Rick Snider: For John and Jim Harbaugh, Super Bowl is different sort of rivalry

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Sports,NFL,Ravens,Rick Snider

The HarBowl just became an extended family feud.

San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh is bringing help to Sunday's Super Bowl XLVII. He believes the sibling rivalry will extend beyond blood when he faces his brother, and Baltimore coach John Harbaugh, in New Orleans.

"For he who sheds his blood with me today shall be my brother," Jim said, quoting William Shakespeare's "Henry V." "I feel that about our players. I felt that and still do about our Stanford players and our [University of San Diego] players. This is their time. This game is about them playing with their brothers. I know the Ravens feel the same way."

The first championship game featuring brothers as opposing coaches in major pro sports has the Harbaughs realizing one will reach his dream at the other's expense. They have conceded but not concentrated on it in recent days.

They began competing in the backyard as kids, endless games as sons of a coach. Never did imaginary matchups have them as coaches, but competitors they remain.

"Anybody who has a brother, especially one that's close in age, gets it," John said. "You just grow up fighting for everything. You fight for the extra hotdog. You fight for girls. You fight for everything. We both got our girls, but we both want a victory this week."

Jim fills that younger brother role of yapper, the one always testing the older sibling. He seems more in style with their father, Jack Harbaugh, a former college coach.

"My dad's leadership style as a coach was enthusiasm. As he says, 'Enthusiasm unknown to mankind,'?" John said. "He was a go-getter, the best motivator I've ever heard. His teams were rough and tough and physical. He ran the triple option. I've seen a little bit of that from Jim's team now, so I'm starting to wonder if they've been having some conversations behind my back.

"Jim is a competitive guy, and I guess the No. 1 lesson would be you never take Jim lightly in anything ever. Expect his best at all times because you're going to get it. He's going to come to compete. He always has, and he always will."

While learning much from their father, neither thought the other brother could anticipate their moves based on such familiarity.

"Worried about a lot of things," Jim said, "but I have not noticed that he has any clairvoyant powers."

Normally, the winning coach doesn't feel bad for the losing counterpart. But both Harbaughs admit they expect mixed emotions afterward.

"Life is full of bitter disappointments," Jim said. "I think we all understand this going into this game."

Said John: "We've been down that before as NFL coaches but pretty much our whole lives. We don't need consoling. The other guy wouldn't want to hear it anyway. Just move on and move to the next one. We'll probably get a good golf game going sometime in the offseason, and that will be good revenge for somebody."

Examiner columnist Rick Snider has covered local sports since 1978. Read more on Twitter @Snide_Remarks or email rsnider@washingtonexaminer.com.

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