Sept. 23, 1962, Jackie and Jack Harbaugh became proud parents of their eldest son John. Fifteen months later, they gave birth to a second son, Jim. Both boys would eventually make NFL history as they went head-to-head in Super Bowl XLVII, terming this year’s game the “HarBowl.”
“I’m sure the family dinner that night was a little awkward,” said sophomore Alyssa Gwara. “But they should both be proud of each other at the end of the day.”
Jack made a career of coaching throughout numerous collegiate programs during the Harbaugh sons’ childhood, giving the two an upper hand in both competing and coaching.
“They had an advantage in reference to the knowledge of the game itself, since their livelihoods revolved around the game,” said junior Dustin Holland.
John coached out of the gate, after playing on the University of Miami’s team, accepting an assistant coaching opportunity at Western Michigan University. John remained at the collegiate level for 13 years.
After playing at the University of Michigan, Jim was selected first round in the 1987 NFL Draft. Jim’s achievement led to a 14 year career as the quarterback for four different organizations over his tenure.
The brothers’ professional paths crossed when Jim became the head coach for the San Francisco 49ers in 2011. John had already been serving as the Baltimore Ravens’ head coach for three years.
Jim made an impressive debut as he led the 49ers to the NFC Championship Game and finished the regular season with an astounding 13-3 record. John shared similar success as the Baltimore Ravens finished with a 12-4 record. Unfortunately, they both suffered disappointing ends to their post season play with a loss in the AFC Championship Game.
The defeat of both Harbaughs’ teams in their respective conference championship games would only delay history made on their behalves, since the 49ers and Ravens returned as serious contenders in an impressive 2012-2013 season.
John led Baltimore to obtain their division title with a 10-6 regular season record. Jim did likewise, leading the 49ers to an 11-4-1 regular season record and retaining the division title.
John and Jim’s regular season success carried on through the playoffs. The Ravens and 49ers both had to defeat number one seeds in order to reach Super Bowl XLVII.
“Both of them being brothers made this year’s Super Bowl exciting for me,” Gwara said.
Strategic coaching played a key role in the outcome of the HarBowl. The deficit of only one field goal did not allow much room for error in the deciding finish, but John and his Ravens took the win with a final score of 34-31 in this marquee matchup.
“The fact that John was able to cap off his second trip to the AFC championship game with a Super Bowl title makes the victory even greater,” said Admissions Counselor and alumnus Jesse Tomczak.
The promising future of Jim as a head coach with his elite 49ers roster could bring future Super Bowl victories. But for now, his brother John gets to brag at the dinner table.