Super Bowl 2013 Coaches’ Press Conference: “What Have You Learned From Your Mom?”
Unless you have been living under a rock for the past two weeks (or just arrived from another planet), you probably know that this year’s Super Bowl not only matches up the 49ers and the Ravens, but two brothers, John (Ravens) and Jim (49ers). The Harbaughs are also the son of coaching legend Jack Harbaugh, who along with his wife Jackie held his own press conference yesterday. Yes, this is the Super Bowl. Everything and everybody gets a press conference.
Friday morning at 8:30 a.m. Central Time -- that is damn early in New Orleans especially for the many media folks (not me) who were at the EA Madden blowout with Big Boi and Li’l Wayne on Thursday night -- the Super Bros held a first of its kind press conference. For thirty minutes, the Harbaughs held court at the media center, talking about their experiences and answering questions from the throngs of reporters from around the world (and around the internet).
If you didn’t see it, don’t worry. We were there to bring you all the highlights and a few extra nuggets of snark.
Before we get to the press conference, let’s take care of some important business. How about we set some over/under prop bets? How many mentions of “Dad” or “Jack Harbaugh”? I’ll set the over/under at 10 and take the over. How many mentions of “Family”? I think Vegas has taken that one off the board. What about “Competition”? Let’s set that at five (and also take the over). And will someone ask Jim Harbaugh about being Ray Lewis’ very first sack victim in the NFL? If I were a betting woman, I’d say $100 pays $80 on that one.
Since we’re in New Orleans (and it’s five o’clock somewhere), we can also play a Super Bros Presser drinking game, where you drink every time they mention one of the bingo buzzwords -- Dad, Jack, Jackie, Mom, Family, Competition, Honor. (I would advise strongly against the drinking game. It’s still early even by New Orleans standards and it’s probably best to pace yourself).
8:30 a.m. - John kicks off (see what I did there?) with a boring opening statement about what an honor it is to be here and how exciting this moment is. (*yawn*)
8:32 a.m. - We have our first reference to dad Jack and mom Jackie. Drink!
8:33 a.m. - Shoutout to Grandpa Joe! The Harbaugh’s grandfather Joe Sepidi is 97 years old and here in New Orleans for the game. That is impressive. Uncle Bob Sepidi and cousin Chad are also in the house. John asks, “Any other family members out there?”
8:34 a.m. - John says that today’s practice will be just like any other practice. “It will be a normal Friday practice with things we do on Friday, and we’ll be moving on from there.” Jim responds. “I concur.”
Heads up: we may have a late entry into the Super Bros Press Conference Bingo Buzzword Drinking Game - “concur.” Proceed with caution.
8:36 a.m. - An intrepid reporter asks which one of the brothers was the risky/gutsiest growing up. Jim mentions competition.
(Checks Buzzword Bingo list - yup. That’s your cue to drink!)
8:39 a.m. - Jim talks about a big game earlier in the season with Alex Smith and Randy Moss making big plays. Remember Alex Smith? Good times, good times. Also, just a friendly reminder that Randy Moss is back in the Super Bowl. Jim concludes: “The way our players have played, that is why we’re here, not because of any coaching decisions or any way that we were when we were kids. Really a credit to those men, and looking forward to the game.
8:40 a.m. - “I concur.” - John Harbaugh
8:41 a.m. - Here’s a good question about whether the brothers could work together. Jim doesn’t even hesitate. “Definitely, I would work for him.” John immediately responds. “I concur.” (DING DING DING! We have a new buzzword).
8:43 a.m. - John shows some brotherly love. “You always try to get great coaches, and there are none better than Jim Harbaugh, and I mean that seriously. There’s no better coach in the National Football League than this guy right here.” Aw, brotherly love is awesome.
8:44 a.m. - Jim actually has another suggestion for a great coach. “Jack Harbaugh.” DRINK.
8:44 a.m. - Jim talks about working with his dad at Western Kentucky and at the University of San Diego as well as at Stanford. That’s three mentions of “Dad” and/or “Jack” in one answer. Take an extra drink.
8:45 a.m. - We have another reference to Jack and Jackie. It's 8:45 a.m. and I'm already drunk (if I were drinking, of course).
Super Bros Press Conference Buzzword Bingo Update: four references to “Jack” or “Dad”, three “concur”, two “Jackies”, one “honor”, one “competition.”
8:46 a.m. - A reporter asks a question which includes a specific reference to Jack in the question. That's a shot, my friends.
8:47 a.m. - It’s a cruel cruel world. One of these brothers will lose on Sunday. Have they thought about the disappointment? John says that he has thought about it. Then mentions hard work, competition (drink!), adversity and disappointment. I guess checking one off the Buzzword Bingo list isn’t terrible.
8:49 a.m. - Awwww, here’s a question about whether John wants to protect his younger brother. I think we all have an idea of what the answer is going to be. (Spoiler alert: John said no.)
Bonus points for use of “Band of Brothers” in John’s response. Take an optional shot for that one. (Band of Brothers is an outstanding mini-series. Highly recommend. And you get to see Damian Lewis before he became a terrorist in 'Homeland'.)
8:50 a.m. - There’s some talk about being from Toledo. Honestly, I have nothing to add or say about this. Let’s just move on.
8:51 a.m. - Someone asks a question about the players rising to the moment. Right, because if they weren’t playing the Super Bowl they wouldn’t give a damn. The best way to come at this weaksauce is with some skilled cliche speak. John Harbaugh brings it.
