"She just stared at the screen," he said. "Not a word was spoken. And at the end of the game, it was just over."
They'll experience the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat — all at once. A 75-yard touchdown pass that would be reason to stand up and cheer for one son is another son's horrible defensive lapse.
"I am going to be neutral in the game," Jackie Harbaugh said. "I know one is going to win and one is going to lose, but I would really like to end in a tie. Can the NFL do that?"
CBS Sports President Sean McManus said there will be a pregame feature about the familial battle. It would be hard to argue otherwise; no matter how much the brothers want to downplay it, it's a unique situation. But McManus said CBS would try not to let it dominate its coverage of the game.
Given the need for the coaches' parents to stay neutral, longtime TV critic David Bianculli said he wondered how much of a story it will be visually for CBS. If they really maintain impassive faces, how much will viewers want to see them on the screen?
"I would advise them to pay attention to the field, more than anything else," said Bianculli, who teaches about television for Rowan University.
A stone face is a story, too, Michaels said. The only question is how much a producer should go back to the shot.
He said he can't imagine CBS not knowing where the couple is. If they're out in public, the network will likely keep a close eye on their reactions.
"As a producer or a director in this kind of a situation, it's incumbent upon you to know where every element of the story is because you never know how it's going to evolve," Michaels said.
Finding the right approach ultimately shouldn't be much of a problem for CBS, he said.
"It's a little bit of a distraction at times," he said. "But they'll figure out the best way to deal with it. The pictures won't lie."
AP Sports Writer Janie McCauley in San Francisco contributed to this report.