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NFL

Harbaugh family will stay neutral when it comes to Super Bowl rooting

| Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013, 9:56 p.m.

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Jackie Harbaugh will wear a neutral-colored outfit, still to be determined.

Her daughter, Joani Crean, little sister to coaching brothers John and Jim Harbaugh, plans to sport all black at the Super Bowl to show no allegiances whatsoever.

“I am wearing whatever fits that day,” Crean quipped.

The entire Harbaugh family — a close-knit, hyper-competitive crew that also includes Indiana basketball coach Tom Crean — realizes it has already won big. They got their Super Bowl victory on Sunday, when each coach did his part to ensure a family reunion in New Orleans next week, with John's Baltimore Ravens facing off against Jim's San Francisco 49ers in the first Super Bowl with sibling coaches on opposite sidelines.

One Harbaugh will haul home the Lombardi Trophy from the Big Easy.

And, no, the family members haven't decided where to sit for the Feb. 3 NFL title game at the Superdome — or at least they aren't revealing it if they have.

“We are neutral in the Super Bowl, and we are just excited that they have brought their teams to the pinnacle of sports,” Jackie Harbaugh said Thursday.

“The Super Bowl is the ultimate accomplishment for them and for their teams and for all of the extended football family and all of the teams who have participated in this great game. We are excited for that type of thing.”

The Harbaughs have been inundated with well wishes and media requests since the moment John's Ravens beat New England on Sunday night a few hours after the 49ers won at Atlanta.

Fortunately for the Harbaugh folks, they've been through this once before — albeit on a slightly smaller stage: prime time on Thanksgiving night 2011. John's Ravens won, 16-6, at home.

“We experienced that last year at Thanksgiving,” Jack Harbaugh said, “the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.”

Don't count on Jack doing any in-game analysis or to start guessing which team might have the edge in any given phase.

“I'm only neutral on that,” he said. “I don't look for body language. I am not really a coach anymore. I am a spectator and a parent.”

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