Preparing to coach the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC championship game Sunday night, John Harbaugh watched on the stadium’s big video screen as Jim Harbaugh’s San Francisco 49ers wrapped up their victory in the NFC championship game.
Less than four hours later, the Ravens won, too. Some siblings try to beat each other in backyard games. These guys will do it in the biggest game of all. Yes, get ready for the Brother Bowl.
As much chatter as there will be about the players involved _ from Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis and his impending retirement to 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s sudden emergence _ the Harbaugh family angle will make this coaching matchup the most scrutinized in the nearly half-century of Super Sundays.
Who’s a parent to cheer for?
Now they’ll be squaring off with a championship at stake in a Super Bowl filled with firsts _ and one truly significant last.
It will be the first one between coaching brothers, of course. First one for Joe Flacco, the oft-doubted Ravens quarterback with the superb touch on deep balls and a QB-record six postseason road wins. First one for Kaepernick, the second-year player with the tattooed arms, the sprinter’s speed, and a shoulder that zips throws like the high school baseball pitcher he used to be.
And it will be the last game for 17-year veteran Lewis, Baltimore’s emotional leader and this postseason’s top tackler with 44 so far.
“This is our time,” Lewis pronounced.
He appeared to be on the verge of tears before and after helping Baltimore become the only team in 68 tries to overcome a halftime deficit against Patriots quarterback Tom Brady in Foxborough, Mass.
The NFC West champion 49ers (13-4-1) open as 5-point favorites, seeking a record-tying sixth Super Bowl title but first since 1995. The franchise of Hall of Fame quarterbacks Joe Montana and Steve Young is 5-0 in Super Bowls.