Super Bowl, the grand finale of the American National Football League season that pits the winner of the American Football Conference (AFC) against the winner of the National Football Conference (NFC), is the biggest sporting event in the country. The game that takes place annually on the first Sunday of February, draws more than 110 million television viewers from not just the US, but also, many other parts of the world. This year's event is expected to be even more exciting because for the first time in the game's history the coaches of the competing teams, John Harbaugh and Jim Harbaugh, also happen to be brothers!
Born in Toledo, Ohio to Jack and Jacqueline Harbaugh, the siblings who are just 15 months apart, grew up playing, watching and breathing football thanks to their dad who was first a player, and then a coach for various high schools and universities. It was, therefore, no surprise to anyone when both chose the game for their full-time career.
John the older of the two is a veteran coach. Though he has never played the sport himself, he has an enviable record of being the only head coach in NFL history to win a playoff game every season, since joining the Baltimore Ravens in 2008. In addition to that he has also guided the team to three AFC Championship games - 2008, 2011 and of course this year, when they are heading all the way to the Super Bowl! His philosophy is that the game is all about teamwork and likes to play tough, fast, physical and most important of all, smart!
Jim Harbaugh comes to the game from a very different perspective. Unlike his brother, he spent 14 years as an NFL quarterback with various teams, including a year with the Baltimore Ravens. During his storied career he racked up 26,288 passing yards, and 129 touchdown passes. His incredible record has placed him in the top 50 in two NFL categories - completions (41st) and pass attempts (45th). What's even more impressive is that his coaching career began while he was still playing in the NFL. From 1994-2001, Jim convinced Jack Harbaugh to take him on as his unpaid assistant coach for the Western Kentucky University team.
Hence it was only natural that upon retiring from the NFL, Jim decided to get into the family 'business' of coaching. Here too, his record has been stellar. As head coach of Stanford University, the position he held just before joining the San Francisco 49ers, Jim led the Cardinals through one of the biggest turnarounds in the school's history. He seems to have worked the same magic on the 49ers. In 2012, just a year after he began coaching, the team went to its first NFC championship game since 1998 - This year, they are going all the way to the Super Bowl!
So what do the two stellar brothers think about the media hoopla surrounding them? Both have only one thing to say - Can we all please focus on the teams! As for what Jack Harbaugh, the man who introduced the love of the sport will say to his sons if they happen to call him for advice on strategy? What he has always told them - 'Get ahead and stay ahead!'!
We sure wonder which one of them will be able to follow this advice all the way to win the coveted Vince Lombardi trophy - Either way, Super Bowl XLVII is guaranteed to be a nail-biter. We for one cannot wait to see the February 3rd matchup of Harbaugh vs. Harbaugh . . . Oops! We meant Baltimore Ravens Vs. San Francisco 49ers!
Resources: sports.yahoo.com,woodtv.com, ibtimes.com