Welcome to the Harbowl

It’s already one for the history books

Super Bowl XLVII is already a historic match-up, and the coin hasn’t even been tossed yet. That’s because, as every football fan in the world knows, John and Jim Harbaugh are the first sibling head coaches to meet in the Super Bowl. It’s an accomplishment that’s unlikely to reoccur anytime soon unless they themselves do it again sometime in the future.

And to think that when they were kids they shared a bedroom. Who could have known?

Of course, football is in their blood. Their father, Jack Harbaugh, was an assistant under the University of Michigan’s legendary coach Bo Schembechler, whose great rival for most of the 1970s was the equally legendary Woody Hayes, head coach at Ohio State. These were great old-school coaches, and to this day the Harbaugh brothers credit them with providing the foundation of their very similar coaching styles.

Both men come into the game with outstanding records. Since becoming the Baltimore Ravens’ coach in 2008, John Harbaugh has taken the team to the playoffs every year, twice getting to the AFC championship game but losing both times. And in the two years since Jim Harbaugh took over a struggling San Francisco 49ers team, he has led it to the playoffs twice. In the 2011 NFC championship game, the Niners narrowly lost in overtime to the New York Giants, 20-17. The Associated Press named Harbaugh the NFL coach of the year.

Sunday’s game is not just about winning the biggest single athletic contest in the country. Yeah, that’s important, but you’ve got to figure the real fight here is over bragging rights at future Harbaugh family Thanksgiving dinners.

Which reminds us: These two teams and coaches have met before, in a Thanksgiving Classic game in 2011 that Baltimore won, 16-6. Revenge will be sweet.