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Breaking Down the HarBowl: Jim vs. John

Jeremy Dorn | January 29, 2013 | Lifestyle Story City Life

The biggest story line will be on the sideline at Super Bowl XLVII this Sunday. It’s going to be the inevitable, sure-to-be memorable, second-ever meeting between older brother John Harbaugh of the Ravens, and younger brother Jim Harbaugh of the 49ers.

So who has the edge on Sunday between the Harbaugh brothers? Let’s check out the tale of the tape:

Playoff appearances

Jim: 2
John: 5
Advantage: John. If you think that appearances are as valuable as actual wins. Otherwise, Jim's done better, winning the same percentage (67%) of games as John in one-fourth of the contests. But, John has been in the playoff pressure-cooker much longer. Either way, they're both studs: Neither has ever missed the playoffs in his head coaching career.

Regular season wins

Jim: 76.4%
: 67.4%
Advantage: Jim. Who has been a revelation in two seasons, winning 13 games in his rookie season and 11 this year. John’s no slouch either, as the Ravens have racked up an average of almost 11 wins per season since he arrived in 2008.

Head-to-head wins

Jim: 0
: 1
Advantage: John. This one is self-explanatory. There is no fairer way to compare coaches than their head-to-head record. And the brothers have only met once (Thanksgiving, 2011 season), a 16-6 victory for John and the Ravens.

Coaching style

Jim: Loud, manic, dangerous
John: Friendly, quiet, safe
Advantage: Push. They may seem like polar opposites on the sideline, as Jim leads with bravado and intimidation, while John takes the more nurturing, respectful approach. But both are rooted in being motivational, fundamentally smart leaders.

City represented

Jim: San Francisco, CA
John: Baltimore, MD
Advantage: Jim. If HBO's The Wire taught us anything, Baltimore is a terrifying cesspool of civic failure, urban detritus, and post-industrial malaise. San Francisco, as Full House showed us, is an innocent and family-friendly (if untraditional) utopia.


Jim: Sourdough Sam
John: Poe the Raven
Advantage: Jim. Ravens are non-migratory birds...but if they were, they'd get the heck out of Baltimore. Plus, they are a dark literary omen for death and despair. Whereas Sourdough Sam is a rough n' tumble miner, just hoping to stumble upon a gold Super Bowl nugget.

Playing career

Jim: Quarterback at University of Michigan, NFL QB for 14 seasons
John: Defensive back at Miami of Ohio University
Advantage: Jim. He was a Heisman-worthy signal caller in college, and came within a few plays of leading Indianapolis to the Super Bowl in the NFL. Jim can more easily relate to his players as they face the pressure of the biggest game of their lives.

Big decision in 2012

Jim: Benched Alex Smith in favor of Colin Kaepernick
John: Fired Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron, promoted Jim Caldwell
Advantge: Jim. Kaepernick has just been scrambling and passing his way into the record books ever since. And even though the offensive scheme wasn’t working under Cameron, the personnel on the field is much more vital to a team’s success than a coordinator.

Team itself

Jim: 11-4-1, #2 seed in NFC, NFC West champions two years in a row, #3 defense in NFL
John: 10-6, #4 seed in AFC, AFC North champions two years in a row
Advantage: Jim. Because he has the more athletic quarterback, better defense, and explosive play calling. Don't underestimate the veteran savvy of the Ravens, although in our (biased) opinion, the Niners have the edge in this game.

Overall category victories

Jim: 6-2-1
John: 2-6-1
Advantage: Jim. If our expert analysis is any indication, the 49ers should be hoisting the Lombardi Trophy in New Orleans this Sunday.

What do you think will happen? Do the 49ers bring home their sixth Super Bowl title? Or does the older brother strike again and lead the Ravens to victory? Tweet us @sanfranmag and let us know your predictions!

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