It would be different if the NFL hadn’t contrived the Harbaugh Family Thanksgiving Special a year ago. It would be different if Johnny and Jimmy Joe Harbaugh hadn’t crossed swords and shields a year ago in Baltimore. It would be different if all the old stories about how the boys used to compete to the edge of death on a daily basis, and migrained Jack and Jackie Harbaugh on an almost daily basis hadn’t already been told and retold.
But they have been. We’ve done this one, it’s barely a year old, and there are no new stories.
Plus, the worst thing that could happen to Jim Harbaugh’s peace of mind is not a rematch with his brother and the resultant cavalcade of unchecked Harbaughiana, but the beginning of an unwinnable competition with the true face of the 49er franchise.
Yes, there’s quite a history of obsessive-compulsive hypercompetition at the Harbaugh house. Jack, a longtime football coach himself, seems like a Zen master by comparison, and Jackie Harbaugh probably refereed most of the boys’ well-known competitive excesses.
And we haven’t even gotten into the brother-in-law, Indiana basketball coach Tom Crean, who will spend the day before the Super Bowl trying to survive a home game at Assembly Hall against Michigan. So no, he won’t be a barrel of laughs before the big game, either.
But let’s try to keep this localized for the moment, and play with the notion that the 49ers and Ravens could meet in the Super Bowl. Atlanta and New England will have some debating points to express to prevent such a confluence, but run with us here.