“It’s going to be 60 minutes of great football, because you’ve got two fundamentally very sound football teams playing whose total focus is on this one moment, this one game. Within that plays will come. Plays will come to guys and guys will make plays. The guys that make those plays will end up winning the game.” Brilliant stuff, John. Top notch. Bravo.
8:52 a.m. - When asked about their commonalities and differences in philosophies, Jim brings a funny. “Philosophical commonalities? I would be hard-pressed to spell philosophical right now.” John follows quickly with “I know he can’t spell commonalities.”
And that concludes your spelling humor portion of the Super Bros press conference.
8:53 a.m. - Now we have a question about whether we’ll see the first post-game Super Bowl “bear hug.” Really, dude? This is what you’re asking about? *sigh* John shuts that weak question down faster than Ray Lewis shuts down prosecutor questions.
“I’ve given absolutely no consideration to the postgame handshake or bear hug or anything else. I haven’t thought about that for one second. Have you, Jim?” Shocker, Jim concurs. “I have not.”
8:54 a.m. - In case you were worried about the next generation of Harbaugh boys continuing the coaching legacy, have no fear. Jim’s son, Jay, is working for the Ravens this season. GASP.
Jim, ever the proud father, has nothing but gracious things to say. “I’m really really thankful and proud at the same time that Jay is doing what he loves to do. That is a real blessing and he’s doing it with the Baltimore Ravens with a tremendous organization, great coaches around to mentor him and to teach him, especially John being there and hiring him and I hear he’s doing a phenomenal job which again I’m really proud of.” Aw, Jim Harbaugh, proud papa.
8:55 a.m. - Another Jack Harbaugh reference in the question. I can’t keep track anymore. Time to drink. Again.
8:56 a.m. - Lots of mentions of pride and proud. So proud. Ooh there’s a mention of competition and competing. Drink up!
8:55 a.m. - On a serious note, there’s a question about how important the game is to the city of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and whether the players feed off the energy.
John is the first to respond. “ I think our guys really understand the whole dynamic here, just like everybody does. Everybody in America understands (Hurricane) Katrina and New Orleans and the renaissance as you put it and all those things.”
Jim talks about how great the staff has been at their hotel (the Marriott on Canal Street). "I like the way they talk." BREAKING: Jim Harbaugh is a sucker for a southern drawl.
8:57 a.m. - Family reference! DRINK ALL OF THE DRINKS.
8:58 a.m. - We have another reference to Jack (how many is that? I think it’s around 237).
8:58 a.m. - The best question of the press conference is here. “What have you learned from your mother that you’ve applied in your coaching careers?” YES. Time for Jackie to get some props. And the Super Bros do not disappoint.
Jim answers first. “There is no one in the family who has more competitive fire than my mother. She competes like a maniac.” (Anybody else immediately think of the song from “Flashdance”? No? Just me? Ok then.)
“She took us to games and played catch with us, shot baskets with us, and just believed in us,” Jim said. Jackie Harbaugh, MVP of the family.
8:59 a.m. - John continued to praise his mom. “She basically made it very clear that we were to have each other’s back no matter what, and that was our mom. She was with us every day. Dad worked a lot...There were a lot of things going on in our world during the ‘70s, and mom was always tuned in on those kinds of things and brought up conversation that helped make us well-rounded people as we grew up.”
One thing is clear: the Harbaugh boys love their mom. It’s really cool to see.
9:00 a.m. - It wouldn’t be Super Bowl week without talking about Mike Ditka. As you might remember, Ditka coached the legendary 1985 Bears to their Super Bowl win over the Patriots right here at the Superdome in 1986. Good times, good times.
But back to the press conference. A reporter asks Jim about what he took from his experience playing for Ditka in Chicago. “I look back on that, and what do they mean to me with shaping the rest of my life with the Chicago Bear organization and the people I met there and what the organization and Coach Ditka did for me? I don’t think there is a percentage to put on it. Those were signature years for me.”
When the subject of Jim’s interception on an audible resulted in Ditka’s public berating of the quarterback on the sidelines, Jim didn’t even hesitate. “It was more than fair. I shouldn’t have thrown the interception. Still kicking myself for that.”
Yes, I think Jim Harbaugh might be a bit of a perfectionist. Just a hunch.
9:02 a.m. The final question of the Super Bros press conference is a rambling and nearly incomprehensible question about whether close relationships with their players helped get the coaches to the Super Bowl. It’s actually the perfect last question, setting up the brothers perfectly for some good cliches and talk about Jack. That works for me.
Let’s have John bring us home. “What brought us here is guys playing really well and playing good football games. Just like they do, we have a rough, tough, hard-playing football team that made plays when they had to.” Strong cliche work, John.
Let’s wrap this up for one final homage to Jack Harbaugh. “We learned growing up that if you’re going to be a teacher, all great teachers make it about their students, right? Our dad told us that coaches are teachers first, which I know that they are.”
Take a final drink in honor of Jack Harbaugh.
And that wraps up the Super Bros Press Conference. In a stunner, nobody asked Jim about being the first sack victim of Ray Lewis. Maybe that’s why I don’t actually gamble.
Thanks for playing and reading along with the Super Bros Bingo Buzzwords Drinking Game. You might want to seek emergency medical attention.