By: Malaika Bobino
San Francisco, CA – It’s something out of a story book! Usually you read about this happening with a family whose last name is Manning but that era is over. There’s a new family in town taking over and this time their coaches rather than the players. For the first time in the NFL, two brothers will square off in the Super Bowl.
The two teams that advanced are being led by Jim and John Harbaugh, coaches for the San Francisco Forty-Niners and the Baltimore Ravens. Two different Hollywood stories have captivated millions on both coasts. A veteran player who life has been up and down throughout his NFL career. But he leaves behind many who know he is Hall of Fame bound. A coach only his second year took a gamble that cost one players chance to prove he was worthy.
“It’s a blessing and a curse,” Jim Harbaugh said. “A blessing because that is my brother’s team. And, also personally I played for the Ravens. Great respect for their organization. The curse part would be the talk of two brothers playing in the Super Bowl and that takes away for the players that are in the game. Every moment that you’re talking about myself or John, that’s less time that the players are going to be talked about.”
“I like reading history. I guess it’s pretty neat,” said John Harbaugh. “But is it really going to be written about? It’s not exactly like Churchill and Roosevelt or anything. It’s pretty cool, but that’s as far as it goes.”
Ray Lewis announced his retirement on the last game of the regular season. Little did he know his journey will lead him back to the Super Bowl. Fortunately, for the Ravens each game was about winning as a team, so that’s what they expected. But to America, the greatest player to play the game was leaving a legacy and a memory. How do you ignore that? Impossible… And now that Baltimore has made it to the Super Bowl, the one facilitator that wanted no accolades toward one player is now the victim of a Hollywood story, the head coach.
“Our focus is to play team football,” John explained (when asked if Lewis announcement will impact the team in anyway). “Coaches and players working together to make each other better… That’s been out mantra.”
Younger brother Jim made a daring move in his second year by benching Alex Smith for the younger, more athletic Colin Kaepernick. After suffering having a concussion, Smith had no idea he would lose his starting job to a guy in his second year in the NFL. Kaepernick is living a dream! Except he’s replacing a guy that already paved the way. Alex led the 49ers to the NFC Championship game last year against the New York Giants. So, is it a coincidence that San Francisco made it back to where they were last season. This time the team was led by a different quarterback that did not disappoint.
“I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t bittersweet (when asked about not being the starting quarterback in the Super Bowl),” said Alex. “Yeah, I want to be out there. It’s what you work for coming into the season. That was the mindset. That was the goal for me. But at the same time, it’s a team sport and these are my teammates. If you can’t be happy, there’s something wrong with you.”
Harbugh rolled the dice and beat the odds the entire way. What he didn’t foresee was his brother making it all the way as well. So, how do you not talk about two brothers playing against each other in the Super Bowl? Something like this would only have one name behind it, Manning. But both brothers were eliminated early and a new family name has emerged. Despite both coaches wanting no extra media attention, we all know it’s a HarBowl!