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Harbaugh parents beam as sons prep for Super Bowl duel

8:44 PM, Jan 30, 2013   |    comments
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By Gary Mihoces, USA TODAY Sports

NEW ORLEANS - Jack and Jackie Harbaugh, parents of the coaching brothers who will collide in Super Bowl XLVII, provided their own rousing warm-up act at the start of their press conference Wednesday.

"Someone asked us how we will feel on this historic event," said Jack, veteran of 43 years of coaching at high schools and colleges.

"Jackie, wh-o-o-o has it better than us?" he shouted.

"N-o-o-body!" the husband and wife followed in unison in a ballroom packed with media.

That call and response has been the family mantra since sons Jim and John were kids. Now, the sons are awaiting the game between John's Baltimore Ravens and Jim's San Francisco 49ers.

The parents weren't satisfied that the media thrown didn't join in the "N-o-o-body" response. Jack and Jackie gave it another try.

"Wh-o-o has it better than us?" shouted Jackie.

The media joined along with a "No-o-body" that was unusually lively and loud for a press conference gathering

"You don't know how unbelievable that is to get the reporters to do anything," said Kevin Byrne, vice president of communications for the Ravens and emcee of the event.

Then came the questions for the parents, both in their 70s, who live in the Milwaukee area.

Have they gotten any inside information this week from either son about the game?

Jack answered that by quoting former Michigan Coach Bo Schembechler, under whom he worked in the 1970s. Schembechler always said, "Loose lips sink ships," a World War II slogan.

"They (the sons) subscribe to that philosophy. So no one talks to anyone," said Jack. "Jim is very quiet and guarded, and John is very quiet and guarded, and that's exactly the way we want it."

How does the thrill of this Super Bowl compare to their other family experiences.

Jackie said the births of their children and grandchildren take the cake.

"And this is like frosting on the cake for our family," she said.

They know one so will win and one will lose. Jackie joked a week ago that she was rooting for a tie. Of course, there are no Super Bowl ties.

"I think the NFL changed that rule. I think if it ends in a tie, it will be a tie," said Jackie.

The parents said both sons have had one request for their parents in recent phone chats.

"Both of them have shared this with us: 'Mom and dad, please promise us that you will enjoy this, enjoy this experience. That's all we're asking.' ... And we're trying. I promise you we're trying,'' said Jack.

USA TODAY Sports

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