|Jack and Jackie Harbaugh meet with the media in New Orleans during Super Bowl week. (Ryan Wilson, CBSSports.com)|
Jack and Jackie Harbaugh were one of the primary storylines leading up to Super Bowl XLVII. They were responsible for bringing John and Jim into this world, after all, and everyone wanted to know how they'd handle watching their two sons coach against one another on the NFL's biggest stage.
Not surprisingly, they were torn; proud for John, saddened for Jim.
Of course, the game may have ended differently if the officials had flagged Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith on the 49ers' last offensive play, a fourth-and-goal pass from Colin Kaepernick to Michael Crabtree that fell incomplete in the back of the end zone. San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh was incensed, and days later he reiterated that "a penalty is a penalty no matter when it occurs in a game," which, it turns out, was a very divisive observation to make.
Jack wants no part of that conversation.
“Well, I'm not going there as you can imagine," Jack said during an interview with ESPNChicago via SportsRadioInterviews.com. "I refuse to get in that debate. It comes down to a play like that; that's maybe the play that will be most remembered, but in a game like that that goes for 60 minutes, there are so many plays that are going to swing it."
And that's the thing. Yes, there was contact between Smith and Crabtree at the line of scrimmage, but that's not why the 49ers lost. San Francisco choosing not to cover Jacoby Jones on the 56-yard touchdown reception late in the second quarter, or letting Jones run untouched for an 108-yard kickoff return for six to begin the third quarter also played a non-trivial role in the outcome.
Instead, Jack wanted to focus on the accomplishments that landed his sons in the Super Bowl.
“For me it's the great pride in John, the five years that he's been in the NFL and the journey that he took to get there, from the graduate assistant getting no pay at all," he continued. "The working all the different places that he worked, me and Jackie were filled with tremendous pride. And then, of course, Jim took a little different route with the 15 years in the NFL and then took the University of San Diego job, he worked himself to where he is, and to be down 28-6 and find a way to rally to get to that position on the goal line, so much pride in what he's been able to do with the San Francisco 49ers team. And it didn't just happen in this game; it's been a journey over the last two years in what he's been able to accomplish.”