A closer look at the Harbaughs


If you're a Stanford fan or a Baltimore Ravens fan or a fan of learning what makes coaches tick, this story on the Harbaugh clan is a must-read.

(You'll need an ESPN.com Insider subscription, or you can buy the May 3 issue of ESPN The Magazine. It's the one with Roger Federer on the front, which is also a great story).

For one, the picture of Jim Harbaugh that hangs in his family home is a classic -- his earnest expression while cradling a football owns an almost Shakespearean intensity.

A couple of highlights.

Here's the main difference between Jim, the Stanford coach, and John, the coach of the Baltimore Ravens: Jim is a football junkie to the bone. John is more of a corporate CEO sort:

Jim is like Dad in that way -- a true football believer, with a decidedly animal, kill-or-be-killed approach to the game. Here is a man who owns matching mangled pinkies that bend outward at the middle knuckle and a predatory energy that announces his entrance into a room, even if you're not looking and he's not talking. The locker room is where he was meant to be. "I could have been a player or a coach," he says, in a gravelly Great Lakes accent. "My brother could have been anything he wanted."

And, to further that point:

Matt Weiss, a former Stanford staffer for Jim who is now a Ravens assistant for John, clarifies the difference: "Put a brick wall in front of Jim and he'll run through it. Put that wall in front of John and he'll find three ways around it."

I've never spoken with John Harbaugh, but that certainly is an apt description of his younger brother.

After you read the story, make sure you then "... go out there and attack this day with an enthusiasm unknown to mankind."