John Harbaugh's Super Bowl win comes with pain for brother
NEW ORLEANS -- Super Bowl XLVII will not be added to the Harbaugh family's video collection.
The Ravens' 34-31 victory over the 49ers on Sunday night made John Harbaugh a champion, but it also left his younger brother, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh, crestfallen. So though the two undoubtedly will break down video of the game in the coming weeks -- that's what coaches do, after all -- they have no plans to ever do so as a family. Even when they're much older, they'll never throw in the DVD just to remember that day back in 2013.
"No, I don't think we'll ever watch that game together," John said Monday. "Absolutely not."
That's the complexity of coaching against a brother in a Super Bowl. Only one can win. On Sunday, it was John, who was unable to fully enjoy the traditional march off the field because halfway across the Superdome turf, he came across his deflated sibling.
"The toughest moment of all was walking across the field," John said. "If you can imagine, you feel an incredible amount of elation with an incredible amount of devastation. Those two feelings went hand in hand at that moment, and I'm still feeling it. That's just reality."
The two brothers met and spoke briefly on the field Sunday night. Jim, the heartbroken Harbaugh, said he told John "congratulations, and that I was proud of him." John said that moment was "a lot tougher than I thought it was going to be; it's very painful."
Their parents, Jack and Jackie, watched the game from commissioner Roger Goodell's suite.
"Roger just told me they didn't say a word the entire game," John said. "I think it was a great week for them up until kickoff, and then it wasn't so great. And I think they're just happy to move beyond that now. They're proud as can be and they're happy for both of us."
About an hour before kickoff, both coaches were happy, too. They met for a quick chat as their teams warmed up.
"As we stood there on the field before the game, we kind of came to the conclusion that the only thing that would have been worse was if one of us wasn't there," John said. "And the only thing that would've been worse than that was if neither one of us was there."
As of yesterday morning's news conference for the winners, John said he had not spoken with Jim since their brief meeting on the field. He's been trying to focus on his team's celebrations, trying to enjoy his success as a Super Bowl champion.
But whenever he thinks about his greatest triumph, lurking in the back of his mind will be the image of his dejected brother, who had to be beaten for John to reach his goal.
Perhaps the two teams and coaches will have another chance to meet in a Super Bowl.
"Jim is a great competitor," John said. "Jim will do what he's always done. He will come out swinging. He'll go back and go to work on the draft . . . No one will handle this better than Jim Harbaugh. He's the best coach in football and he'll have that team roaring back very soon."