Let the ‘Har-Bowl’ hype begin
BY VIC TAFUR San Francisco Chronicle January 21, 2013 12:40PM
FILE - In this Nov. 24, 2011 file photo, Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh, left, and his brother, San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh, talk with their father, Jack, right, before their NFL football game in Baltimore. The Harbaughs, San Francisco's Jim and Baltimore's John, will be the first pair of brothers to coach against each other in the NFL title game. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)
Updated: January 21, 2013 2:40PM
ATLANTA — Niners tackle Joe Staley said the happiest people besides Jack and Jackie Harbaugh about the upcoming “Har-Bowl” are reporters.
“It’s great for you guys,” Staley said. “It’s fun to write about.”
Jim and John Harbaugh coached against each other last season, to endless hype and hoopla, in what was the first time in NFL history that two brothers met as head coaches.
Now the 49ers’ head coach and Ravens’ head coach will square-jaw off against the other in the Super Bowl on Feb. 3, after San Francisco beat Atlanta and Baltimore beat New England in the NFL conference championship games Sunday.
The 49ers opened as 4-1/2-point favorites in the Las Vegas sports books.
“(I’m) overcome with extreme pride for both of them,” younger sister Joani Crean told Yahoo! Sports. “(I) can’t describe my feelings beyond that. I have two incredible brothers.”
CBS showed John Harbaugh telling the cameras a congratulatory message for his brother after the 49ers beat the Falcons, as John was on the field for warm-ups before the AFC game.
After the game, John Harbaugh was already tired of the brother angle.
Let’s “cut (all the Har-Bowl talk) right now,” he said. Move past that and talk about the two teams.
“Two great football teams squaring off. I can’t wait.”
John and the Ravens beat the 49ers 16-6 in Baltimore on Thanksgiving night 2011. (The NFL Network drew 10.7 million viewers for that game, the largest audience in its history.)
Recently, Jim Harbaugh told Comcast SportsNet that his brother is the best coach in the league, saying, “I’m half the coach he is.”
Jim Harbaugh was asked last week if the brothers had ever talked about facing each other in the Super Bowl.
“If we have, we’d never admit it,” he told reporters.
For Jim Harbaugh, this will be his first Super Bowl as either a player or coach. John was an assistant coach with the Philadelphia Eagles when they made the Super Bowl in the 2004 season.
The two brothers, with John 50 years old and 15 months older than Jim, talk on the telephone multiple times a week and mail game videos to their father, a longtime college coach, so he can offer pointers.
The Harbaughs are probably getting a kick out of how Sunday’s wins mark the first time both road teams won conference championship games since the 1997 season.
The Ravens are making their first appearance in the Super Bowl since the 2000 season, when they won it, and are 13-7 all-time in playoffs. That .650 winning percentage is the best in NFL history.
San Francisco is making its sixth Super Bowl appearance. The team is 5-0 in those games. No other franchise with more than one appearance has an undefeated record in the game.