For perhaps the first time in his sporting life, Jack Harbaugh will go into a football game without a plan.
There will be no calculated schemes or strategies when he walks into the Superdome in New Orleans for Super Bowl XLVII to find his two sons facing one another in the biggest moment of their coaching careers.
It's a scene Jack Harbaugh -- the 73-year-old father to John and Jim -- won't allow himself to create until it's time. Instead, he'll allow the moment when everything comes together in all of its star-studded glory to dictate his emotions rather than scripting his feelings like he had an offensive game plan so many times during his coaching career.
But in that instant just before kickoff, Jack and Jackie Harbaugh may -- if only for a second -- allow themselves to bask in what that moment means to their family. Then they'll step back again and allow the two Harbaugh coaches on the field to do what they do.
And yet admittedly, the game will be different than any other the couple, married for 51 years, has witnessed, providing another scrapbook memory in a football life that is already full of them.
"It's really an emotional experience," Jack Harbaugh told ThePostGame. "The last few days, I've really come to the conclusion that we're parents -- Jackie and I -- and we've gone through this process with no book and really, it's been by the seat of your pants. You raise your children and do the best you can and hope for the best results."
So even on Super Bowl Sunday -- when the Ravens, coached by John Harbaugh, face the 49ers, coached by Jim Harbaugh -- life will move ahead unscripted.
At some point, Jackie -- the woman whom Jack refers to as a the rock of the Harbaugh family -- will undoubtedly devise a plan.
She's the one who executed a plan each of the 16 times the Harbaugh family moved during Jack’s coaching career. She's the one who bought and sold the houses, the one who made sure all of the details were taken care. She will again spring into action.
She'll figure out where the couple's 10 grandchildren and her 97-year-old father, will sit -- not to mention how all of the siblings and various family members will be assembled in time for kickoff.
But in the midst of all of the planning that's needed when the time comes, there will also be a moment of calm, when the reality of the all-Harbaugh Super Bowl finally sinks in.
Then, Jack says, he will finally exhale.
“We'll just be watching and enjoying and living in this moment,” Jack says.
“Because one thing we learned from last Thanksgiving is that this is not about us. It’s not about Jack and Jackie Harbaugh -- it's about them.”
If anything good came out of the first time John and Jim Harbaugh faced one another on the field in November 2011, it's that it provided their parents with a plan.
In the weeks leading up the regular-season meeting, the two brothers swapped many of the same stories they will again, repeating -- as they have already -- that this isn't about them.Full Story >>