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Keeler: Super Bowl souped up by siblings

Tommy Keeler

As an only child, there were times growing up when I wanted to have a brother or sister, just as I'm sure that there are many brothers and sisters who have wished at times they didn't have their siblings. So, it's hard for me to know exactly how tough it will be for Jim and John Harbaugh to have to coach against each other this week. What I do know is that it adds a little something to this year's Super Bowl.

The emotions are always running high for the Super Bowl, but I would have to imagine that it will be even more emotional for the Harbaugh brothers. This is the biggest moment of their professional lives and normally you would want to share that with your family. Instead they will be on opposite sides wanting to defeat their brother in the biggest games of their careers.

Of course, Jim Harbaugh is the coach of the San Francisco 49ers. My memories of him are always from his days playing at the University of Michigan, the college football team I hate the most as an Ohio State fan. I've learned to dislike all Michigan quarterbacks, Tom Brady being at the top of the list. However, once he got into the NFL I remember Jim Harbaugh being quarterback of the Chicago Bears and having an OK career, nothing great, but not the worst career ever. I wasn't a huge fan of the Bears, so it certainly didn't bother me that Jim Harbaugh, the Michigan QB, didn't turn into a big star.

The next time I heard about Jim Harbaugh was when he became head coach at Stanford University. I'm not a huge fan of Stanford either, but I quickly became impressed with the way he turned things around there. Stanford was known for basketball, golf, tennis, but football was really not their thing -- until Jim Harbaugh got there.

Then John Harbaugh became head coach of the Baltimore Ravens a year after Jim took over at Stanford. When I first heard about John, all that I knew was that he was Jim's brother. Much like Jim did at Stanford, John impressed me with his coaching job with the Ravens. The Ravens are not the premier team in the NFL, but they are pretty solid.

Once Jim took over in San Francisco I had a feeling he would turn things around there. He really seemed to care about the players he coached and he had a passion and love for the game that made him successful. I could see that same passion and love for the game in his brother, John.

While it will be tough for the Harbaughs to coach against each other, you have to think whoever loses will still be very happy for the other one. It's possible that they will each get at least one Super Bowl ring.

You have to think at some point Hollywood will come calling and want to make a movie about it. If they can make one about Lance Armstrong, shouldn't they make one about the Harbaughs' rise to the top? I'd much rather watch a feel-good story about football coaches than something about a cheater who is a cyclist.

While this week will be tough for the brothers, it has to be just as tough for the parents. Can you really root for one over the other? I don't think so. They will probably just have to sit there and watch the game and try not to show too much emotion for one brother over the other. Something that I can't imagine will be easy.

As a fan, I think it's going to be great to watch. On paper, San Francisco against Baltimore just lacks a little sizzle. I don't care for either team, and it doesn't have the same impact as Dallas against Pittsburgh or New England. However, the battle of the Harbaugh brothers will add drama to what could be a ho-hum game.

I've wondered for several years if we would ever get a Peyton vs. Eli Manning Super Bowl, and I think that would be great, but this could be just as interesting.

I've grown up, like most everyone else, watching the Super Bowl and wondering if this year's game will top all the others. The Super Bowl always stands out. Let's face it -- it's the biggest sporting event in the country. You had to figure at some point we would get a brother vs. brother matchup (I'm still hoping for an overtime game, there has to be one eventually right?).

There's been a little too much hype over it, but at least it's a good story and not one about thugs who cheat, lie and steal like we get so much of in sports these days.

So, I hope everyone enjoys this year's game. I think this year's will be different, maybe I'll even get that overtime.

Usually when a game is over there is a winner and a loser, but I think this week the entire Harbaugh family will be winners.

Contact assistant sports editor Tommy Keeler Jr. at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com


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