Improving upon the Harbaugh Rule

The NCAA recently enacted the so-called “Harbaugh Rule,” which says that the off-campus training camps former NFL demagogue and current Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh had been holding are now illegal. It’s a bit of a dweeby, pedestrian rule to be named after such a maverick asshole, who works in scowls and insults the way some artists paint with oils and watercolors.

Jim Harbaugh is the kind of guy who would slap the books out of your sister’s hands, make out with your mom, key your dad’s car, then flip you off while he rode away on your bike—all before finally bragging about it on Twitter. A rule named after someone of his sleazy esteem should be reserved for something of nefarious grandeur. He’s a sartorial iconoclast, pigskin enigma, dastardly strategist, and a jerk’s jerk.

Here are a few preferable alternative Harbaugh Rules:

No More Coin Toss! Possession Is Now Determined by a Fistfight with Jim Schwartz



The coin toss is frustratingly arbitrary. You know what else is frustrating? Jim Schwartz’s stupid, smirking face. The hot-headed former Lions head coach simmers with the same volatile, red-cheeked rage as your dad’s alcoholic golf buddy. It’d feel great to smack the grin off that mug. Harbaugh nearly did just that back in 2012, when he and Schwartz almost came to blows during the post-game handshake. Instead of a boring old coin toss, each game now starts off with the coach (or a proxy of his choosing) duking it out with Schwartz. Everybody wins.

Never Spend More Than $9 On Pants


Jim Harbaugh is a multimillionaire. Based on his khakis, you might assume he was laid off six months ago from a Men’s Warehouse outlet store. Harbaugh likes to rock knock-off Dockers with odd-angled pleats that stylishly blend his ass right into the small of his back. When you’re robed in your own self-satisfaction, pants are just a formality. Besides, you need a place to keep your Skoal and your red challenge flag.

We’d Prefer Your Brother


Jimmy H. looks an awful lot like his big bro, John, yet somehow totally different. The beloved head coach of the Baltimore Ravens has soft, round cheeks, an easy smile, and the watery brown eyes of a chagrined beagle. So how does the younger Jim look like an aging falcon with resting bitch beak? This rule dictates that coaches may select one player or staff member from the opposing team and replace him with his nicer, more well-liked brother.

The Antithesis of the Campsite Rule


Remember the old Boy Scout campsite rule? Leave it better than you found it. This iteration of the Harbaugh Rule demands that you leave a place much, much worse than you found it. Tip over the outhouse, throw some jerky around to attract bears, and let the uncontrolled fire smolder next to a pile of dry leaves. Jim Harbaugh left the 49ers like a delinquent renter who knew he was getting evicted and wouldn’t receive his security deposit. They’re still cleaning up the mess years later. And who, exactly, broke this perfectly good Colin Kaepernick?

The Harbaugh Rule (Scientific)


This anomaly of mathematics and quantum pigskin physics transcends sport. It shakes the very foundations of Relativity. In science, the Harbaugh Rule states that even though it seems logically impossible, you actually can make Michigan more loathsome. This rule is not to be confused with the similar Harbaugh Paradox, which poses the unsolvable riddle: Does Michigan make Harbaugh more obnoxious, or does Harbaugh make Michigan more odious?


Bryan Miller is a comedian who is not Dennis Miller’s brother, but would be the more likable one if he was. You should follow him on Twitter.