Harbaugh brothers still get help from their dad

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Andrea Kremer’s excellent profile of Ravens coach John Harbaugh and 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh on the latest episode of HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel discloses that the brothers-turned-NFL-coaches are getting a little extra help in their jobs.

Their father, Jack, still reviews film and gives them advice.

Unlike most fathers of NFL coaches, Jack Harbaugh is uniquely positioned to help his sons:  He worked as a college football coach for 43 years.  And so Jack Harbaugh responds with “pages and pages of handwritten analysis” of the tapes, after waiting anxiously with the door to his house open for the UPS truck every Monday at 10:00 a.m.

It’s the least Jack Harbaugh can do, given that he credits his sons for saving college football at Western Kentucky.  With the program crumbling, Jim worked as an unpaid assistant while still playing in the NFL, helping attract a higher level of recruits to the school.  Jim relied on John, who was working at the University of Cincinnati, for information regarding players that Jim should target.

Eventually, Western Kentucky went from the brink of extinction to Division I-AA national champion.

Jack Harbaugh got choked up on camera while talking about the moment that John’s Ravens upset the top-seeded Titans during the 2008 playoffs.  “The first emotion is, is how excited you feel,” Jack Harbaugh says in a review copy of the show that was forwarded to PFT by HBO.  “And then all at once it just hit me.  I mean, just boom, it just hit me.  What a tremendous job this young man did.  And how he was able to hold that team together.  And then I was ready to go up and smile and I turned around and looked right into his eyes.  And he looked at me, and he had this big smile on his face.  And all at once I just thought to myself, God how proud I am.  And I lost it.

“To see something you did for 43 years, and to see them do it better. . . .”

The funniest moment during the interview came when John explained that Jim once beaned a female player while pitching in youth baseball.  “Jim fires a fastball,” John said.  “He was a little bit bigger than everybody else.  [He] fires a fastball and hits her right in the middle of the back.”

John Harbaugh is openly laughing as he continues.  “Everybody starts booing.  The fans, the parents start booing.  ‘Get him off the mound.  He’s a big bully, what’s the matter with that kid?'”

Says Jim in his own defense:  “She was crowding the plate.”

The show debuts Tuesday, July 19 at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT.

10 responses to “Harbaugh brothers still get help from their dad

  1. Hitting people with baseballs are both my proudest and saddest moments…..Once I was pitching to a registered sex offender who was trying to date my sister, and I hit him in the lower back with a two-seam fastball….it wasn’t intentional, but it was still rewarding…..

    And once during warmups I went to throw a ball deep into the outfield to one of the OFers, but the ball stuck to my fingertips and I ended up putting all my strength behind a throw that hit a teammate in the infield directly in the lower back….I have never felt worse, or stupider, in my life.

    He was like “Jesus man, why didn’t you say heads up or something?” and I was said “If I did you would have turned around and got it in the nuts.”

    Didn’t make him feel better.

  2. I sure wish my old man was still alive so I could get advice from him. I seldom appreciated it (or him) when I was younger and now it’s too damn late.

    Good for the Harbaugh boys for sticking with their dad!

  3. Whatever advice he is giving on the Steelers when Roethlisberger works well pops . Keep up the good work . The Steelers appriciate it .

  4. Some coaches actually have to come in and build a team, takes time to build (even with 3 playoff appearances with a rookie QB). Not everyone can come into a super bowl team that Bill Cowher built like Tomlin. “steeltownpride” Probably lives in Baltimore like the majority of “Steeler Nation”. Can’t wait for the first game of the year, bunch of punks…

  5. hahahaha….ask jimbo kelly if jim harbaugh ever tried to be a tuff guy when he (kelly) was near by. to this day harbaugh steers CLEAR of kelly. you don`t mess with pennsylvania cole mining town dudes that play football. TUFF AS NAILS.

  6. thanks to coach Jack for everything he brought to WKU football program…go ‘Toppers

  7. “tuff as nails”…. Riiiiiiiiiight, I drove there for a game a couple years back. All I saw was coffee shops and ugly women getting their hair cut, not to mention the smell there, Pittsburgh is the armpit of America

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