When Jim and John Harbaugh face off during a Thanksgiving Day coaching battle royale on Thursday, their parents will be watching, but they’ll be doing so on a television. Jack and Jackie Harbaugh have watched in the past when brothers Peyton and Eli Manning have squared off on the field and the broadcast became all about their parents up in the luxury box.
That won’t be happening to the Harbaughs. The plan is for Jack and Jackie to join the brothers on the field before the game for a photo opportunity, but then they’ll be headed out to watch from somewhere else. They won’t be alone, as what once appeared prior to the season to be a Ravens rout has turned into one of the marquee games of the regular season.
Jack Harbaugh joined 105.7 The Fan in Baltimore with The Norris and Davis Show to discuss the plans for the game, getting out of the limelight, receiving game film from both teams every Tuesday, if his sons ever take his advice after breaking it down, what has made the 49ers so good this year and the scandal at Penn State.
Is it true you’re going to the stadium for pregame but you’re not staying for the game?:
“What our plan is we’re going to get there and we’d like to get a picture with Jackie and I and John and Jim. Then we want to get somewhere where the two of us can watch the game and get out of the way and allow them to compete, allow these to teams to compete and play.”
So you’re trying to get out of the limelight?:
“I remember a few years ago I watched when the Mannings opened the season one year. I’m sure it was all planned. Peyton and Eli opened and I remembered seeing the Mannings up in a press box and it seemed like the camera spent as much time on them as they did the two boys. I perceive the anguish that they felt in watching the ballgame. That’s probably misplaced, but that’s what I saw, and we made up our mind that this day is about the 49ers and about the Ravens.”
Do you really receive game tape from both teams on every Tuesday?:
“Yeah, I do. They send me the DVD. In the old days we used to use … 16mm film. But we’ve moved away from that. They send them every Tuesday at 10 o’clock. A FedEx man, a gentleman by the name of Tim, really looks forward to it. He comes down the street in the truck and jumps out of the truck with some real enthusiasm and runs them up to the door. … When John got the job here in Baltimore, he purchased a setup, a coaching station, which we have set up in our basement.”
Do they take advice from you after you break it down?:
“That’s the interesting part of it is I take the notes and I don’t ever call them. … They’re professionals; they see things. If they would call and ask about something, I’m ready. I’ve got notes; I’ve got opinions. But oftentimes, they don’t call.”
What has made the 49ers so good this year?:
“That was some very, very good football players on that team last year. Their defensive front seven is solid. They run a 3-4, the same structure that the Ravens run. … This Patrick Willis, number 52, same number as Ray Lewis, is just an outstanding linebacker. The thing they were able to do with free agency is Carlos Rogers from Washington was a tremendous addition for them … and they picked up a safety, Whitner I think his name is, from Buffalo. … Then on offense, I think the story out there is the quarterback — No. 1 draft choice Alex Smith that played for a lot of different coordinators and some different head coaches. It’s one of those things that someone said, ‘I believe in you and this is your football team.’”
On the Penn State scandal:
“It’s just devastating. Of course, I got started in the coaching profession about the same time that Joe did there at Penn State, an icon in our business. What’s happening over there is just horrifying. I think the great lesson of it all is all of us need to be on vigil and need to watch and care for those who can’t care for themselves. If any good can possibly come out of this horrifying situation is all of us take it upon ourselves to be more vigilant.”