Super Bowl XLVII: Harbaugh brothers to go head-to-head

By Doug Halberstadt
Sports Columnist

Unless you’ve been aboard the International Space Station and void of all news sources, you must be fully aware that the Super Bowl features a battle of brothers. Jim Harbaugh will be coaching the San Francisco 49ers, and his brother John Harbaugh will be on the opposite sideline guiding the Baltimore Ravens.

Because of the nature of hype combined with the media circus that traditionally accompanies the Super Bowl, we, as fans, are about to be inundated with every piece of Harbaugh information and trivia imaginable. By the time the game kicks off, it’s entirely possible that football fans all across the globe will know which brother liked which vegetable and who was better at coloring in kindergarten. We can rest assured there won’t be any tidbit of minutia left in the locker room when these two brothers lead their teams onto the field Sunday (Feb. 3) evening.

The competitive nature of the international media that cover this sporting spectacle will no doubt pursue any angle that could put them one step ahead of their competitors. I’m guessing there will be multiple interviews not only individually and as a tandem with Jim and John, but also with their parents, neighbors, teachers, coaches, friends and anyone else who pretends to offer some morsel of information about them.

I can’t imagine the pressure they will be under this week. There’s bound to be some sleepless nights for the coaching duo between now and Sunday. In addition to the herculean task of preparing their respective teams for the biggest game of their careers, they’re going to be bombarded with a barrage of inane questions about things that have absolutely nothing to do with football.

After the umpteenth time they have to answer the same question phrased quasi-differently, I wouldn’t blame these two coaches if they were to become a bit annoyed with the press. I hope the often-feisty Jim Harbaugh doesn’t lose it when some overzealous reporter asks him, “As children, did you and your brother wear Underroo boxers or briefs?”

Granted, that may be a bit of an exaggeration of how ridiculous the questions can get during Super Bowl week, but you get the idea. All I’m suggesting is that the media take a tiny step back this week and try not to irritate these two brothers as they go about the business of preparing for the Super Bowl.

As difficult as that might be, I’m hoping for the best. Good luck to both Jim and John Harbaugh. I don’t really care which brother wins the game. I’m predicting Jim’s 49ers, but I won’t be surprised if John’s Ravens pull it out.

The story of brother vs. brother in the Super Bowl is great for the game. At some point, I hope they both get an opportunity to take a moment and let the significance of this occurrence sink in and relish the fact that their story will forever be etched in not only Super Bowl history, but also football history, even if they do have to answer a bunch of silly questions along the way.

Doug Halberstadt can be reached via e-mail at

From the Jan. 30-Feb. 5, 2013, issue

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