No matter how weary of "Harbowl" stories NFL fans may have been the last two weeks, the fact remains that it is rather remarkable that when the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens square off in Super Bowl XLVII, the two head coaches once shared a bedroom in the many homes that Jack and Jackie Harbaugh raised their family in over the years.
When the Ravens defeated the New England Patriots to set-up the brotherly Super Bowl, it was too late to relocate the game from New Orleans to Jack and Jackie Harbaugh's backyard in their current home in Wisconsin. The Harbaugh parents did meet with the media on Wednesday, a session that began with an anecdote from Jack about advice he received from Doyt Perry at Bowling Green State University.
"And he said ‘Number one on the list, if you want to be a coach someday, marry wisely.’," Jack Harbaugh said of Perry's three rules for a successful career in coaching. "I guarantee the only advice that I know I listened and followed from the great coach Doyt Perry was the marry wisely part. Jackie Harbaugh is the foundation of this Harbaugh family. She is the rock of our family. She’s the one that moved us 17 times in a 43 year coaching career. She sold houses at every stop and she bought houses at every stop. She took them in to school and out of school. She went to school when things didn’t go well. This is my hero right here, Jackie Harbaugh.
"You’re going to ask us how we feel on this historic day? Jackie, who has it better than us? Nobody!”
The Harbaugh brothers are known for their intensity on the sidelines. That's especially true of Jim, who can be quite animated on the sidelines, sometimes comically so. Most successful coaches will tell you how you can't con the players. If they sense that you're toning it down, or if putting on a persona to fit what's expected of an NFL head coach, you're in trouble.
Jack and Jackie Harbaugh both said that they never attempted to get their sons to tone it down.
“The one thing that we watch and take great pride in is that both of them are themselves," Jack said. "We were around Bo Schembechler for a long time and there were a lot of coaches that tried to emulate him. The first time you weren’t yourself, you were exposed and somewhat of a fraud. So, always be who you are and not follow anyone else."
As historic as Sunday will be, the bottom line is that the Harbaugh's are a family and the private moments and, to Jackie Harbaugh, those events will outrank Super Bowl XLVII
"I would honestly have to say that the birth of our own children and then the birth of our grandchildren are the most important to me and this is like frosting on the cake for our whole family, our extended family which includes a lot of relatives," said Jackie.