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The Harbaugh Coaching Tree
Jack Harbaugh dedicated nearly a half a century of his life, 42 years to be exact, to coaching young men in the game of football.
His enthusiasm and passion for the sport not only inspired players in the locker room, but ultimately shaped the lives of his two sons who would go on to be high-profile, successful coaches in their own right.
You know the elder son as Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh. The younger, a former Ravens quarterback, is Stanford’s head coach, Jim Harbaugh.
“Since [Jack] retired as headman at Western Kentucky, in 2002, after winning a I-AA national title, his tree has arguably grown taller than those of the Bowdens, the Holtzes and the Ryans in the forest of successful football families,” Eddie Matz said in the latest issue of ESPN The Magazine.
That’s quite the statement, but a statement that has merit.
Stanford was 1-11 the season before Jim arrived (2006). Last season, the Cardinal were 8-5, earning their first bowl invite since 2001.
Meanwhile, the Ravens had one playoff appearance in the four years prior to John’s hiring. Last year, he and quarterback Joe Flacco became the first coach-quarterback duo to start their careers together with consecutive playoff berths.
“You remember driving your kids to Little League, and they’re nervous about making the team, and you’re encouraging them,” Jack told ESPN. “Forty years down the road, we’re having the same conversation. Only it’s about the Ravens and Steelers, or Stanford and Cal.”
Long before John burst onto the head coaching scene with the Ravens, he had once decided that coaching football wasn’t for him. His goal when he entered college was to become a lawyer or a senator.
John unexpectedly caught the coaching bug when he would pitch in to help his dad at practice. Little-by-little, and by the time he turned 22, he realized he needed to coach football too. It was a decision that his younger brother, Jim, had made “since he was in diapers.”
“Two sons, born of the same mother, fathered by the same father, lived in the same home, ate the same food, and yet they’re different,” Jack said. “The fire burns, but they wear it differently.”
Matt Weiss, a former Stanford staffer for Jim and currently John’s assistant at the Ravens, explained the difference between the brothers: “Put a brick wall in front of Jim and he’ll run through it. Put that wall in front of John and he’ll find three ways around it.”
(If you have ESPN the Magazine or an ESPN Insider account, you may want to read the entire story. LFW’s recap hardly scratches the surface of the 2,200-word feature.)
Additionally, Goodell said the new overtime rules, which have already been adopted for the postseason, may be incorporated into the regular season as well. The commissioner expects the new format will be discussed among owners, coaches and the NFL’s business partners in advance of the league meeting in May.
“We will present it to our membership, and we will evaluate it and possibly vote on it,” said Goodell.
“The Ravens couldn’t fill every hole in the draft,” Walker said. “But the Ravens are in a tricky spot here. They have cornerbacks. The team just isn’t sure Lardarius Webb and/or Fabian Washington will be ready for Week 1 after knee surgeries.