Jack and Jackie Harbaugh are the parents of Baltimore Ravens coach John and the San Francisco 49ers' Jim Harbaugh, who will historically become the first brothers to compete against each other in a Super Bowl as coaches.
The Harbaughs met with the press during Super Bowl Media week to field questions. Of course, everyone wants to know if there is a favorite son and how they will handle the competition ahead. They refused to pick a favorite and understand that one of their sons will experience the feeling of victory, while the other will face the agony of defeat. Their job as parents, according to Jack, was to congratulate the winner and console the loser.
According to Jack Harbaugh:
For me, I jump in there—the one thing that I do think about is after the game. There is going to be one winner and there is going to be one that is going to be totally disappointed. My thoughts go to that one that will not experience the thrill of victory. That’s where our thoughts will be. We had a little bit of a dry run on this last year with Thanksgiving. We watched the game and I know this has been reported before, but we watched the game in an office in the Ravens stadium. They were so kind to give us that privacy. During the three hours and 15 minutes, this lady (Jackie Harbaugh) was comatose. There was no expression. Her face was totally lifeless. Her eyes were glazed over watching the game. Then the game was over and you just dropped your head and we went down an elevator and opened the door to the Ravens locker room—I mean, the excitement of victory. We’ve all experienced that excitement of victory—guys jumping up and down, the smile on John’s face. They were just ecstatic and that thrill of victory, there is nothing like it. Victory, the thrill of victory. Then you realize that you’re not needed here. They had so much going on for them. You walk across the hall, and you went into the 49ers locker room and you walked and you saw the players walking about. That look in their eyes, that look of not being successful and coming up short. We opened up a couple doors and finally saw Jim all by himself in this room, just a table and a chair. He was still in his coaching outfit. His head down in his hands and you looked into his eyes and you realized that this where you’re needed as a parent. Every single parent can identify with that. That thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. On Sunday night, we’re going to experience both of those great emotions. Our thoughts will be with the one that comes up a little short.
Jack Harbaugh, a former football coach himself, credits his wife Jackie for holding the family together after having to move 17 times for his career. Jackie's belief that the children should know what their father did for work kept her shuttling them to see him and be around the game of football.
Neither parent can predict the outcome of Sunday's match, however whatever it may be, the both have already won. They appropriately started the press conference off asking together "who has it better than us?" and encouraging members of the media to answer "nobody" with them.