John Steigerwald Column

Astronomical odds match sibling coaches in the Super Bowl

O brothers, where art thou? At the Super Bowl

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How about those Harbaughs?


Prior to the Ravens and 49ers winning their conference championships, it seemed everyone in this area was rooting against them. People seemed to hate the idea of two brothers coaching against each other in the Super Bowl. What’s wrong with this story?


Is it because John Harbaugh coaches the Ravens and Steelers fans hate everything about the Ravens?


That’s understandable to a point, but this is one of the most amazing stories in the history of American sports.


What are the odds of two brothers coaching in the 32-team NFL at the same time?


What are the odds they would both be successful enough to even make the playoffs?


And what are the odds they would win their conference championships, when you consider all the scenarios and possibilities in the NFL postseason, in the same season?


I don’t have the answer to any of those questions, but I’ll bet there’s a mathematician who could come up with the numbers. They’re beyond astronomical.


Think of how many major pro championship games have been played in the United States.


Two brothers never managed against each other in the World Series or coached against each other in an NBA or Stanley Cup Final.


Maybe two brothers coached against each other in a high school state championship football or basketball game somewhere. I never heard about it.


We’re talking about the biggest sporting event in the United States and one of the biggest, most watched events in the world. Two people on the planet get to coach in it every year. And it’s brother against brother?


Come on. It’s a great story.


That’s not to say the media won’t beat it to death by next Sunday to the point that you don’t want to hear the name Harbaugh ever again.


• Could Tim Tebow have prevented some NFL coaches and general managers from being fired? Kerry Byrne of Coldhardfootballfacts.com thinks so. CHFF has devised what it calls a Real QB rating. Without getting into the gory details about how it’s compiled, it’s an improvement on the NFL’s passer rating because it takes rushing, fumbles and sacks into account. Teams that won the Real QB rating battle were 218-37 during the 2012 regular season. In weeks 15-17, teams with the best Real QB rating were 45-3.


Tebow’s career real QB rating is 81.1, which would have put him in the middle of the pack among this year’s NFL quarterbacks. It’s also better than any of the quarterbacks who played for the seven coaches who were fired.


Byrne calls Jets coach Rex Ryan’s refusal to at least give Tebow a shot the worst coaching decision of the year.


What is it about NFL coaches and their fear of changing quarterbacks?


• I wonder if the fine citizens of New Orleans know they are about to be visited by the worst fans in the NFL. And that’s saying something. Violence at Candelstick Park during 49ers games sets the standard for the rest of the teams in the league. And the fans bring their stupidity with them on the road. Last week in Atlanta, a guy dressed in a 49ers jersey was nice enough to stab a Falcons fan in the neck.


Who brings a knife to a football game?


CBSSports.com reported that before last year’s NFC Championship game at Candlestick, the 49ers took out a full page ad in the San Francisco Chronicle that begged the fans to behave. The cops let it be known they would be beefing up security and including officers working undercover by wearing New York Giants jerseys.


And get this: The cops handed out cards to the fans wearing Giants jerseys that had a number for them to call if they felt they were in danger. Maybe the card should have suggested that they take off the jersey. Despite all that, 110 people were ejected from the game and 29 were arrested.


You have to wonder how much longer the regular human beings are going to want to wade into a scene that requires the kind of security you would expect for a Hell’s Angels picnic. Keep in mind that, when the regular human beings stop coming, they’ll be replaced by the drunken morons looking for people not wearing the same jersey they’re wearing.


Where are the people calling for the two simplest solutions – the banning of visiting team jerseys and/or the elimination of alcohol consumption in the parking lots or inside the stadium?


Ridiculous?


Apparently not as ridiculous as expecting adult men to realize that stabbing someone in the throat is not a good way to show support for your team.


Good luck, New Orleans.



John Steigerwald writers a Sunday column for the Observer-Reporter.


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