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Harbaugh parents will stay neutral at Super Bowl

By JANIE McCAULEY, AP Sports Writer Published: January 25, 2013
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“I felt that was a joyful moment for them, for our whole family, our extended family and for my father, who is 97 years old,” she said. “Great feeling of joy. I am going to be neutral in the game, and 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?”

If only it could finish that way.

And don't count on Jack doing any in-game analysis, or to start guessing which team might have the edge in any given phase.

“I'm only neutral on that,” he said. “I don't look for body language. I am not really a coach anymore. I am a spectator and a parent. When I had the chance to watch over the weekend, all of those parents of those players that were competing and the thrill of watching their youngsters compete at that level, all of the coaches involved, their careers, how they all started out in high school and college, and now they are in the NFL and competing for this ultimate prize. I think more as a parent now than I do as a coach, and I don't really get involved in those other things.”

Unless one of his kids tries to pull a fast one, that is.

John Harbaugh produced a little prank of his own during his parents' NFL-organized conference call Thursday morning.

“John in Baltimore,” the moderator said, announcing the next person up for a turn to ask a question.

“Is it true that both of you like Jim better than John?” John chirped, before getting figured out fast by his sister.

Jackie had begun speaking with, “We do not.”

“Hey, John, how are you?” Joani replied.

“Is that John?” Jackie asked.

After a quick greeting, he was off to practice.

“Love you both, love you Joani,” John said.

Back to game-planning. And 3,000 miles away on a rainy day in the Bay Area, Jim, too, was busy gearing up.

And, for everybody getting a kick out of those catchy “Harbowl” and “Superbaugh” nicknames for the game, the parents ask that it be kept simple and authentic.

“Jack Harbaugh here, I prefer it to be called the Lombardi Trophy winner,” he said.

Added his wife, “I prefer it to be called the Super Bowl.”

San Francisco safety Donte Whitner is prepared for all the back and forth of the Harbaugh family affair for another week.

“Oh, man, I know that they're very proud, I know that either way they're going to feel for the one that loses and they're going to be happy for the other,” Whitner said. “But at the end of the day, they're all family, and you bring a Super Bowl ring back to the family.”


Read the rest of the story on Oklahoman.com
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