the penalty to no end. He strutted up and down the sideline yelling towards the 49ers sideline.

It’s unclear what Schwartz yelled, but it seemed to be about knowing the rules. (Check around the 2 minute mark of the video.) Perhaps that moment caused Harbaugh to be a little more exuberant in his back-slapping at the game’s end.

Florio may disagree, but I enjoy seeing the emotion out of the coaches. It’s an emotional game and great theatre. Harbaugh and Schwartz have a lot in common, which is why their confrontation almost makes sense.

Of course, Harbaugh was the one able to display the most enjoyable emotions after the game.