SANTA CLARA -- Here's the deal: Seattle coach Pete Carroll is not on Jim Harbaugh's holiday-card list.
The two coaches developed a brief-yet-heated rivalry when Harbaugh came to Stanford and made no secret of his plan to take down the Carroll-coached USC Trojans. Now, the competition has carried over into the NFL, where Harbaugh's 49ers can clinch their second NFC West title in two seasons with a victory Sunday night over the Seahawks. On Wednesday, both men joked about their relationship.
When Harbaugh was asked about the "hallmark" of a Carroll-coached team, Harbaugh deadpanned, "I don't remember getting any cards from him."
When asked if Harbaugh sends a Christmas card to Carroll, Harbaugh answered flatly, "No."
Later, in a conference call with reporters who cover the 49ers, Carroll had a comeback.
"I heard that he didn't get one from us, yet," Carroll said. "I want to go back and check my list and see how that happened. But maybe there will be something coming along before too long. If Jim's not sending a card, that's OK. I understand. We'll try to get one in the mail soon."