Jim and John Harbaugh, two of the best coaches in the NFL today, will toss aside brotherly love when they take the field in what is being dubbed as the “Harbowl.”
It isn’t an accident, though, that both of these coaches have landed in the NFL’s biggest game.
The Harbaughs both employ a very aggressive and effective style of coaching that allows for a conducive environment that helps teach and motivate their players.
Jim Harbaugh, while looking like a ticking time bomb on the sidelines during games, is actually a fun and loose coach who brings the best out of his players by keeping things interesting.
In the week leading up to the NFC Championship Game, the 49ers head coach had high school pictures installed above each of his players’ lockers. Veteran safety Donte Whitner weighed in on why he thought his coach did this (h/t Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times):
Coach really wants us to tap into what we wanted to be at that time. When you look at this picture, it's like, 'At this moment, what did I want to be?' We all look at this and we understand what we wanted to be, and where we are now.
Jim, younger by just one year to John, has repeatedly complimented his brother’s success and marveled at his accomplishments.
“I don’t think there’s any coach coaching in the game today that really has the full grasp of offense, defense, and special teams like my brother has,” Jim Harbaugh said, according to CSNBayArea.com.
The compliments, even from a younger brother, are certainly fitting considering what John Harbaugh has been able to do with the Ravens. He came in as the successor to Brian Billick and rejuvenated a franchise that had gone stale under the previous regime.
Despite his brother’s praises and vast success as the Ravens’ head coach, the elder Harbaugh hasn’t gotten the same respect as his high-profile, West Coast-based brother.
Over the past five seasons, John Harbaugh’s cool head and great football mind has helped the Baltimore Ravens to a playoff appearance and postseason victory each year. His total 61 wins—regular and postseason combined—are second of all coaches over that span only to Bill Belichick (63).
His eye for talent and ability to bring his team together has made him an integral and central figure of consistency within a team’s coaching staff that has been repeatedly changed since his arrival.
He isn’t afraid to make changes, to second guess himself and to do what he feels is best for his team.
John Harbaugh fired Cam Cameron, his offensive coordinator, with three weeks left in the regular season because he didn’t like the direction the team’s offense was going.
Likewise, brother Jim made an equally difficult decision by switching from QB Alex Smith to sophomore backup QB Colin Kaepernick late in the season.
These are the types of decisions that can cost coaches their jobs. But these two great football minds aren’t afraid of that, and trust their judgment rather than coaching scared.
That’s how it should be done, too.
You play to win the game.
These two are definitely the finest the NFL has to offer when it comes to adhering to that old adage and getting the most out of their players.