John Harbaugh bests his brother for the title

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John Harbaugh bests his brother for the title

From Comcast SportsNetNEW ORLEANS (AP) -- John Harbaugh had to wait to truly celebrate his first Super Bowl championship.Even as the clock ran out and the Baltimore Ravens jumped around and embraced each other, the winning coach strode toward center of the field hurting for his brother, Jim, as much as he was pleased for himself.The short embrace between the Baltimore and San Francisco coaches on the floor of the Superdome, in which Jim briefly touched John's face, "was probably the most difficult thing I've ever done, ever been associated with in my life," John said."Jim is a great competitor," John Harbaugh added. "I just love him, obviously. I think anybody out there who has a brother can understand. I just believe in him and I have so much respect for him. I admire him. I look up to him in so many ways and I am hurting for him in that sense."It even seemed as though the triumphant Harbaugh brother was happy in some way that the Niners nearly overcame a 22-point deficit in a thrilling 34-31 Ravens victory on Sunday night."I just knew with Jim Harbaugh being on the other sideline and all of those years we have been together that game was going to be a dog fight right to the end," John Harbaugh said. "Those guys were coming back. There's no greater competitor and no greater coach in the National Football League or in the world, as far as I'm concerned, than Jim Harbaugh. The way that team played proves it. ... That is who he is and that is who they are. I could not be more proud of him."John Harbaugh said he simply told Jim, younger by 18 months, that he loved him, and that Jim congratulated him.One thing was clear: The Harbaugh family threw a Super party. Their parents, Jack and Jackie, had delighted the media with their gracious, outgoing manner leading up to a game that had more than its share of excitement."It was a heck of a football game," Jim Harbaugh said, adding that he told his brother he was proud of him.Jim Harbaugh indicated he was still upset about a couple of decisions by officials -- particularly the Niners' last offensive play, a fourth-down incompletion intended for Michael Crabtree -- but asserted, "We want to handle this thing with class and grace."With their parents watching from a private suite in the Superdome, the Harbaugh brothers put on a championship game to remember. First it was the Ravens who raced to a 28-6 lead after Jacoby Jones returned the second-half kickoff a Super Bowl-record 108 yards for a score.Then came a power outage, which delayed the game for 34 minutes. With the players sitting on their benches waiting for play to resume, Jim Harbaugh went to work.His 49ers went on a surge of their own, and younger brother Jim had John on the ropes. The 49ers closed to 31-29 in the fourth quarter, but just couldn't come up with one more play to pull off what would have been the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history.After the game, Jack and Jackie stood nearby as John took the interview podium as the winning coach. Neither parent smiled much, clearly dealing with mixed feelings, although they looked proud."I knew it was going to be a hard-fought game and very, very competitive," Jack Harbaugh said. "I'm so proud of John. We talked about where he started at Western Michigan University as a graduate assistant, and then to stand on this stage with the ultimate prize, I'm just so proud of him -- and so proud of Jim. ... I knew he was coming back. He was going to fight back and he did and made it a great football game, maybe one of the great games in Super Bowl history."After watching John Harbaugh address the media, Jack and Jackie Harbaugh made their way across the ground level of the Superdome to the 49ers locker room, where Jack spoke with Jim behind closed doors. The Harbaugh parents had predicted that their thoughts would likely be more with whoever lost the game, because they figured that son would need them most.The leadup to this game was all about the Harbaughs -- the first time siblings had coached against each other in the championship game. Every day for nearly two weeks, the two were asked about each others' careers -- John was forthcoming, Jim not so much. Even their parents got in the act with their own news conferences.The Harbaugh family theme was: "Who has it better than us?"Certainly no family in the NFL."I'm just happy it was such a great game," Jackie Harbaugh said. "I'm happy for John. I know how much Jim wanted this game, too. That's the way they are. It was right down to the bitter end, really. It's all in the family, so that's nice, and after this day's over, they'll go back to work."

Report: Cavs. Pacers, Nuggets discuss deal involving George, Love

Report: Cavs. Pacers, Nuggets discuss deal involving George, Love

Don’t count the Cleveland Cavaliers out of the Paul George sweepstakes just yet.

According to ESPN’s Marc Stein and Chris Haynes, the Cavaliers are still working on a way to get George with LeBron James and Kyrie Irving in Ohio.

The latest rumor involves a three way deal being discussed between the Cavaliers, