Let’s make it official. Let’s call this the first story about the Harbaugh brothers before Super Bowl Week.
When it’s over, try to count how many stories from New Orleans – or before Super Bowl Week in New Orleans – will be about the Harbaugh Brothers. After this one, I want to declare a Harbaugh-Free Zone.
Later, we’ll declare a Ray Lewis-Free Zone, as well, but that won’t be until next week.
It was Conference Championship Weekend in the National Football League and as a result of the two games yesterday, it will be the Harbaugh Brothers’ Super Bowl: head coach John Harbaugh and the AFC champion Baltimore Ravens against head coach Jim Harbaugh and the NFC champion San Francisco 49ers.
Jim Harbaugh, 49, was born in Toledo and followed his father Jack, a football coach, all over the United States from job-to-job. He played quarterback at the University of Michigan, won the 1987 Rose Bowl, was a Heisman Trophy finalist and was selected by the Chicago Bears in the first round of the 1987 NFL Draft. He played 14 years in the NFL and then became a coach. He was hired by the 49ers on Jan. 11, 2011.
The older brother, John Harbaugh, 50, was also born in Toledo, played college football as a defensive back at Miami University and then became a college assistant at Western Michigan in 1984. After years as an assistant in the college and pro ranks, Harbaugh was hired by the Ravens in 2008 and then signed a three-year extension on Feb. 14, 2011. Like his brother, this will be his first trip to the Super Bowl as a head coach.
There, it’s done. That’s the history of the Harbaughs. Now back to the players who will face each other in Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans on Feb. 3.
Let’s take a close look at the two games that made up championship weekend:
The NFC Championship Game:
San Francisco 28 Atlanta 24
San Francisco fell behind 17-0 six seconds into the second quarter and came all the way back to win a spot in a Super Bowl for the first time since 1995. Colin Kaepernick completed 16-of-21 passes for 233 yards, one TD and no interceptions while Frank Gore carried for 90 yards and two TDs as the Niners outscored Atlanta 28-7 over the final three quarters. Atlanta’s Matt Ryan completed 30-of-42 passes for 396 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. Julio Jones caught 11 Ryan passes for 182 yards and two TDs while Roddy White caught seven passes for 100 yards and no TDs. Niners tight end Vernon Davis caught dive passes for 106 yards and one TD for San Francisco.
The AFC Championship Game:
Baltimore 28 New England 13
Joe Flacco threw three touchdown passes in the second half as Baltimore overcame a 13-7 halftime deficit and ripped New England with 21 unanswered points in the second half at Gillette Stadium. Flacco finished 21-for-36 for 240 yards, three TDs and no interceptions. Brady, meanwhile, went 29-for-54 for 320 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Brady had been 67-0 at home when leading at halftime before this game. Wes Welker caught eight Brady passes for 117 yards and the Pats lone TD. The big story might have been Ravens middle linebacker Ray Lewis who had six tackles and eight assisted tackles to lead the Baltimore defense to victory. The Ravens will play in the Super Bowl for the first time in 12 years.