FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - Last year, when the Ravens and 49ers both reached the conference championship round, the hype began: John Harbaugh versus Jim Harbaugh, brother versus brother, mano a mano in the Super Bowl.
It didn’t pan out as both teams lost and the Giants went on to beat the Patriots for the crown.
This year, it has become reality. Baltimore will meet San Francisco in New Orleans in two weeks and the two brothers will go head-to-head for the title in an NFL first.
“I don’t know if we had a dream this big. We had a few dreams, we had a few fights,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said after his team’s 28-13 win over New England at Gillette Stadium. “We’ll try to stay out of that business. We’ll let the two teams duke it out as much as possible, but I couldn’t be more proud of Jim.”
John Harbaugh knows he has a challenge ahead of him, after his sibling led the 49ers to an 11-4-1 regular season record and two playoff victories.
“Watching that team play, they do look like his personality. They’ve got a great staff,” Harbaugh said. “They run the ball, they throw the ball, they’ve got a quarterback making plays all over the place. They’ve got a roughhouse defense. There’s a reason they’re in the Super Bowl and I love the way they play.
“I’d like to think that our two teams are very similar. I’d like to think those two teams, we look like mirror images, two football teams, I’d like to think that. And it’s going to be a great football game. He’s a great football coach.”
Could the Ravens coach possibly stand two weeks of Harbaugh versus Harbaugh hype or would he prefer to do away with it now?
“Let’s just cut that right now,” he joked. “Can we all agree just to forget about that stuff? We did that last year, OK? It was fine. It got old last year.”
John Harbaugh knows one person who won’t mind so much, his father Jack.
“I hope he’s on his fourth or fifth beer right now,” Harbaugh quipped. “He’s proud, he’s proud.”