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Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Guess who had it better than Jim Harbaugh

By Mike Sando

MINNEAPOLIS -- Gate F12 at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport could have been an NFC West coaches' lounge.

Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and assistant head coach/offensive line Tom Cable were among those from the Seattle Seahawks' staff. San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh also was there.

All were connecting through Minneapolis en route to the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis. I was making the same connection, providing an opportunity to authenticate Harbaugh's blue-collar credentials.

First class or coach?

Back in early October, the 49ers were 3-1 following a road sweep over Cincinnati and Philadelphia when coach Harbaugh offered a window into his overall approach.

Harbaugh explained how the 49ers had adopted the mantra his family had used while living modestly during Harbaugh's childhood years. By season's end, fans were wearing T-shirts with the same credo: "Who's got it better than us?"

And in another nod to the no-frills mindset Harbaugh was seeking to establish, the coach confirmed he had given up his first-class seat during a recent team flight, preferring instead to ride in the back. Center Jonathan Goodwin rode in the head coach's chair on the flight back from Philadelphia.

Fast forward to Wednesday.

I happened to be sitting near Harbaugh at Gate F12. Would Harbaugh be sitting up front, sipping Perrier and asking his seatmate to pass the Grey Poupon? Or would Mr. Blue Collar be riding coach, settling for Diet Cokes and peanuts?

Early boarding came and went. Harbaugh remained in the terminal.

First-class boarding was next. Bevell and Cable took their seats up front. Harbaugh stayed put.

Zones 1 and 2 boarded before Harbaugh made his way to the boarding line. He walked through the first-class cabin, acknowledged his coaching rivals and took a seat in the back.

Who had it better than Harbaugh? At least a few people did Wednesday.