Saying they have not given any consideration to the post game handshake or bear hug, Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh and San Francisco 49ers Jim Harbaugh, the first brothers to coach against each other in a title game in the modern history of any sport, appeared at a joint press conference and thanked their mother for being a strong influence and role model during their youth.
Jack Harbaugh–their father–was a college coach at places like Michigan and Stanford and taught them much about football, but the brothers spoke sentimentally about the influence of their mother. The brothers appeared with their parents and ninety-seven-year-old grandfather.
“There is no one in the family who has more competitive fire than my mother. She competes like a maniac,” Jim, who has also been described as “maniacal,” said. “She has just always believed in us, and I think that is the most important thing to me. She believed in me, John, and Joanie, and took us to games and played catch with us, shot baskets with us, and just believed in us.”
John said, no one would fight harder for us than our mom, no matter what the situation was, or teach us how to have each other’s back and be there for one another, whether it was a little scrape in the neighborhood or something like that.”
“She basically made it very clear that we were to have each other’s back no matter what, and that was our mom. She was with us every day,” John continued. “Dad worked a lot. When he was around we would hang out with dad, but mom took us to practices and all that. Mom was with us all the time.”
John also said their mom is “a highly intelligent, very thoughtful lady,” the brothers grew up with “those kinds of conversations.”
“We may have been talking football with dad in the basement, but mom was talking about other things,” John said. “There were a lot of things going on in our world during the ’70s, and mom was always tuned in on those kinds of things and brought up conversation that helped make us well-rounded people as we grew up.”
John said their dad ultimately taught the brothers to be great coaches.
“We learned growing up that if you’re going to be a teacher, all great teachers make it about their students,” John said. “Our dad told us that coaches are teachers first, which I know that they are. I know Jim has a great relationship with his players.”
When asked if either of them has thought about what they would do when they meet after the Super Bowl concludes, both brothers answered they have not thought about it.
Jim responded, “I have not.”