By Jesse Thomas
Brothers Jim and John Harbaugh will make history this Sunday in New Orleans, becoming the first brother combination to face off in a Super Bowl championship — a first for any major North American pro-sport championship.
For this reason NFL fans are referring to Super Bowl XLVII as the Har-Bowl, or the Harbaugh bowl, and even the Super-Baugh.
But this isn’t the first time the brothers have faced off as NFL head coaches. John, 50, head coach of the Baltimore Ravens defeated his brother Jim, 49, and the San Francisco 49ers 16-6 last season in a Thanksgiving Day match.
The Harbaugh parents have been the most talked about parents in the U.S. this week and their father, Jack, a former college football coach, and mother, Jackie, said last year’s game was a dry run for the Super Bowl. They said they’ll be cheering equally for both teams.
“There’s going to be one winner and there is going to be one that’s totally disappointed,” said Jack in an NFL press conference Thursday.
“There’s the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. And on Sunday night were going to feel both of those great emotions,” he said. “And our thoughts go to the one that will not experience the thrill of victory.”
The brothers shared the stage with their parents Thursday for a press conference to answer questions from the media. John spoke about “the band of brothers” on the sideline and emphasized the difference betweeen their relationship on and off the field.
“It’s not really about how we’re going to feel,” John told reporters. “Every coach, every player, everybody in the organization, when you win, it’s jubilation and when you lose, it’s just bitter disappointment. So much goes in it, and it will be no different in this game.”
At the end of the day there can only be one winner and loser and as the football cliché goes, “defence wins championships” and both teams have relied heavily on that strategy to get them this far.
“Our defence has been exceptional for us,” Jim said at the press conference. “There is always the feeling they (defence) can will a turnover and make it happen.”
Baltimore linebacker Ray Lewis has announced he’ll retire after this Sunday’s game — a move that may rally and inspire his team to push even harder for a championship.
But there was a twist to Lewis’s story this week, when a reporter speculated that Lewis had used deer antler spray, which contains a banned substance to help speed his recovery from a torn triceps. Lewis brushed off the allegation.
“I’ve never ever took what he said. The guy has no credibility and has been sued four times already,” said Lewis at a press conference Wednesday.
The biggest story for San Francisco has been the play of quarterback Colin Kaepernick who came in mid-season when starting quarterback Alex Smith suffered a concussion. 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh faced a lot of criticism for staying with Kaepernick when Smith was healthy and fit to play, but the move has paid off for Harbaugh who now looks like a genius for making the difficult decision to go with the young quarterback.
Kaepernick is a double threat. He is dangerous on his feet and can run the ball but can also sit in the pocket and hurt you with his arm. Kaepernick was scouted as baseball pitcher and turned down scholarship offers to focus on football.
Raven’s quarterback Joe Flacco is not as flashy as his counterpart but is calm and cool under pressure and has pulled out some big play late. The combination of Flacco and his go to wide receiver Anquan Boldin has been tough for opposing teams to stop.
As the game nears, more stories unfold. The Super Bowl is expected to draw over 110 million viewers and New Orleans, best known for its Mardi Gras will be party central.