OK, fine, let’s talk about the Harbaugh Bowl. John Harbaugh and Jim Harbaugh, who were produced by intercourse between the same two humans, will coach opposing teams in the Super Bowl in two weeks. This storyline, as everyone knew it would, proved irresistible for lazy reporters and – okay, fine, pretty good headline writers everywhere. And, despite what will undoubtedly become increasingly loud protests from everyone tired of hearing about how the damn Harbaughs are brothers already, it will continue to be breathlessly reported and dissected right up until – and, let’s face it, after – kickoff in New Orleans on February 3.
I made clear earlier today that I was not happy about this, mostly for the reasons elucidated in the above paragraph. There are only so many ways you can says guys are related, so many anecdotes you can share, and given the 24/7 coverage every Super Bowl receives, those anecdotes were bound to be old hat tout de suite. Not only that, we already had a miniature version of this last year, when the Niners and Ravens played on Thanksgiving. That was enough Harbaugh family for me, thanks. As for the Harbaughs themselves – I figured they’d be more tired of it than anyone, thereby providing no interesting quotes on their family, and making this storyline even duller than it would have been otherwise.
But judging by some things John has said, I might have been wrong on that last point – and that’s the one thing that gives me any hope this storyline might enhance anyone’s Super-Bowl-consuming experience. Take, for example, what he told Peter King on the topic of facing off against his brother for all the marbles after beating the Pats last night (h/t The Big Lead):
“I can’t even get my arms around it. My dad said something to me — my mom’s and dad’s parents are immigrants, salt-of-the-earth people. They treasure America; it’s meant everything to them, being here. I hope people can see what an incredible moment this is for our country. This is America, how hard work can get you to a moment like this. This is the greatness of America.”
Maybe you read that and think, “Yeah, real modest, John.” I read that and think, “Wow, he is actually treating the brothers subplot like it’s worthy of his attention! This is actually kind of interesting and illuminating, and gives me hope he may say yet more things like it as the game approaches!” And that’s not all… here was Harbaugh today talking about his brother’s team. While he said (predictably) that both he and his brother would try their hardest not to make themselves the story, he couldn’t help but get a little personal in describing his Super Bowl XLVII opponents:
If John at the very least keeps acknowledging that yes, he’s coaching against his brother and that is a subplot that exists going into the game, it’s going to make it a whole lot easier to stomach the constant invocation of said subplot. Just a little new material, that’s all we’re asking. Give us that, and we’ll all get through the Harbaugh Bowl storyline unscathed. Even if I still think Pats-Niners was a way more interesting matchup.
(Oh, what’s that? What will Jim Harbaugh say about the Harbaugh Bowl subplot? Nothing. I have no hope for Jim. Jim is not going to say one word about coaching against his brother. He is far too busy preparing for the intensity of the Super Bowl by slaughtering tigers with his bare hands while breaking beer bottles over his own head and eating the shards. I don’t think Jim even remembers he has a brother right now. Someday, maybe he’ll look back on it and remember what a unique opportunity it was to compete with great enthusiasm. For the next two weeks? We’ll get nothing, and like it.)
Getty photo, by Rob Carr