Like most kids, John and Jim Harbaugh grew up dreaming about the Super Bowl.
But even in their wildest imagination, it would have been hard to predict this scenario.
With the Ravens and 49ers advancing to play in Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans on Feb. 3, the two coaches will make history by becoming the first sibling head coaches to ever face off in the Super Bowl.
“I don’t know if we had a dream this big,” John said after Sunday’s 28-13 victory over the New England Patriots. “We had a few dreams, a few fights. We had a few arguments. Just like all brothers.”
When the Ravens and 49ers faced off last Thanksgiving, it was the first time in NFL history that two brothers had even gone against each other as head coaches. Putting them on the Super Bowl stage takes that matchup to a whole new level.
“It’s exciting, man,” outside linebacker
Before the Ravens took the field against the Patriots, John already knew that his younger brother had taken down the Falcons, 28-24, to set the stage for the Harbaugh Bowl. John admitted that he was watching the fourth quarter of the game during warmups on the video boards at Gillette Stadium.
After the game, John praised his brother for taking the 49ers to the Super Bowl in just his second NFL season.
“[I] couldn’t be more proud of Jim,” John said. “Watching that team play, they do reflect his personality. They have a great staff. They’re physical players, man. They run the ball, they throw the ball, they have a quarterback that’s throwing the ball all over the place. They’ve got a rough-house defense. There’s a reason they are in the Super Bowl. Love the way they play.”
The Ravens won the first matchup between the Harbaugh brothers, taking down the 49ers, 16-6, in Baltimore. The Ravens and 49ers both ended up advancing to their conference title games last season, but they both came up just short of advancing from there.
With another opportunity this year, they both finished the job and put the Harbaugh family on the biggest stage of sports.
It will be a moment of tremendous pride for the Harbaugh parents, Jack and Jackie, who will also have to deal with the anxiety of knowing that one of their sons will have to come out as the loser.
“They’ll be OK,” John said. “My mom and dad are tough; they’ll be fine. It will be a great week.”
The Harbaugh storylines will undoubtedly dominate the headlines for the next two weeks, but John is already trying to shift the focus to his players and the game.
“We’ll try to stay out of that business; we’ll let the two teams duke it out as much as possible,” John said.
He even joked that no more attention should be paid to the sibling storyline.
“Let’s just cut that right out,” John said with a smile. “Can we all agree? Just forget about that stuff. We did that last year, OK? It was fine. It got old last year.
Let’s move past that and let’s talk about the two teams.”