Ravens beat Pats to set up 'Har-Bowl' in New Orleans

Ravens beat Pats to set up 'Har-Bowl' in New Orleans
January 20, 2013, 6:30 pm
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John Harbaugh's Ravens won in New England to set up the first Super Bowl coached by two brothers in NFL history. (USA TODAY IMAGES)

Evidently Jim Harbaugh was a very very VERY good lad in an earlier incarnation, because he seems always to get exactly what he wants.

Oh, he surely wanted the San Francisco 49ers to win Sunday because, well, they are his team. That done, he expressed a fervent wish that the Baltimore Ravens do as well, including a hearty, “Go Ravens!” in his press conference following the 49ers’ 28-24 victory over Atlanta in the NFL Championship Game.

[INSTANT REPLAY: 'Quest for Six' rolls on]

And so it came to pass. Of course it came to pass. Baltimore did indeed go, beating New England in Foxborough, 28-13, setting up two weeks of ceaseless yap about the brand new Harbaugh Coaching Tree, the one with one trunk and two branches.

Yes, it’s another Harbaugh Bowl, the revivification of last year’s Thanksgiving Day game only ratcheted up to unbearable levels. It means two more weeks of Jack and Jackie Harbaugh and a slew of grandchildren and nieces and nephews and cousins and third-generation-removed relatives from the Scottish Highlands.

In fact, it’s probably safe to bet that the Harbaughs will be sick of themselves no later than this coming Thursday. “Who’s got it better than us? Oh, shut up.”

It also means a football game with a high degree of mouth-meets-smash. The Ravens and 49ers are exactly that, almost as if they are coached side by side by the same man. The Ravens are older but with the same scaly exterior they wore when they last won 12 years ago, while the 49ers have humble hearts and the competitive instincts of maniacs.

Or whatever it is that Jim Harbaugh decides to turn into a soul-crushing cliché this week. 

[RATTO: New and improved 49ers looking to make their own history]

So while there are stylistic differences between Johnny and Jimmy Joe, they enjoy the same kind of team with the same kind of defensive ethos. The football, indeed, will case the teams as built from the same mold, rather than the more evident differences than San Francisco and New England would have brought to New Orleans.

There will be fevered comparisons between Ray Rice and Frank Gore, Ray Lewis and Patrick Willis, Joe Flacco and Colin Kaepernick, Torrey Smith and Michael Crabtree, even Justin Ticker and David Akers perhaps. The game may even be a wonderment of riches. You can never really tell with a Super Bowl.

But before that, it will be reduced to two men with the same mother, dominating every conversation, reducing the Super Bowl into a series of increasingly absurd anecdotes about who broke the last Lego stadium against who threw the ball that crashed through the bay window and hit the heirloom vase.

And ultimately, why Jack and Jackie won’t be done making the world safe for the Fourth of July picnic unless their son-in-law, Indiana basketball coach Tom Crean, wins the Final Four.

Which, fascinatingly enough, will be at the Georgia Dome in April – the place where Jimmy Joe got to root for older brother Johnny to turn the Super Bowl into a family reunion, with all the commercial possibilities that will doubtless ensue.

Yes, Super Bowl XLVII – the Who’s Got It Better Than Us Enterprises Bowl. It may not have the same ring as the Beef O’Brady’s Bowl, but it will do. It will have to. We’re up to our eyelids in Harbaughs, America. Live with it.

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