Jack Harbaugh should have suspected the grander scope of his new public life when the satirical web site The Onion did a story about him rooting for Tom Brady to win another Super Bowl and that Bill Belichick was by far the best coach in football. Two days before the AFC Championship.
And let’s face it. When The Onion comes calling to borrow your name, you’re a big deal. Unless, of course, your name is “Area Man.”
But as the family did their national conference call today (bend that around your head a moment), there was a piece of me that hoped they would say, “You know, I think we’ll just watch the game at home.”
[RELATED: Harbaugh family conference call transcript]
Home is Mequon, Wisconsin, a long way in almost every conceivable category from New Orleans. Home is where the snacks and bevvies are plentiful and not expensive, where there are no crowds or cameras or reporters demand their up-to-the-minute thoughts on David Akers lining up from the 43-yard-line for this important kick.
You know, where they can enjoy the game as a family would. That would be so very Harbaughtastic.
They won’t, it appears. They’ll be in the maelstrom, wearing neutral colors and being inundated by a world’s prying eyes. It will be in many ways an artificial experience that could actually be ruined by moving their living room to the Superdome.
This, though, is the belly of the American cultural beast, and the memories of a week spent eating rich food and fighting off hotel air conditioners and the adrenaline rushes is just an experience not to be missed. We don’t want to speak for what Jack, Jackie and Joani want to take from this experience.
But, well, we do. The family has, in all public appearances, been gracious, kind and generous throughout, but you have to wonder if every once in a while, Jackie gets a phone call at an inopportune moment and snarls annoyedly at Jack, “It’s somebody from the Morning Zoo at Radio Kazakhstan . . . you said you could give them 15 minutes at 3 AM. You idiot.”
In sum, their Super Bowl experience will be like none other. The only way they can be happy is if there is a tie (and while Jackie mused on that possibility in the conference presser, there can’t be). They can come close if the family puts a few quid on the Ravens getting the points, and they lose but cover. John will still be unhappy, but you can’t please everyone.
And they’ll be sharing it with the planet. You can’t beat that with a stick.
Still, there would be something cool and perfectly Harbaugh about them deciding to sit it out and stay home. Or, more practically, to watch it at the hotel and then come over when the game is almost over, just for the peace and quiet. I mean, they’re entitled to have their Super Bowl their way, whatever way that happens to be.
Besides, now that Jack’s favorite team, the Patriots, is out, he might not find the Super Bowl quite so compelling. Hey, if The Onion says it, you know it’s true. Or as true as anything can be these days.