Even though the 49ers went to an NFC Championship game and a Super Bowl in Jim Harbaugh's two years as head coach, the media still focuses all attention on his relationship with his brother.
INDIANAPOLIS -- When San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh addressed the media on Friday at Lucas Oil Stadium during the 2013 NFL Combine, I expected the majority of the questions to revolve around his team's great success over the last two seasons and the decision they'll have to make about quarterback Alex Smith. I am so naive.
The media surrounding Harbaugh focused 110 percent of their attention towards their unhealthy obsession with his relationship with his brother, John, the head coach of the Baltimore Ravens. Yes, it is strange to see two brothers face off against each other in the Super Bowl. It makes for some really interesting stories. Harbaugh should expect to talk about his brother but, after more than half of the questions fielded were about his relationship with John, he was obviously getting a little frustrated.
Harbaugh tried as hard as he could to use one-sentence answers and be short when it came to talking about his brother. Asked whether he's talked to John, he said, "Yeah." Asked if they talked about the Super Bowl, he said, "A little bit." When he mentioned that he feels the Super Bowl has made their relationship stronger, someone asked why. Harbaugh simply said, "I don't know."
Asked whether it was easier to lose a game like that to his brother, he looked confused and said, "No, it's not easier."
Eventually, the conversation switched to Colin Kaepernick's work ethic, judging the intangibles of a prospect, truthfulness, using the Super Bowl loss as motivation, and even whether Manti Te'o is draft-able. Inevitably, though, the conversation switched back to his brother.
A reporter asked who reached out when the brothers talked after the Super Bowl.
"Who actually dialed the phone?" Harbaugh asked, obviously somewhat annoyed. "I called him."
Another asked how long it was after the Super Bowl that the two talked.
"A number of days," he said. "A couple of days, two, three days, four days. Something like that."
The NFL is a manlier version of a popular soap opera. While the speed of the game, the excitement of a game-winning touchdown drive and the hard hits reel us in, the drama keeps us around during the offseason. Without it, many NFL fans would go completely insane. It gives football fans something to think about during the long and boring offseason. The combine and draft speculation can only do so much to feed the fire.
Harbaugh likely hasn't heard the last question about his brother. In fact, as long as the two remain head coaches in the NFL, he's probably just seeing the tip of the iceberg. As the two brothers, both successful coaches, continue their careers in the league, the media will continue to focus on the fact that they share the same parents and maybe even shared a bedroom at one point.
That time is long gone, though. Now they're two NFL coaches who work on opposite sides of the country. They probably talk on the phone occasionally and see each other during holidays, in the offseason and on the rare occasions that the two teams face each other.
Unless they play each other in another Super Bowl in the next two seasons, the next time the 49ers and Ravens will play will be in 2015 in San Francisco. Maybe we'll end up calling that game the "Harbowl: Part 2," or the "Brother Bowl."
I'm guessing they'll call it a football game.
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