Harbaugh brothers face off in Super Bowl XLVII

Posted Sunday, Feb. 03, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

Have more to add? News tip? Tell us

NEW ORLEANS -- Jack Harbaugh introduced the family chant during one of the family's 17 moves in a 43-year coaching career. While trying to raise his three children's spirits after yet another uprooting, Harbaugh shouted out, "Who's got it better than us?"

"Nobody," the entire family answered.

There is truth in that statement today.

Super Bowl XLVII, or The HarBowl as it has come to be known, features Jack Harbaugh's sons on opposite sidelines. It marks the first time brothers have coached against each other on the sport's biggest stage.

"All those millions of people that are parents out there, this is just a fantastic, fantastic experience and really no one has it better than us," Jack Harbaugh said.

John, coach of the Baltimore Ravens, and Jim, coach of the San Francisco 49ers, have done their best this week to keep the focus on their teams, not themselves.

At a joint news conference Friday, a Super Bowl first, the Harbaughs said little of substance. They offered only one story about their upbringing: Once, as teenagers, the boys made a hockey goal out of chicken wire and ended up shooting all the windows out of the garage door.

"Bo Schembechler had two great sayings," Jack Harbaugh said of the former Michigan coach, whom the elder Harbaugh once coached under. "One was, 'If you're going to play in the North Atlantic, you have to practice in the North Atlantic.' The other was 'loose lips sink ships.' They both have subscribed to that philosophy, so no one talks to anyone. Jim is very quiet and guarded, and John is very quiet and guarded. That's exactly the way we want it."

Neither team would be here if not for gutsy decisions the two coaches made mid-season. John fired offensive coordinator Cam Cameron after a loss to the Washington Redskins in December and replaced him with Jim Caldwell. Jim changed quarterbacks after starter Alex Smith was injured Nov. 11 and stuck with Colin Kaepernick even after Smith was cleared to return.

"The way our players have played, that is why we're here, not because of any coaching decisions or any way that we were when we were kids," said Jim Harbaugh, whose 23-year-old son Jay is a coaching intern for the Ravens.

In the six games Caldwell has been coordinator, the Ravens have averaged 26.2 points and 406.5 yards per game. That includes averages of 30 points and 425.3 yards in three postseason games.

"I think a change was needed," Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta said. "I think we hit a plateau as an offense with Cam Cameron, for whatever reason. Cameron's a great coach, but I think we needed a change. It was a bold move to make the change in Week 13 like John did, but it ended up being a great decision for us. Jim [Caldwell] has really got us to play some good football as of late."

But the Harbaughs' uncle, Bob Cipiti, said Jim is the bigger risk-taker of the Harbaugh brothers. Jim Harbaugh showed that by staying with Kaepernick, even though Smith was 6-2-1 in nine starts with a league-leading 104.1 passer rating.

"When [Jim] was at Michigan, what did he do before the Ohio State game? He guaranteed a win, and he got it," Cipiti said. "John is very competitive too, but he is a little more quiet about it."

John arrived to the Friday news conference, the last of the week, dressed in a black suit and tie. Jim wore khakis, his long-sleeve coaching shirt and a 49ers baseball cap, the same way he dressed every day during Super Bowl week.

It said a lot about their personalities.

But the one thing they share, besides parents, is their competitiveness. Jim and John won't go easy on each other today. But when it's all said and won (or lost), they will share a hug, congratulations and condolences.

"We are fiercely loyal," John said. "There is no doubt. We always have been. That's definitely not ever going to change. We will continue to be loyal and protective of one another but also of our teams.

"The band of brothers will be the brothers on the sideline. It will be the Ravens sideline, and it will be the 49ers sideline. That will be the band of brothers in this competition."

One of the Harbaughs will have it better than the other when the confetti falls.

Charean Williams, 817-390-7760

Looking for comments?

We welcome your comments on this story, but please be civil. Do not use profanity, hate speech, threats, personal abuse or any device to draw undue attention. Our policy requires those wishing to post here to use their real identity.

Our commenting policy | Facebook commenting FAQ | Why Facebook?

Friday, September 19Full Scoreboard
Los Angeles «14Final | Box
Chicago Cubs5
Boston2Bottom 4th | Box
Baltimore1@theBallpark | TV: NESN, MASN
Toronto2Bottom 4th | Box
NY Yankees3@theBallpark | TV: SNET, YES
Milwaukee1Bottom 4th | Box
Pittsburgh0@theBallpark | TV: FSN-WI, ROOT-PIT
Washington2Top 4th | Box
Miami1@theBallpark | TV: MASN 2, FSN-FL
Chicago WSox0Top 4th | Box
Tampa Bay2@theBallpark | TV: CSN-CHI, Sun Sports
NY Mets0Top 3rd | Box
Atlanta0@theBallpark | TV: SNY, FSN-S
Arizona0Top 1st | Box
Colorado0@theBallpark | TV: FSN-AZ, ROOT-RM
Seattle0Bottom 1st | Box
Houston0@theBallpark | TV: ROOT-NW, CSN-HOU
Detroit2Top 1st | Box
Kansas City0@theBallpark | TV: FSN-DET, FSN-KC, ESPN 2
Cleveland0Bottom 1st | Box
Minnesota0@theBallpark | TV: STO, FSN-N
Cincinnati0Top 1st | Box
St. Louis0@theBallpark | TV: FSN-OH, FSN-MW
Philadelphia 9/19 9:35 PM ET
Texas 9/19 10:05 PM ET
LA Angels TV: TXA-21, FSN-W, MLB Net
San Francisco 9/19 10:10 PM ET
San Diego TV: CSN-BA, FSN-SD, MLB Net
Full Scoreboard
Friday, September 19Full Scoreboard
No games today
Full Scoreboard
Week 3Full Scoreboard
Tampa Bay14Final | Box
Atlanta «56Gridiron Replay
San Diego 1:00 PM ET
Buffalo TV: CBS
Tennessee 1:00 PM ET
Cincinnati TV: CBS
Baltimore 1:00 PM ET
Cleveland TV: CBS
Green Bay 1:00 PM ET
Detroit TV: FOX
Indianapolis 1:00 PM ET
Jacksonville TV: CBS
Oakland 1:00 PM ET
New England TV: CBS
Minnesota 1:00 PM ET
New Orleans TV: FOX
Houston 1:00 PM ET
NY Giants TV: CBS
Washington 1:00 PM ET
Philadelphia TV: FOX
Dallas 1:00 PM ET
St. Louis TV: FOX
San Francisco 4:05 PM ET
Arizona TV: FOX
Kansas City 4:25 PM ET
Miami TV: CBS
Denver 4:25 PM ET
Seattle TV: CBS
Pittsburgh 8:30 PM ET
Carolina TV: NBC
Chicago 8:30 PM ET
Full Scoreboard
Friday, September 19Full Scoreboard
No games today
Full Scoreboard