Harbaugh Family: Jackie—Mom, Realtor & Rock
Super Bowl XLVII pits the 49ers' Jim Harbaugh against the Ravens' John Harbaugh. Patch shares the story of the Harbaugh family leading into Super Bowl Sunday.
She'll be a proud mom on Sunday.
She already is.
But if history serves as a precursor, she'll also be intensely nervous.
Jackie Harbaugh has been here once before—watching sons Jim and John square off as NFL coaches in a Thanksgiving Day game in 2011. Jackie and her husband, Jack, watched the game from a television, out of the view of network television cameras, while their sons coached before a national audience.
"I’ve never seen Jackie experience that in a ballgame. I mean she was nearly comatose," Jack said in a nationwide media conference call recently. "She just starred at the screen, there was no facial emotion whatsoever, just a blank stare into the screen, not a word was spoken and at the end of the game, it was just over."
John's Ravens defeated Jim's 49ers, but life went on after that memorable game.
Sunday will be different. This is the Super Bowl.
But Jackie, and the rest of the Harbaughs, will remain neutral as best they can.
"We are neutral in the Super Bowl, and we are just excited that they have brought their teams to the pinnacle of sports," she said. "The Super Bowl is the ultimate accomplishment for them and for their teams and for all of the extended football family and all of the teams who have participated in this great game. We are excited for that type of thing."
When the key moments come to fruition Sunday, television cameras may seek out Jack. But the rest of the Harbaughs will be focused on Jackie, much as they have from the very beginning.
"One thing about it, the rock of our family is Jackie. There’s no question about it," Jack Harbaugh said. "She did all the heavy lifting. In our career, a 43 year coaching career, we moved 17 times and she was the one that sold the house, bought the house, enrolled the kids in school, took the kids out of school. She was the one."
She also served as the driver, the teacher and the glue.
"We left early in the morning before the sun came up, came home at night after the sun went down. We were in the educational business with other youngsters in our extended family, Jackie is the one that did the heavy lifting in our family," Jack said. "She deserves all of the credit."
While Sunday will prove stressful at times, Jackie Harbaugh is in her glory around her family.
"I feel blessed having two great [daughters-in-law] and a wonderful son-in-law and that's Tom [Crean] and Ingrid [Harbaugh], who is John’s wife, and Sarah, Jim’s wife, and we’re so blessed to have 10 grandchildren that we have a lot of fun with," she said.
The family is now extensive under the matriarch, but on Sunday, she'll be watching her two boys closely.
In her eyes, though, the pinnacle was two weeks ago. She's hoping there's a way this Sunday can replicate the joy she felt with her sons simply reaching the Super Bowl.
"I felt that was a joyful moment for them, for our whole family, our extended family and for my father who is 97 years old. [It was] great feeling of joy," she said. "I am going to be neutral in the game, and I know one is going to win and one is going to lose, but I would really like to end in a tie. Can the NFL do that?"