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February 2, 2013

Harbaughs could see joining forces

NEW ORLEANS — Working separately, John and Jim Harbaugh each guided their team to the Super Bowl. They will be on opposite sidelines Sunday, John as head coach of the Baltimore Ravens and Jim with the San Francisco 49ers.

Imagine how effective they could be if working together.

At their joint news conference Friday, someone asked the brothers if they would consider teaming up if either should be forced out of his current post.

“No question about it,” John said. “We’ve had that conversation in the past. It just never really worked out timing-wise. I’d love to work for Jim. It would be the greatest thing in the world.”

Jim, coach of the San Francisco 49ers, said, “Definitely, I would work for him.”

Super Bowl tradition dictates that the coaches meet with the media separately two days before the Super Bowl. That custom was altered Friday because, after all, two brothers have never before coached against each other in the Super Bowl.

Calling it “an exciting moment,” John ticked off the names of family members in attendance, including his parents. They posed for pictures with grandfather Joe Cipiti on the stage afterward, too.

Jack Harbaugh, their father, was a successful college coach. His sons followed in his footsteps, but on different paths. There was one time, however, when the routes nearly merged.

“We almost made it happen at Stanford at one time,” John said. “It would be an honor to have him on the staff. He’s a great coach. 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.”

To which Jim added, “Well, Jack Harbaugh.”

The family coaching tree could run even deeper one day. Jim’s son, Jay, works for John as a coaching intern.

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