Harbaugh parents could become Super Bowl TV stars

Associated Press  |  Last updated January 27, 2013
(Eds: Updates. With AP Photos.) By DAVID BAUDER AP Television Writer Jack and Jackie Harbaugh would do well to practice their impassive faces in front of a mirror before the Super Bowl. The parents of Baltimore Ravens coach John and the San Francisco 49ers' Jim Harbaugh will be watched closely during Sunday's Super Bowl - if anybody finds them - for any visual evidence that mommy and daddy really do love one boy or the other best. It promises to be a fascinating sidebar to CBS' coverage of the game because, as Lynn and Rick Raisman can attest, parent cams are valuable in sports coverage. NBC's clip of the Raismans watching daughter Aly perform on the uneven bars during last summer's Olympics in London went viral, with stage parents everywhere relating to their murmurs and facial contortions. ''I had no idea it was going to be so great,'' said David Michaels, senior producer at NBC Sports, who often produces and directs coverage of gymnastics and figure skating, events where parental involvement can be particularly intense. Michaels makes it a point to know where parents are sitting during competitions, tracking them through spotters or sometimes sports governing bodies that know where parent seats have been assigned. Or where they are not sitting: Sometimes a dad who retreats to a concession stand because he can't bear to watch an offspring compete is a good story, too. Michaels said he tries not to overdo it, sticking with parents who he knows are interesting and very involved in their children's competitive undertakings. ''It has certainly gotten more ubiquitous,'' he said. ''Sometimes it's fantastic and sometimes it's just too gratuitous.'' Jack, a former college and high school football coach, and his wife will be attending the Super Bowl. On a conference call last week, the parents said they did not know where they would be sitting. Even if they did, they'd be unlikely to inform a horde of reporters about their seat locations. The senior Harbaugh was a college head coach at Western Michigan and Western Kentucky and an assistant at several places, including Michigan, Pittsburgh and Stanford. His son-in-law, Tom Crean, is the Indiana University men's basketball coach. It doesn't seem like a family that would want to watch a game casually while piling their plates with nachos. The couple had a practice run to see what it would be like to watch their sons coach against each other on Thanksgiving 2011, when older brother John's Ravens beat the 49ers 16-6. During that game, the couple watched in an office. Jack said his wife's face looked ''nearly comatose'' throughout the contest. ''She just stared at the screen,'' he said. ''Not a word was spoken. And at the end of the game, it was just over.'' They'll experience the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat - all at once. A 75-yard touchdown pass that would be reason to stand up and cheer for one son is another son's horrible defensive lapse. ''I am going to be neutral in the game,'' Jackie Harbaugh said. ''I know one is going to win and one is going to lose, but I would really like to end in a tie. Can the NFL do that?'' CBS Sports President Sean McManus said there will be a pregame feature about the familial battle. It would be hard to argue otherwise; no matter how much the brothers want to downplay it, it's a unique situation. But McManus said CBS would try not to let it dominate its coverage of the game. Given the need for the coaches' parents to stay neutral, longtime TV critic David Bianculli said he wondered how much of a story it will be visually for CBS. If they really maintain impassive faces, how much will viewers want to see them on the screen? ''I would advise them to pay attention to the field, more than anything else,'' said Bianculli, who teaches about television for Rowan University. A stone face is a story, too, Michaels said. The only question is how much a producer should go back to the shot. He said he can't imagine CBS not knowing where the couple is. If they're out in public, the network will likely keep a close eye on their reactions. ''As a producer or a director in this kind of a situation, it's incumbent upon you to know where every element of the story is because you never know how it's going to evolve,'' Michaels said. Finding the right approach ultimately shouldn't be much of a problem for CBS, he said. ''It's a little bit of a distraction at times,'' he said. ''But they'll figure out the best way to deal with it. The pictures won't lie.'' --- AP Sports Writer Janie McCauley in San Francisco contributed to this report.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Several NBA executives have concerns about Lonzo Ball’s father

Kim Mulkey gives awful post-game speech about Baylor scandal

Bill Walton goes shirtless during ESPN broadcast to the dismay of one woman

Sanu: Halftime show played role in Super Bowl collapse

James Dolan is among potential group of investors of new arena for New York Islanders

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Rams, Clippers discussing NBA venue in Inglewood

Terrence Jones reportedly interested in joining Celtics

LeBron reverses course, says he ‘always felt good’ about Cavs

Report: Ole Miss tried to implicate Mississippi State in football scandal

Jamaal Charles could be on the roster bubble

Jimmy Butler on state of Bulls: ‘I just want to win at all costs’

Top 10 shortstops in baseball for 2017

The most dangerous NBA teams flying under the radar

Eat, Drink, Watch: Your award-worthy weekend planning guide

Grading the NBA trade deadline on the Vince Carter scale

Box Score 2/24: A night of NBA disrespect

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

The 'Pete Rose instead of Kareem? Surely, you can't be serious' quiz

Streaming sports docuseries you don't want to miss

Teams that can prevent a Cavs-Warriors NBA Finals three-peat

The NFL off-season is a passer’s fancy

The Aesthetic: Pushing the boundaries of the three-pointer

NBA coaches who should be fired soon

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Top 10 shortstops in baseball for 2017

The most dangerous NBA teams flying under the radar

Eat, Drink, Watch: Your award-worthy weekend planning guide

Grading the NBA trade deadline on the Vince Carter scale

Streaming sports docuseries you don't want to miss

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

The 'Pete Rose instead of Kareem? Surely, you can't be serious' quiz

Teams that can prevent a Cavs-Warriors NBA Finals three-peat

The NFL off-season is a passer’s fancy

QUIZ: Name every MLB pitcher who has recorded 10 or more shutouts in a single season

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker