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Harbaugh brothers add drama to NFL

Posted: December 13, 2012 - 12:11am

DENVER - What is your favorite (Jim or John) Harbaugh moment of this NFL year?

Here’s mine: Jim Harbaugh going out of his way to say his 49ers never had an interest in Peyton Manning as a free agent.

From the San Francisco boss man, back in May: “There’s been no scenario, other than Alex choosing to sign with another team, that we would have considered him not as our quarterback.”

From a reporter, today: “Colin Kaepernick?”

Two things the Harbaugh football family is not: Boring or predictable. The football lives of Jim and John Harbaugh are better than reality TV. They are reality TV with ESPN highlights.

Jim Harbaugh, the 49ers’ coach, fanned the flames of a quarterback controversy in San Francisco. He transforms a postgame handshake with the Lions into must-see TV.

John Harbaugh, the Ravens’ coach, created a controversy in Baltimore when he fired offensive coordinator Cam Cameron on Monday. He transforms a handshake with the Steelers into must-see TV.

Conventional thinking has no place at their Christmas dinner table.

Their wild approach also is why neither will find a place on the championship stage after a Super Bowl.

Take a glance over recent Super Bowl champions. Which one of Tom Coughlin, Mike McCarthy or Bill Belichick gravitates toward drama like his holiday bonus depends on it?

When it comes to Super Bowl-winning coaches in this day and age, boring wins.

Before Denver hits Baltimore on Sunday, John Harbaugh’s Ravens hit something else.

The panic button.

Harbaugh fired his offensive coordinator in Week 15 of the NFL season. That qualifies as smacking the panic button harder than a helmet-to-helmet job by Ed Reed.

“We felt this would help us be the best we can be down the stretch,” Harbaugh said Wednesday. “That’s what we decided to do.”

Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco said “not much is going to change” with Jim Caldwell calling plays instead of Cameron. Flacco told local reporters he was stunned by the move.

None of us should be. It qualifies as the sort of unpredictable move we expect with a Harbaugh on the sideline. There’s a madness to their method.

Manning is 8-2 against the Ravens. The Broncos are 0-5 against the Ravens in Baltimore. One trend will change Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium.

If not for the expected return of Ray Lewis, who, like Manning, raises all ships, the Broncos should be considered major favorites in Baltimore. Instead, the Broncos are considered 3-point favorites in Las Vegas.

Manning - the quarterback who wasn’t courted by San Francisco, according to San Francisco’s coach - is tight with Caldwell and Cameron.

Cameron attempted to recruit Manning to Michigan. Caldwell helped Manning win four MVP awards in Indianapolis.

“I really felt (Caldwell) took my game to another level. He’s also been a tremendous friend to me and mentor,” Manning said. “I miss being around him every day. I miss his friendship every day. That’s how I feel about Jim.”

We know the Harbaughs are winners. Jim’s 49ers are 9-3-1 and leading the NFC West. John’s Ravens are 9-4 and leading the AFC North.

I loved the San Francisco coach going with Kaepernick. The Niners aren’t winning the Tecmo Bowl, much less the Super Bowl, with Alex Smith.

I loved the Baltimore coach saying this Wednesday about the Broncos: “It’s probably going to be tough for us to hang in there.”

Actually, I love almost everything about the brothers’ daredevil coaching style.

But it’s not a formula that usually wins Super Bowls.

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