A Tale of Two Harbaughs

Jim and John Harbaugh(Photo: Getty)

Jim and John Harbaugh
(Photo: Getty)

And then there were two…Harbaughs.

At the beginning of the season, anyone who referenced the Bro Bowl was clearly talking about the Manning brothers. Right? Well, not anymore. Step aside Peyton and Eli, for the new first family of football…the brothers Harbaugh.

The Harbaughs 1964(Photo: SI.com)

The Harbaughs 1964
(Photo: SI.com)

John and Jim Harbaugh were born just 15 months apart, to their parents, Jack and Jackie in Toledo, Ohio. Jack was an assistant college football coach. They grew up in Kentucky, Iowa, and Michigan. They didn’t have everything, but they had enough. And they appreciated it. Jack’s saying…“Who’s got it better than us?” became their family mantra.

John followed in his father’s college football footsteps as an assistant coach with Western Michigan, Morehead State, Cincinnati, and Indiana. He made the jump to the NFL as an assistant coach for the Philadelphia Eagles and accepted the position of head coach for the Baltimore Ravens in 2008, after current Cowboys coach Jason Garrett turned it down.

Jim played quarterback for the University of Michigan before he was drafted by the Chicago Bears. He went on to play for the Colts (where he earned the nickname “Captain Comeback”), the Ravens (where he was teammates with Ray Lewis), and the Chargers. Jim Harbaugh eventually took his experience as an NFL quarterback and his family coaching legacy to Stanford and the San Francisco 49ers. He took something else with him too…Jack’s motto. “Who’s got it better than us?” has become Harbaugh’s team chant. And the team responds, just like he did…“Nooobody!”

On Sunday, Jim Harbaugh and the San Francisco 49ers beat the Falcons in the NFC Championship game. Three hours later, John Harbaugh and the Baltimore Ravens beat the Patriots for the AFC Championship. When their teams meet in New Orleans on February 3rd, the Harbaughs will become the first sibling rivalry in NFL history to make it all the way to the Super Bowl.

The Harbaughs 1977(Photo: SI.com)

The Harbaughs 1977
(Photo: SI.com)

Unlike the Manning family, there is no legend of a third Harbaugh brother with more talent than both. But John and Jim Harbaugh do have a sister, Joani. She isn’t a coach, but she is married to one…Indiana University Basketball Coach Tom Crean, whose team opened the college season ranked number one.

“Who’s got it better than us?”


If you’re a Harbaugh.