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Harbaugh versus Harbaugh -- the tale of the tape

FootballBaltimore RavensNFLJim HarbaughSan Francisco 49ersAFC

In case you hadn’t heard, Ravens head coach John Harbaugh and his baby bro, San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh, will become the first brothers to duke it out as dueling head coaches in the Super Bowl.

Those two have been peppered with countless questions about each other since earning their trips to New Orleans. But that’s nothing compared to being stacked up against each other for five decades.

With apologies in advance to John Harbaugh, who as a rule refuses to answer comparison questions, here is a look at how John and Jim measure up in our Tale of the Tape, though I guess winning Sunday’s Super Bowl is what really matters. The Harbaugh boys were evaluated in 10 categories, deciding which brother wins overall.

PLAYING CAREER

Jim started 140 games at quarterback in the NFL, throwing 129 career touchdown passes. He was selected to the Pro Bowl in 1995, the same season he was named the NFL Comeback Player of the Year. John played defensive back at Miami of Ohio, but soon after he joined the coaching ranks. Advantage: Jim.

WORKING FOR POPS

After graduating from Miami, John joined his father, Jack, at Western Michigan, where Jack was the head coach. During his final eight years in the NFL, Jim was an unpaid assistant coach for Jack at Western Kentucky, scouting and recruiting players while he was still playing in the league. Advantage: Jim.

ROUTE TO THE NFL

John climbed his way through the college ranks then joined Andy Reid's staff in Philadelphia, where he was special teams coordinator then defensive backs coach. The Ravens hired him as head coach in 2008. Jim's rise was more rapid, coaching quarterbacks with the Oakland Raiders and then becoming head coach at the University of San Diego and then at Stanford before taking the 49ers job. Advantage: Push.

BALTIMORE DEBUT

After the Ravens traded for Jim before the 1998 season, Jim started their season opener, which was the first game at what is now M&T Bank Stadium, against the Pittsburgh Steelers. But Jim threw just seven passes before he left the game, a Steelers win, with an injured finger. The Ravens won John's first game as head coach in 2008, beating the Cincinnati Bengals, 17-10, at M&T Bank Stadium. Advantage: John.

RAY LEWIS CONNECTION

Jim was the victim of the linebacker’s first NFL sack, midway through Lewis' rookie season. At the other end of Lewis’ legendary career, John will coach Lewis on Sunday, his final NFL game. Advantage: John.

INCREDIBLE TURNAROUND

In 2008, John inherited a 5-11 team, won 11 games in the regular season and coached the Ravens to the AFC championship game -- with a rookie quarterback, no less. Jim took over a 6-10 team in 2011 and coached the 49ers, who were 13-3 in the regular season, to the NFC championship game. Advantage: Push.

GUTSY DECISION

After veteran starter Alex Smith, the NFL’s leader in passer rating at the time, suffered a concussion, Jim turned to second-year quarterback Colin Kaepernick and never looked back. Weeks later, in the middle of December, his Ravens in the middle of a three-game losing streak, John fired offensive coordinator Cam Cameron and replaced him with Jim Caldwell, a rookie play-caller in the pros. Advantage: Jim.

MEDIA SAVVY

John has gotten better with the Baltimore media over the years, but he is not always warm and fuzzy. Still, he laughs when he watches how prickly his brother can be in his press conferences. Advantage: John.

SUPER BOWL EXPERIENCE

John made it to Super Bowl XXXIX as an assistant with the Eagles. Jim played in an NFC title game with the Chicago Bears and an AFC title game with the Indianapolis Colts but never made it to the Super Bowl. Advantage: John.

OVERALL COACHING RESUME

John has won 67.5 percent of his regular season games and eight total playoff games, coached the Ravens to the playoffs in each of his five seasons, and made it to three AFC championship games, winning one. Jim is 24-7-1 in two regular seasons, and he has won three playoff games. Advantage: John.

THE FINAL VERDICT

Both brothers are among the NFL’s top coaches, but John’s padded pro resume -- and a little Baltimore bias -- gives him the edge over his little brother. But that will change if Jim’s 49ers beat the Ravens in the Super Bowl.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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FootballBaltimore RavensNFLJim HarbaughSan Francisco 49ersAFC
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