You could tell the love that Jack and Jackie Harbaugh have for their children when someone asked, "Is it true you like Jim more than John?" In the beat it took for the Harbaughs to recognize the voice of their older son, John, you could feel tension and the Harbaugh’s anger that anyone would dare suggest they value one of their children over another.
If you are just waking up from a coma or visiting a sports website for the first time in your life, you might not know that the Harbaugh brothers are the two head coaches in the upcoming Super Bowl (it is the game in which the best two football teams play for the championship). Yes, 50-year-old John coaches the Baltimore Ravens and 49-year-old Jim coaches the San Francisco 49ers.
The fact that the two are brothers facing off is a storyline we will hear repeatedly leading up to the game. That unique story is going to bring the entire Harbaugh family into the public eye. Obviously the family, both parents and sister Joani, will remain neutral, a stance they maintained during a media conference call on Thursday.
Jack refused to even mention any differences between his sons, saying "to make a comparison demeans one or the other." Instead he chooses to look at their similarities, saying that both share a passion for their family and work.
This will be the second time the family will watch the two brothers go at it head-to-head, with the first being Thanksgiving of last year. John and the Ravens were the victors that day in Baltimore, defeating the 49ers 16-6. Obviously the stakes are much bigger this time around, but many of the emotions for the family will be the same.
The Thanksgiving game was a unique experience for the Harbaugh parents as they got to see one son win and another son lose at the same time. Jack said, "Jackie was nearly comatose the whole game," and did not speak a word. After the game they visited the two locker rooms and could feel the disparity in emotion.
Still, when that game was over, and when this Super Bowl ends, Jackie maintains, "at the the end of the game, it's still about family and your feelings for one another."