Harbaugh Bowl Iby Dan Salem and Todd Salem (1-28-13)
TODD:In their highly contested, supremely exciting NFC Championship game victory, the 49ers did more than earn themselves a trip to the Super Bowl. They also made me 4 for 4 on my January predictions. Boo ya!
1 - Alabama will win the National Championship by more than one score - blam!
2 - Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens will both fall short of Hall induction - wham!
3 - The NHL lockout will end and the regular season will begin before the month is out - slam!
4 - The 49ers will win the National Football Conference - squajam!
That is all.
DAN:Yes, yes, pour salt on the wound. Since January is winding down it’s fair to recap all your predictive glory, but my predictions were really just poorly chosen outcomes that didn’t happen, so let’s focus on what we both got right and embrace Super Bowl week. I bring you Harbaugh Bowl I. I went with Roman numerals to keep with tradition and make things unnecessarily confusing in an age where we count with numbers.
Brotherly competition holds a special place in my heart, as it does for you as well considering your 'kind' reminder of predictive glory. I was rooting for Tom Brady and I picked the Patriots to win, but I'm happy to see Jim and John in the big game facing off as only brothers can. Since you’re the stat guy, have two coaching brothers ever faced off in the Super Bowl? How about in the championship of the other major sports?
I was having a conversation last week about brothers in sports and there are tons in football. Family in general goes generational in the sport. We also see this in baseball, but not nearly to the same extent. And I know of at least one example in hockey with the Bourques. So we see sport families in football, baseball and hockey. But what about the NBA? I’m drawing a blank here. I know Doc Rivers' son is now playing, but that's a weak example at best. I can't think of a major family in basketball. I would attribute this to smaller rosters, less players on the court, and the overall athleticism required to play basketball. And now you tell me why I'm wrong.
TODD:The Super Bowl should have a bevy of great story lines with Ray Lewis retiring, the 49ers quarterback switch, two hard-nosed defenses and the emergence of Joe Flacco. However, I agree with you that the Harbaughs facing each other is insane and should be the definitive story going into New Orleans.
Two brothers have most certainly never coached against each other in the Super Bowl and I am almost positive two brothers have never even played against each other in such a big game either. The only example of siblings facing each other in championships in sports that comes to mind is Venus and Serena Williams playing each other in tennis majors (which happened a lot and does not get the fanfare it deserves for how amazing it was).
As for simply playing the same sport as your brother, it does happen an awful lot more than I would expect considering the accomplishment. Basketball had the Barry brothers in the late 90's and early aughts. And the Morris twins are both in the NBA, coming out of Kansas just a few seasons ago. How could you have forgotten about the Gasols? Pau and Marc are probably the best pair of brothers in any sport (talent-wise) in a long time. They are both all-stars. And next year, Tyler Zeller's brother Cody will be in the NBA. So, yes indeed, you are wrong. It does not appear as though there are fewer examples of this happening in basketball than in the other sports. Fascinating that it happens so often, though.
DAN:Oh man, the Gasols! And I forgot about the Lopez brothers, Robin and Brook. The NBA has no fewer examples of brothers, so the theory holds true. This theory is really just how DNA works, athleticism runs in the family.
Let's chalk that up to a point well made and head back to talking Harbaugh Bowl I, aka Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans where the 49ers face the Ravens. If I were Jim or John, with two full weeks to prepare for the big game, I would devote at least one full day of preparation to breaking down my sibling's tendencies, faults, habits and insecurities. Speaking from experience, Toddy, only Jim and John's parents know them better than they know one another. They are only fifteen months apart in age. That's practically twins! They built snow forts together, presumably, were on the same high school sports teams (pretend this is true for sake of argument) and may have even stolen a girlfriend or two at some point. How can you not exploit this in the biggest game of your coaching career?
My 'Brother Breakdown Day' would go something like this:
[Part two of 'Harbaugh Bowl I' on Friday]