Super Bowl coaches stiff-arm "Harbowl" storyline

San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh and Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh participate in a news conference for the NFL Super Bowl XLVII football game Friday, Feb. 1, 2013, in New Orleans.
AP Photo/Mark Humphrey

All week long, John has been billed as the warmer, funnier Harbaugh with Jim cast as the curt, almost curmudgeonly brother.

Yeah, that's pretty much right.

The Harbaugh brothers shared the stage for a joint news conference Friday morning and immediately reinforced the impressions the world has of them.

"Hi, how you guys doing? Welcome and thanks for coming. Just want to start by saying what an honor it is for both of us to be here, with each other. What an exciting moment it is, but even more for our families," John said, pointing out the Harbaugh parents in the audience along with their grandfather, a cousin and an uncle, and then spending a few minutes detailing his Baltimore Ravens schedule for the day.

After his minute-long opening statement, John turned the mic over to Jim.

"I concur," Jim said, drawing laughs.

While Sunday's Super Bowl between John's Ravens and Jim's San Francisco 49ers has been billed as "The Harbowl," the brothers have only reluctantly gone along with the storyline. When a reporter noted that both brothers had made risky mid-season decisions — John fired offensive coordinator Cam Cameron while Jim dumped quarterback Alex Smith for Colin Kaepernick — and asked if that could be traced back to their childhoods, Jim ignored the question, talking about his players instead.

"The way our players have played, to me, that is why we're here," Jim finally said. "Not because of any coaching decisions or the way we were when we were kids. It's really a credit to those men, and we're looking forward to game."

Appearing Friday on "CBS This Morning," the Harbaugh parents said that for now, they are focused on enjoying the moment.

"The message that John and Jim gave us both on different occasions," Jackie explained, "was 'Please Mom and Dad, enjoy this,' and we're really trying."

For her part, Jackie said that once the game starts, "they will be so well prepared ... I will relax and enjoy the game." Still, she joked that come Sunday, the reality may differ from expectations. "My daughter at home is saying, 'Sure, right,'" Jackie said of the unrealistic prospect that she will be relaxed come game time.

When asked what "philosophical commonalities" the brothers share, Jim replied, "I'd be hard pressed to spell philosophical right now."

John was more willing to play along with the fascination surrounding the family this week. He told how he and his brother had built a hockey goal out of chicken wire when they were about 13 — John is 15 months older — and broke all the windows in the garage. He gave a glimpse at what their conversations are like during the season — "Just normal personal stuff any two brothers would talk about. That's 95-plus percent of our conversations" — and talked of how agonizing it was to watch his brother when he was an NFL quarterback.

But John is still a Harbaugh, as was clear when he was asked if he and his brother might forego the traditional postgame handshake and hug instead.

"I have given absolutely no consideration to a postgame handshake or bear hug or anything else," John said. "Jim, have you?"

"I have not," Jim replied.

Someone asked the brothers if they could work together if either should be forced out of their current post.

John Harbaugh said, "There's no question about it." He said the brothers discussed the possibility

in the past, but "it never really worked out, timing-wise."

He said he would work for Jim, or hire Jim.

Jim Harbaugh says he would also enjoy working with his brother.

Jim's son, Jay, currently works for John as a coaching intern with the Ravens.