The annual final Super Bowl press conference at the Super Bowl XLVII Media Center in New Orleans on Friday was the first time in history that the two coaches have held a joint press conference. When good friends Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith faced off against each other in Miami a few years ago, the two both posed together behind the Lombardi Trophy for a photo op, but the NFL has never seen a joint press conference before.
When the brothers Harbaugh, Jim of the Forty-Niners and John of the Ravens came on the stage, it was John, the elder of the two that began the media event. “Welcome, thanks for coming. I just want to start by saying what an honor it is for both of us to be here with each other, no question about it. What a very exciting moment it is, but even more than that, for our families to be here. For our mom and dad, sitting right over there, Jack and Jackie and for Grandpa Joe – 97-years-old and going strong – grandpa Joe Sepidi and Bob Sepidi, our uncle, and Chad, our cousin. Any other family members out there? Thanks for being here and just as far as our team goes, we will be doing a normal Friday practice. We’re going to head over to the Saints facility, which Jim has been great about and the Niners organization, giving us an opportunity to get over there and take advantage of that facility, which has been good for us. We’ll be early, a little earlier than normal, and we’ll be long gone before they get over there. It will be a normal Friday practice with things we do on Friday, and we’ll be moving on from there.”
This Super Bowl has an additional quirk that is a bit strange for friends and family as well. Jim’s son Jay is an assistant coach with the Ravens under John, while his dad is the head coach of the Niners. The two opposing brothers discussed the unusual circumstances and gave their thoughts. Jim gave his thoughts about his son not pulling for the team his own dad coaches.
“I’m really really thankful and proud at the same time that Jay is doing what he loves to do. That is a real blessing and he’s doing it with the Baltimore Ravens with a tremendous organization, great coaches around to mentor him and to teach him, especially John being there and hiring him and I hear he’s doing a phenomenal job which again I’m really proud of. This week I haven’t been talking to him or calling him or anything. I’ve sent him a few texts just letting him know how I feel about him and I don’t want to give reason for people to think I’m talking to him. I’m really proud of what he’s doing, I’ve heard he’s done a great job and that means the world.”
Needless to say, John was happy to have his nephew on his side in the upcoming battle for the World Championship. “I’m appreciative that Jim allowed Jay to come out. I’ve obviously known Jay his whole life. He did a great job at Oregon State. He was trained by Mike Riley there as a student coach for all those years. He’s far better than we’ve anticipated and I knew he would be great at what he does. The way we looked at it, we talked about the philosophical difference or whatever; I think that may well tip the scale that might be our edge, Jay. He’s really good. He’s a hard working guy. I guarantee he’s excited about the game and competing and all those things just like he should be.”
All the pre-game hype and buildup has set this game up to be one of the best in the history of the Super Bowl. When you look at the talent on the two teams, on paper this game, like quite a few in the past, could well come down to which team has the ball last. Who’s ready for Sunday?