Harbaugh Bowl or not, the Bowdens are football's true family

Ronald Martinez

What happens the next time the Harbaughs coach against each other in the Super Bowl? The Bowden Brothers have to band together instead of asking what could have been.

We've heard plenty about Jim and John Harbaugh in Super Bowl 47. The Harbowl has given us plenty of thoughts and jokes about family and football. But lost in the midst of the triumph are those football families who may never get that chance. The Bowdens used to be football's first family, but years in the future when the Harbaughs coach against each other again and Bobby Bowden has left us, the Bowden Brothers will have to make a choice: stay together or let envy and the past tear them apart.

Harbowl was inevitable || Super Bowl 47 story lines besides the Harbaughs

THE HASH MARKS

EXT. PARK, DAY

Old, rusted playground equipment arbitrarily placed. It is an overcast day. Two men, brothers, are sitting side by side at a swingset. There is one empty swing. What used to be a fourth swing has only chains. No seat.

The two men, TOMMY (left) and TERRY (right) are taking turns sipping from something in a paper bag. Upon closer examination, it is a three-pound can of Hi-C Ecto Cooler with a hole punched out of the top.

Tommy swings slowly, his feet dragging on the ground.

TOMMY:

Did you hear?

TERRY:

What about?

TOMMY:

The game. Those brothers. They did it. They're coaching against each other again.

TERRY:

Must not have noticed. Been busy. Northeast Ohio winters. They'll freeze the words while they're still in your breath.

TOMMY:

It could have been us.

Tommy grabs the paper bag, tilting his head back to get a longer gulp.

TERRY:

Don't start on that again. We've been through this. The past is the past. We're here now. Daddy is gone. There's nothing else we could have done.

TOMMY:

That's bullshit, Ter. If only...

TERRY:

It's time to get over it. It was time a long time ago. You don't think I think about that too? I studied at Oxford. It was all there for me. For both of us. All we have is now. And family. That's all we've ever had.

Terry gets up from the swing and walks to an oak tree covering the playground in shade.

TERRY:

You know something, Tom? This tree would make one hell of a defensive end.

TOMMY:

You ever heard of a tree playing football?

TERRY:

Reckon there isn't a rule against it.

TOMMY:

Maybe you're onto something.

INT: HOUSE LIVING ROOM, NIGHT

The two men are sitting on a corduroy couch, glasses of milk in front of them on a wooden coffee table. A third man, JEFF, is in an armchair. He lights a cigarette and takes a drag, setting it into a crowded ashtray.

Jeff stands.

JEFF:

Are we just going to sit here all night?

TOMMY:

What the hell else do you want us to do?

JEFF:

I just can't take this. You guys bum me out. It's all this forlorn nonsense all the damned time. Why are you even here, Tommy? You have a wife and kids. Go be with them. Get ice cream or something. I don't know. I'm just so tired of seeing you two over here, talking about the old days, about Diddy, about the game. I have a life, too. Maybe I've got big plans tonight. You ever think about that? Maybe Cindi and I would like a night to ourselves without you two drinking up all the milk, wearing holes in my furniture.

TOMMY:

Jeff, come on now. Don't overreact-

JEFF:

No. No. I'm not going to sit here and listen to this again. You don't think I'd like things to be different? That 30-0 game changed my life. I could have blamed everyone. Blamed Diddy, blamed Grobe, blamed Xavier. But at the end of the day, you can bet on red or black, and the roulette wheel spins, but we're the ones who decide to play. It's just another spin. Diddy wouldn't have let this dadgum pity party last this long.

Tommy finishes his glass and slams it on the table.

TOMMY:

I'm going for a walk.

He exits.

TERRY:

You don't understand. You never understood, Jeff. You gotta take it easy on Tommy. He took it harder than any of us did. I'm worried about him. Ever since he and Dabo had that fight outside Huddle House, I just don't know.

JEFF:

We'd better go get him. I'll tell Cindi to go on to bed. You guys can stay as late as you need to.

TERRY:

Wait, you guys got anything to eat? I'm starved. I can't leave yet.

JEFF:

We ate a half hour ago.

TERRY:

Okay, then. I'm half-starved.

JEFF:

There's probably some Chex Mix in the fridge. You know what Diddy always said, Chex Mix is party in a bowl.

EXT. PARKING LOT, NIGHT

A single street light provides enough light to show two cars and Tommy pacing between them. He is visibly upset. He picks up a large piece of gravel in the lot, hurling it haphazardly into the darkness.

TOMMY:

That should've been us, do you hear me? That should've been us. We were a tree with roots stronger than any other. And of all the families, the Harbaughs made it instead. They don't deserve it. They didn't put in what we put in. The years, the hours, the history. We were supposed to stick together. Why did it fall apart? Why? We're the dadgum Bowdens.

Tommy sits crosslegged on the ground, a Fruitopia clutched tightly to his chest. He hurls the bottle at one of the cars. The bottle smashes on the side, setting off an alarm. Two individuals, Terry and Jeff, approach as if through a strobe behind the backdrop of the flickering car alarm lights. Terry is carrying a turkey leg.

Tommy puts his head in his hands.

He cries.

TERRY:

It's going to be okay, Tommy.

JEFF:

Even if we lose everything else, man, we'll always have each other. We're Bowdens.

TERRY:

Yeah, we're effing Bowdens.

Tommy raises to his feet, stumbling a bit. He stands tall. Terry puts his arm around Tommy, patting him on the back, while taking a bite of the succulent bird leg. A small piece falls out.

Tommy smirks. Jeff and Terry laugh.

TOMMY:

Let's go home.

Look through SB Nation's many excellent college football blogs to find your team's community.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.