15 Sep 2014
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Harbaugh Family: Who Is Mom's Favorite?

Super Bowl XLVII pits the 49ers' Jim Harbaugh against the Ravens' John Harbaugh. Patch shares the story of the Harbaugh family leading into Super Bowl Sunday.

Harbaugh Family: Who Is Mom's Favorite?

They'll take an objective approach Sunday.

Jackie Harbaugh and her daughter, Joani, vow to wear neutral clothes. Jack Harbaugh said he'll take off his coach's hat and just play the role of Dad.

When it comes to Super Bowl coaches John and Jim Harbaugh, their family doesn't play favorites.

But that didn't stop John from interrupting a nationwide media conference call last week to double-check.

"Is it true that both of you like Jim better than John?," asked a Baltimore caller named John.

Joani knew immediately that the voice on the other end was her brother. But there was a dramatic pause from Momma Harbaugh.

"Is that John?," Jackie finally asked.

"Is that John Harbaugh?" Dad followed up, amid laughter. "Mom was ready to come right through this phone. I am so happy Joani recognized your voice."

"[Jackie] grabbed my arm and she was reaching for the phone!" Jack added.

It's a question any mom hates to answer. Jackie Harbaugh is no different.

John said his mom had "that fighting spirit up" on the conference call.

"That's the way it should be. That is all I needed to hear. I just needed to know that," he said.

The Ravens coach then slipped off to practice and left the questions to the media.

Mom, Dad and Little Sis continued to be diplomatic and honest. There simply aren't favorites, they said—and that translates to the game, as well.

Of the five, Jack was a college football coach, John and Jim are at the peak of their profession, and both Jackie and Joani—who is married to Indiana men's basketball coach Tom Crean—have lived the coaching lifestyle.

In fact, thanks to that background, the Harbaughs bristle at the comparisons of the sons.

"To make a comparison, it demeans and it doesn't, not just in when you talk about your own children, but when you talk about anyone," Jack Harbaugh said. "And to make those kind of comparisons, it really demeans one or the other. And, we chose to look at the ways of which they're very similar. They both have a love and passion for their families. They have a love and passion for their work. They enjoy being around the team. They enjoy being around their coaches. They really enjoy the fan base. They enjoy connecting with the people that have made this game so great. So, in our relations with them and our comparisons, we see great, great similarities."

And no favorites.

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