Jan 162013
O Brother, Where art thou?

O Brother, Where art thou?

The Harbaugh brothers, Jim and John, are each, for the second consecutive year, one step from the Super Bowl. That is pretty, pretty good. No?

It raises the question (though it does not beg it, because begging the question is a philosophical term that has nothing to do with raising a question): Are the Harbaugh brothers to NFL coaching what the Manning brothers are to NFL quarterbacking?

The answer is no. Not yet, anyway. The reason is that the Mannings each have Super Bowl rings. Peyton has one and Eli has two rings.

The second question is this: If both brothers make it past the coming weekend, can we name Super Bowl XLVII the Har-Har Bowl? I know.

It sounds laughable, but these boys are no joke.


John Harbaugh has been head coach in Baltimore for five years. His Ravens have made the conference championship three times. He has won the AFC North three times. And he has compiled an impressive 80-54 record (.675%).

Jim Harbaugh has an even more sparkling record, though a smaller sampling. He has two seasons in San Francisco under his belt. He has won the NFC West both years and his team will compete in the NFC Championship game for a second straight season.

Who are these guys? From whence came they? Like the Mannings, the Harbaughs got it from their daddy. Larry Fine wrote about it for Yahoo Sports:

It is no secret that coaching is in their blood as the Harbaugh brothers grew up watching their father, Jack, operate as a football coach in a 41-year career from the high school level up through the college ranks.

John Harbaugh, the elder brother by 15 months, went straight into coaching after his days as a defensive back at Miami University (Ohio), and eventually graduated from special teams coordinator for the Philadelphia Eagles into the Ravens top job.

Jim Harbaugh went from University of Michigan quarterback to a 15-year NFL career that took him from the Chicago Bears to Indianapolis, Baltimore, San Diego and Carolina.

He moved from the head coaching position at Stanford University, where he guided 2012 top NFL draft pick Andrew Luck, into the 49ers job, following a path taken by former San Francisco coach Bill Walsh.

Jim clearly picked up his unbridled energy and optimism from his father, paying tribute to him at the 2006 news conference announcing his hiring at Stanford.

“I vow I will attack this endeavor with enthusiasm unknown to mankind,” Jim Harbaugh said, echoing the parting words his father delivered to the boys each day before dropping them off at school.

So, which brother will be the first to take that next step to coaching glory?

Both have an uphill road, since their teams will be playing on the road this weekend.

Some would say San Francisco has the better chance, since they are playing in Atlanta and the Falcons, while compiling the NFC’s best record in 2012, remain largely untested. QB Matt Ryan has only one playoff win on his resume. But then, the 49ers are a west coast team, playingin the Eastern Time Zone. History tells us that is not a favorable situation.

The Ravens, some may argue, have the better chance. They are motivated to send Ray Lewis into the NFL sunset with a Super Bowl victory. They have plenty of playoff experience. And they are a long-respected defensive juggernaut. But then, there is the little matter of facing the winningest playoff QB in history, Mr. Tom Brady. And Bill Bellichick is pretty darn good, too. And the Patriots consider any season that ends short of a Super Bowl ring a big disappointment.

No easy road awaits either of the Brothers Harbaugh.

Last season ended for both brothers at this precise spot in the road. The odds would seem to favor at least one of them breaking through this year.

So, who is my money on?

Well, I keep my money in my pocket…or my kids’ education, mortgage, car payments, et al.

But, my prediction is…neither.

Matty Ice vs Tom Brady.

The Har-Har Bowl will have to wait.