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May 30, 2024

Brotherly Love: Super Bowl XLVII

By FRANK SCHIFF | January 31, 2013

Super Bowl XLVII guarantees to be unique.  The most immortal game in American sports will feature two brothers, John and Jim Harbaugh, born 15 months apart, pitted against each other as head coaches. Let’s just call it, the Super Baugh.

Just imagine the odds.  Two brothers growing up in the same room together, tailing their father Jack, a longtime college coach to the football field throughout childhood, sharing the same dream: to one day be a head coach themselves, just like their father, leading their team to the championship. And now, at age 49 and 50, dream has evolved to reality on the most grandiose stage.

The younger son, Jim Harbaugh, in only his second year as head coach of the San Francisco 49ers, is known for a competitive fire and ruthless zeal that can come across as borderline barbaric. In need of evidence? Look no further than the school-yard tantrum thrown during the Conference Final game in Atlanta, after Jim lost a challenge.

Conversely, John Harbaugh, in his fifth year as head coach of the Baltimore Ravens, is noted for his self-effacing personality and poise.

Yet truly, both dynamic men are more similar than different.

Each has become a marquee coach in the NFL. John has won a playoff game in each of his first five seasons with the Ravens — a feat that is as prodigious as it is unheard of. Meanwhile, Jim rose to glory as a head coach on the college level after taking a lackluster Stanford program and swiftly morphing them into a perennial powerhouse. Last year, Jim’s first as a head coach in the NFL, he took an underachieving Niners team and lead them to the NFC title game. Ultimately coming within two special teams’ turnovers of a Super Bowl birth.

More currently, this season, both brothers made dauntless decisions that most head coaches remain too fearsome to make.

At the season’s halfway mark, Jim made the highly controversial decision to bench quarterback Alex Smith — the leader of last years NFC title appearance, who was currently in the midst of another career year — for unproven, second-year quarterback, Colin Kaepernick.

Similarly John, after a Dec. 9, 31-28 overtime loss to the Redskins, fired close friend and offensive coordinator Cam Cameron and replaced him with previous quarterback coach Jim Caldwell, who had never before called a play in the NFL.

Suffice to say, both daring moves turned out super. Come this Sunday only one Harbaugh will hoist the Lombardi Trophy.

Think you can predict which brother it will be? Well that’s just a bunch of BAUGHH!


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