Wednesday December 4th, 2013

49ers coach Jim Harbaugh also appeared on the cover of SI alongside his brother prior to Super Bowl XLVII. 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh also appeared on the cover of SI alongside his brother prior to Super Bowl XLVII. (Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

Jim Harbaugh is just trying to win. Remember that the next time he comes off as a jerk.

Sports Illustrated senior writer Austin Murphy profiles the 49ers' fiery head coach in this week's issue of SI, detailing the ways in which Harbaugh is "softer" and "saner" than you think.

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"Since becoming an NFL head coach, Harbaugh has walled off that calm side of himself when dealing with the public. His demeanor during press conferences is often defensive, adversarial," Murphy writes. "When asked about his attitude, Harbaugh explained, ‘I’m not trying to be a jerk. It’s just I’m more serious about winning, you know?"

Murphy also chronicles Harbaugh's unlikely source of inspiration: Piura, a northern city in Peru.

"Every year Harbaugh is startled anew by the abject poverty in Piura. Every year he is inspired anew -- 'transformed,' he says -- by the joy and generosity of the locals, in the face of that poverty," writes Murphy. "'Something I learned down there,' Harbaugh says. 'They believe it's a sin to give in to discouragement, to give up hope.'" The 49ers, 8-4, host the Seattle Seahawks, 11-1, in a crucial NFC West matchup on Sunday.

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