Harbaugh brothers don't want to steal attention from players

This combo image shows San Francisco 49ers head This combo image shows San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh, left, in Atlanta, and Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh in Foxborough, Mass., during their NFL conference championship games. (Jan. 20, 2012) Photo Credit: AP

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Leave it to the older brother to offer perspective.

"I guess it's pretty neat," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said on Monday in reference to his team facing the 49ers, who are coached by his younger brother Jim Harbaugh, in Super Bowl XLVII on Feb. 3. It will be only the second time in NFL history that two brothers face each other as head coaches in any game in NFL history -- the Harbaughs performed that sibling stunt in 2011 -- and, of course, the first time it will happen in a Super Bowl.

But does that make it a historic event?

"It's not exactly like Churchill and Roosevelt or anything," John Harbaugh said. "It's pretty cool, but that's as far as it goes."

A continent away, at the 49ers' facility in Santa Clara, Jim Harbaugh was dousing the same brushfire story lines that are spreading throughout the league and the country.

"Well, I think it's a blessing and a curse," Jim Harbaugh said. "A blessing because that is my brother's team. And, also, personally I played for the Ravens. Great respect for their organization . . . The curse part would be the talk of two brothers playing in the Super Bowl and what that takes away from the players that are in the game. Every moment that you're talking about myself or John, that's less time that the players are going to be talked about."

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Clearly, whatever emotions this game will stir between the two men will be kept private.

"It doesn't matter who the coach is, what relationship you have with the person on the other side," Jim Harbaugh said.

But the two men do look out for each other. John Harbaugh was able to watch the end of the 49ers' victory over the Falcons in the NFC title game on Sunday because it was shown on the video boards at Gillette Stadium, where he and the Ravens were warming up to face the Patriots. And when the 49ers were taking off for home from Atlanta, Jim Harbaugh phoned his sister to get the latest update from Foxboro and the AFC Championship Game.

"We can't put into words what it means to see John and Jim achieve this incredible milestone," their brother-in-law, Indiana basketball coach Tom Crean, said on Twitter. "We talked to Jim [before] his team plane left. All he wanted to know was how was John doing? How were they playing? One incredible family who puts the care, well-being and love for each other at the forefront like most families do. Again, we are very proud of them. Going to be exciting to watch it unfold."

"I'm very proud of my brother," Jim Harbaugh said, calling him twice the coach that he is. "I love him, and that's the blessing part -- that this is happening to him."

To both of them.

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