NFL Baltimore RavensSan Francisco 49ers

Harbowl Doesn’t Get Played If Harbaugh Brothers Don’t Make Two Season Saving Decisions

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

When you look back at the seasons the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens had, neither team had an easy road to the Super Bowl. Both Jim Harbaugh and John Harbaugh had to make difficult decisions on the road to the Harbowl. I’m not talking about challenging a play or deciding whether to go for it on fourth and short, I’m talking about season altering decisions.

In San Francisco, Jim Harbaugh made the tough decision to bench a starting quarterback that had one of the top touchdowns to interception ratios in the league. Not to mention, he also took the 49ers to the NFC title game last year. Alex Smith was a very good quarterback who helped turn around a franchise that had been dormant for almost 10 years, but Harbaugh saw the big picture. He knew that Smith could only take the 49ers so far and replaced him with the quarterback capable of taking the Niners to the Super Bowl.

Colin Kaepernick was the quarterback the 49ers needed to take the next step and he rewarded his coach’s faith in him with a great comeback win in the NFC Championship game. If you’re still wondering why the 49ers coach would make a switch like that in the middle of a good season, ask yourself this question: If Alex Smith was the quarterback for the 49ers yesterday, do they come back and win that game? You’d be lying to yourself if you said yes.

The decision by Jim Harbaugh to put Colin Kaepernick in is one of the main reasons the 49ers are headed to the Super Bowl.

In Baltimore, the Ravens were struggling and they needed to find a way to give the team a boost. They had lost two straight games and although it wasn’t all Cam Cameron’s fault, he became the person held accountable. The decision to fire an offensive coordinator couldn’t have been easy, especially late in the season, but John Harbaugh and the Ravens made the right choice. Cameron frequently forgot to get the ball into this best players (Ray Rice) hands, and change was needed. The Ravens, particularly Joe Flacco’s, uneven performances on offense forced the change.

Since Jim Caldwell has taken over for Cameron, the Ravens have gone 4-2 (4-1 if you don’t include the final game of the regular season when Flacco barely played), and Joe Flacco has thrown for 12 touchdowns against just one interception. Those are the types of numbers the Ravens and their fans have expected from their quarterback.

The decision by John Harbaugh to replace his longtime offensive coordinator at a critical time took a lot of guts and it’s one of the biggest reasons the Ravens are headed to the Super Bowl.

The season saving decisions made by each Harbaugh brother shows just how important coaching is in the NFL. By making those tough decisions, Jim and John Harbaugh have reserved their teams place in the Super Bowl. Or as the crazy kids are calling it today, the Harbowl.

you can contact or follow Ben on twitter @BenGrimaldi