NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Jack and Jackie Harbaugh are spending Super Bowl week celebrating the good fortune of having two sons at the pinnacle of pro football.
Once the Super Bowl between John Harbaugh's Baltimore Ravens and Jim Harbaugh's San Francisco 49ers has ended this Sunday night, the parents know their first priority will be expressing sympathy to the coach who didn't get to hoist the Lombardi Trophy.
"The one thing that I do think about is after the game. There is going to be one winner and there is going to be one that is going to be totally disappointed. My thoughts go to that one that will not experience the thrill of victory," Jack Harbaugh said. "That's where our thoughts will be."
Harbaugh explained that he and Jackie had a "dry run" on how to handle the postgame last season when the Niners lost at Baltimore on Thanksgiving night.
After leaving an office in the stadium where they watched the game — in private and emotionless — the first locker room they walked past was that of the Ravens.
"We've all experienced that excitement of victory-guys jumping up and down, the smile on John's face. They were just ecstatic. ... Then you realize that you're not needed here," Jack said. "You walk across the hall, and you went into the 49ers locker room and you walked and you saw the players walking about — that look in their eyes, that look of not being successful and coming up short. We opened up a couple doors and finally saw Jim all by himself in this room, just a table and a chair. He was still in his coaching outfit. His head down in his hands and you looked into his eyes and you realized that this where you're needed as a parent.
"Every single parent can identify with that," he continued. "On Sunday night, we're going to experience both of those great emotions. Our thoughts will be with the one that comes up a little short."
Now comes the second act in New Orleans, which happens to be the home of another set of parents who can relate to watching NFL games involving two of their sons on opposing teams: the Mannings.