Jack Harbaugh Remains Neutral on Michael Crabtree No-Call, Felt Tension While Watching His Sons Coach Against Each Other
Jack Harbaugh was the most talked about father on Super Bowl Sunday, and rightfully so after his two sons entered the big game coaching against each other. Jack wants to remain out of the spotlight. He also did his best to avoid answering questions that played favoritism to one of his sons, but here’s Jack’s take on the controversial no-call at the end of the Super Bowl.
Jack Harbaugh joined ESPN Chicago with Waddle & Silvy to discuss his thoughts on his two sons coaching against each other in the Super Bowl, feeling tension while watching Super Bowl XLVII, the goal-line stand by the Baltimore Ravens to seal the game, his stance on the fourth-and-goal pass intended for Michael Crabtree and his feelings during the blackout.
What are your thoughts on what transpired in Super Bowl XLVII with your sons coaching against each other?
“Well first of all, tremendous pride in what John and Jim were able to accomplish. The fact that Jackie and I were there and had a chance to be a part of it, we had so many families — our family and John and Jim’s families there. We all had a chance to get together for a few days and had a chance to realize what families are all about.”
Were you able to enjoy the Super Bowl as a whole or was there a lot of tension?
“The best word probably is tension. Leading up to the game, two weeks before the game, we had a chance to totally understand what the implications were and the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat, if you know what I mean, so to speak. Watching the game, what it was going to be like, a play is made, one side is going to feel really good and the other side is going to be very disappointed, but I don’t think we understood the ramifications of what it was going to be about as we sat and watched the game. It was no feeling I ever had in athletics and I coached 43 years and been around for the last 10 years [of] John and Jim doing what they’re doing, but it was a completely different feeling, and one where I have no explanation or I have no way to explain it.”
What are you thinking at the moment when the game came down to four plays on the goal line for the 49ers?
“Well you’re exactly right. People talked about us, about what this means on this stage, two brothers competing for the greatest prize in all of sport, but for us it wasn’t much different from when they were 5 or 6 in the backyard, or playing catch, or trying to make the junior high team, or going out for the high school team, or whether or not they’d have a chance to play in college. But it was just a part of the family, part of growing and parenting and being around your kids. For us it was the thrill of being a part of it — the goal-line stand was fantastic, but it was just one part of the game. There were so many other things that you could look at, at being the difference between victory and defeat.”
Well I feel dirty asking you this, but did you think there was a hold on that fourth-and-goal pass to Michael Crabtree?
“Well I’m not going there as you can imagine. I refuse to get in that debate. It comes down to a play like that; that’s maybe the play that will be most remembered, but in a game like that that goes for 60 minutes, there are so many plays that are going to swing it. For me it’s the great pride in John, the five years that he’s been in the NFL and the journey that he took to get there, from the graduate assistant getting no pay at all. The working all the different places that he worked, me and Jackie were filled with tremendous pride. And then, of course, Jim took a little different route with the 15 years in the NFL and then took the University of San Diego job, he worked himself to where he is, and to be down 28-6 and find a way to rally to get to that position on the goal line, so much pride in what he’s been able to do with the San Francisco 49ers team, and it didn’t just happen in this game, it’s been a journey over the last two years in what he’s been able to accomplish.”
What were you thinking during the blackout?
“We had experienced that. Jackie and I were in San Francisco when they played the Pittsburgh Steelers. It was a Monday night game and the lights went out right before the ballgame and they might’ve gone out twice if I remember. This was kind of like déjà vu all over again as Yogi Berra would say, so we had kind of experienced that and we knew eventually they would go on. I heard John mention on the David Letterman show that it kind of felt like baseball, after five innings whosever led, it was they would just say rain delay, we can’t play anymore and that he’d be declared the winner, but we knew that wasn’t going to happen so it was just a matter of waiting until everything got under control.”
Listen to Jack Harbaugh on 1000 ESPN Chicago here