Harbaugh brothers share Super Bowl stage before Super Bowl
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NEW ORLEANS - A Super Bowl week that included story lines as varied as deer antlers, gay teammates, and even what the weather will be like for next year's game returned Friday to its original narrative: brother vs. brother.
Normally, the head coaches of the teams hold separate media conferences to wrap up media obligations for the week. But this Super Bowl is anything but normal, so John and Jim Harbaugh spoke together, on the same stage, with the Lombardi Trophy between them.
It's been a week of shared experiences for the Harbaugh family, a clan that extends from their 97-year-old grandfather, Joe Sepidi, all the way down to Jim's 4-month-old son, Jack, who earned a little name recognition Monday when Jim mentioned him while discussing Barack Obama's concerns that football is too violent.
They've even shared a practice facility and, for about 10 minutes Thursday, were on the field with their teams at the same time.
The Ravens were scheduled to practice at Tulane, where the football stadium is under construction, but rain made the outdoor practice facility uncomfortable. With the help of the Saints and local merchants, the NFL was able to acquire about 100 feet of piping drapes to block the views of both teams at the Saints' facility, where the 49ers had been camped. The brothers worked together on the arrangements while the NFL football operations staff did their best to create two separate, secure practice venues at the same site.
"Just cooperating spirits," Jim Harbaugh said.
On Friday, they again used the same field, but this time there was no overlap. So the next time the brothers -- or the teams -- see each other in public will be Sunday as they prepare for Super Bowl XLVII.
The contrast between the personalities of the two coaches had been on display all week, but it was never as evident as when they were together on stage.
John, the gregarious older brother by 15 months, wore a suit and tie, opened the event with a warm welcome, introduced family members and gave a quick rundown of the Ravens' plans for the day.
Then the somewhat paranoid Jim, wearing khakis and a fleece pullover, spoke into the microphone.
"I concur," he said.
The two spoke, as they have all week but never at the same place at the same time, about their backgrounds, their philosophies and the inevitable disappointment one of them will experience in the shadow of the other's greatest triumph. They even addressed the idea of a future collaboration.
"We've had that conversation in the past," John said. "It just never really worked out timing-wise. I'd love to work for Jim, I'd love it. It would be the greatest thing in the world. We almost made it happen at Stanford at one time. It would be an honor to have him on the staff. He's a great coach. You always try to get great coaches, and there are none better than Jim Harbaugh, and I mean that seriously."
"Well," Jim corrected with a nod to the patriarch, "Jack Harbaugh."
On that they agreed.