As the Super Bowl draws near (it will be played Sunday, in New Orleans, in case you didn’t know because you have been on Mars and just got back), it is evident that the most interesting aspect of the game is that the coaches of the two teams — the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers — are brothers. But as they say in the commercials for non-stick skillets: “Wait, there’s more.”
The father of the two NFL coaches (Jim Harbaugh, 47, of the 49ers and John Harbaugh, 49, of the Ravens) is Jack Harbaugh, 73, who also was a successful football coach, of high school and college teams. And Jack’s wife, Jim’s and John’s mother, is named Jackie. Go figure.
Jim’s and John’s sister, Joani, is married to Tom Crean, coach of the No. 2 rated University of Indiana Hoosiers.
According to Judy Battista, writing in The New York Times, when the Harbaugh clan gathered in Indiana last February, Jim and John showed up and addressed the Indiana Hoosiers, who had just lost an important game, talking to their brother-in-law’s basketballers just as they would talk to their own footballers. The talk must have worked. The Hoosiers went on to make it into the Final Four.
Jackie Harbaugh, who has been married to Jack for 51 years, is known as the executive of the family.
Like a lot of executives, she tries to remain calm and collected, if not cool.
“I am going to be neutral in the game,” she told Mark Gaughan of The Buffalo News. “I know one is going to win and one is going to lose, but I would really like to end in a tie. Can the NFL do that?”
Jack is less subdued. His son John told Gaughan that Jack used to drive his kids to game practices when they were little, then before dropping them off would say, “Okay, men, grab your lunchboxes and attack this day with an enthusiasm UNKNOWN TO MANKIND. And don’t take any wooden nickels.”
Oh, by the way, here’s one more fact: Jim Harbaugh’s oldest son, Jay, works for his uncle John as a Ravens intern. As such, he will be opposing his dad on Super Bowl Sunday.
Now what are the chances of all that happening again anytime soon?
Next year, maybe?