The San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens will make history during Super Bowl XLVII. The 2013 edition of the NFL’s biggest game will mark the first time brothers will serve as head coaches for the participating teams. Jim Harbaugh will coach the 49ers, while his brother John Harbaugh will monitor the sidelines for the Ravens.
While John has had the more successful NFL head coaching career, it’s Jim that will garner most of the headlines. Jim brings an infectious tenacity that is rarely seen in today’s NFL head coaches. That intensity has brought disdain from his contemporaries. Case in point: Detroit Lions’ head coach Jim Schwartz. After the 49ers defeated the Lions in 2011, Jim exhibited a little exuberance during the customary coaches’ post-game handshake with Schwartz.
Jim patted Schwartz on his back, a gesture that the Detroit head coach found derisive, disrespectful, and condescending. Schwartz tried to go after the 49ers’ coach, but was unsuccessful in doing so. Considering Jim’s reputation as a feisty competitor that backed down from no one, it was good karma that Schwartz didn’t reach Jim.
As a member of the Chicago Bears, Jim Harbaugh got into a sideline shouting match with legendary Bears’ head coach Mike Ditka. The incident occurred during a 1992 game between the Bears and the Minnesota Vikings. Ditka ordered Harbaugh to audible out of a play while the Bears were on offense. Jim refused. The result was a Vikings’ interception return for a touchdown that paced Minnesota to victory. To defy a Ditka order meant an immediate exit out of the league, maybe even blackballed status from the NFL.
But that’s in the past. Jim now has the opportunity to defeat his brother John in an effort to win a record sixth Super Bowl title for the San Francisco 49ers’ franchise. Despite facing his older brother, you better believe Jim will be no less intense in his efforts to emerge victorious on the NFL’s biggest stage.