John & Jim Harbaugh Reached The Super Bowl Via Very Different Paths

John & Jim Harbaugh Reached The Super Bowl Via Very Different PathsJohn Harbaugh and Jim Harbaugh, as has been widely noted, will be the first set of brothers to coach against each other in a Super Bowl, when the Baltimore Ravens play the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII on Sunday. While both men stand as two of the most prominent current NFL coaches, these siblings took completely different paths to get where they are now.

The brothers were born in Toledo, Ohio, but moved around often as kids, because of their football coach father Jack Harbaugh. John graduated from Pioneer High School, in Ann Arbor, Michigan, with Jim graduating from Palo Alto High School, in Palo Alto, California. Jim spent his final year of high school in the Bay Area, after Jack was hired as an assistant coach at Stanford.

John carved a much less glamorous trail to the NFL, while spending his time exclusively in the Midwest and East Coast. John was a defensive back at Miami University (Ohio), during the 1980's, and was primarily a special teams coach at the college level from 1984-1997. His eight-year residence at the University of Cincinnati (1989-1996) was the longest of his many stops.

In 1998, John became the Philadelphia Eagles special teams coordinator and defensive backs coach. He lived under the radar, until after the 2007 season, when the Baltimore Ravens hired him to be their head coach. Since his arrival in the Charm City, John has become the first coach in NFL history to make the playoffs and win a postseason game in each of his first five seasons.

Jim, on the other hand, was a star quarterback for the Michigan Wolverines, from 1983-1986, before playing 14 years in the NFL. His best seasons took place during stints with the Chicago Bears and Indianapolis Colts.

After his playing career, Jim went right into coaching, spending much of his second career in the state of California. After assisting his dad at Western Kentucky (worked unpaid during final eight NFL seasons), upon retirement, Jim joined the Oakland Raiders in 2002, as their quarterbacks coach.

In 2004, Jim went back to the college game, serving as the head coach of the University of San Diego (2004-2006), leading them to consecutive Pioneer League titles. In 2007, Jim was named the head coach of the Stanford Cardinal and completely turned around the program, with the help of future first overall pick Andrew Luck.

In 2011, the San Francisco 49ers hired Jim away from Stanford, with the younger Harbaugh once again revitalizing yet another team, this time the once proud 49ers franchise.

It will be fascinating to see how this unlikely sibling rivalry will play out. Will the winner be the nomadic football coach, or the glamorous Big Ten/NFL starting quarterback?