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Jobu discusses the Harbaughs and Super Bowl XLVII.

Being that everyone’s talking this topic into the ground already, I was hesitant to write about this for the blog. Everywhere you turn, everyone is talking about the Harbaugh vs. Harbaugh coaching matchup. I’ve seen stories about how they shared a room for 16 years. I’ve seen how they have helped each other through their careers. I’ve seen the whole which brother are the parents rooting for story. I’ve heard the stupid nicknames. I hate both Harbowl and Super Baugh, btw. Can’t we just call it the Real Harbaugh Bowl (I’d say just Harbaugh Bowl, but some idiot called their regular season matchup that already). I’m not sure that I can bring anything original to this story, but here’s my best effort.

Really I just want to talk about how cool this is. Both Harbaugh boys were born in Toledo, Ohio while their dad was an assistant coach at Perrysburgh High School. Despite growing up in the same household, with a father that ended up being a pretty well renown college coach, the paths the Harbaugh sons took to get to Super Bowl XLVII were quite different.

Jim’s pursuit of a professional football career took him to the University of Michigan, where, under legendary coach Bo Schmbechler, he finished in the top five for career attempts, completions, percentage, yards and TDs in Wolverines history. All of his accolades led to being picked in the first round (26th overall) of the 1987 draft by the Chicago Bears. He slotted in as the backup of Chicago legend and known eccentric, Jim McMahon. He never really flourished in Chicago though, at least not like he did in Indianapolis. That’s where he had his best years, was nicknamed “Captain Comeback” and led the Colts to the 1995 AFC Championship game (which the Colts came within a dropped Hail Mary of winning), despite only having a 7-5 record on a 9-7 team. He also made the Pro Bowl and won comeback player of the year for that season. After a few disappointing years, the Colts took Peyton Manning first overall in the 1998 draft, and that ended Harbaugh’s Colts career. He kicked around with the Ravens and Chargers for a couple of years, but called it quits after not being able to get on the field for either the Lions or Panthers in 2001.

Papa Jack, a successful coach on his own, must be very proud. (Nathan Morgan/Daily News)
Papa Jack, a successful coach on his own, must be very proud. (Nathan Morgan/Daily News)

After retiring, he took a QB coach job with the Raiders before being hired by the University of San Diego in 2004. After leading that team to consecutive 11-1 seasons and two Pioneer League titles, he was hired to turn around Stanford University. His biggest win there came in 2007, when he led the 41 point underdog Cardinal to a 24-23 win against perennial powerhouse USC. Harbaugh would lose to USC the following year, but beat them again under Harbaugh in 2009 by a score of 55-21, the most points ever scored against the Trojans. After a couple more years at Stanford, Harbaugh was finally hired to coach the 49ers, which is where we are today.

John, on the other hand, wasn’t a good enough athlete to ever play professionally. While he played college ball at Miami University (the one in Ohio) as a defensive back and even roomed with legendary professional wrestling loose cannon Brian Pillman (R.I.P.), but turned to coaching right after his college career ended. His long road began as an assistant coach for Western Michigan, Morehead State, Cincinnati and Indiana. He was finally hired as a special teams coach by the Philadelphia Eagles, eventually rising to defensive backs coach and staying there for nine seasons. When Jason Garrett turned down the head coaching job of the Ravens in 2008, they turned to John, apparently on a recommendation from now nemesis Bill Belichick. John made the rare jump from positions coach to NFL head coach, and the transition was pretty seamless. He’s done nothing but win (except for the big one) since arriving in Baltimore, and that’s how he got to where we are today.

Anyway, I can only imagine how proud Jack Harbaugh is right now. I saw an interview with him on HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel in which he teared up at the thought that he had raised two boys that had no only ended up doing what he did for a living, but they did it even better than he ever could. His two boys are better than him, indeed, and they’re about to play each other in the Super Bowl, which is something that has never been done before by brothers, and may never be done again… at least by another set of brothers.

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Martin Stezano

About Martin Stezano

Uruguayan born and American raised with a unique perspective on the domestic and international sports scenes. It will both tickle your funny bone and enlighten your mind. Love it or hate it...just read it.

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