Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Harbaugh bros take stage together

Normally, the opposing Super Bowl coaches do Friday news conference, one after the other at the media center, the final media event before the game Sunday.

Harbaugh bros take stage together

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San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh and Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh participate in a news conference for the NFL Super Bowl XLVII football game Friday, Feb. 1, 2013, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh and Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh participate in a news conference for the NFL Super Bowl XLVII football game Friday, Feb. 1, 2013, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

NEW ORLEANS --- Normally, the opposing Super Bowl coaches do Friday news conferences, one after the other at the media center, the final media event before the game Sunday.

This Friday was different, and it highlighted the way in which this Super Bowl is different from any of the previous 46. Ravens coach John Harbaugh, in suit and tie, sat in a folding chair on a stage a few feet from his brother, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh, who was dressed in 49ers practice gear.

One more time, they discussed what they've been asked about all week, in their separate sessions -- growing up together, how they're alike, how they're differerent. Their parents, Jack and Jackie, watched from the wings, along with a 97-year-old grandfather, Joe.

They were funny and engaging. They did a schtick on questions asked of both of them in which one brother would answer at length, and the other would say, "I concur."

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But underneath the banter, there was discomfort. As great a story as the first brother vs. brother Super Bowl is, both coaches would rather the game not be so much about the Harbaughs as about the players, who are ultimately going to decide it.

As John Harbaugh said, in answering a question about things the brothers have said to one another over the past few years that might have unwittingly provided one with an edge -- "it's going to be the guys out there on the field, faces marred with blood and sweat and dust, those'll be the guys who will determine the outcome of this game, nothing that we talked about over the last couple of years is going to determine the outcome."

Before that, in response to a different question, Jim said: "The way the players have played, that's why we're here, not because of any coaching decisions, or what we did as kids."

They reminisced about building a hockey goal out of chicken wire and shooting the windows out of the garage, drawing their mother's ire, in talking about what they'd learned from her.

"She made it very clear we were to have each others' backs," John said.

"She's always believed in us," Jim said.

Staff Writer
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