So Jack Harbaugh, then an assistant coach at University of Iowa, gives them a pep talk.
"Our thing was, 'We'll attack this day with an enthusiasm unknown to mankind! And don't take any wooden nickels,'" he bellowed on a phone call with reporters today, before breaking character, lowering his voice and adding, "I don't know what a wooden nickel is, but it sounded good at the time.
Did the sibling rivalry, which in the weeks preceding the Super Bowl has resulted in smug word mutations like "Harbowl" and "Superbaugh," begin there in that car over who would give the most effort.
No, the Harbaugh brothers' father, mother, and sister said. There is no rivalry.
Though the boys competed with one another, they were not raised to be combatants. (But that didn't stop John from pranking the conference call and, introducing himself as "John from Baltimore", asking: "Is it true that both of you like Jim better than John?" Jacki Harbaugh, who insisted she was a neutral party, grabbed her husband and started toward the phone, but their daughter could tell it was her brother's voice and identified him.)
Jealousies stemming from parental comparisons – such as Jim is a better athlete, or John is much smarter – did not happen because Jack and Joani Harbaugh made a conscious decision not to pit their boys against each other
"To make a comparison demeans," Jack Harbaugh said. "We choose to look at them similarly."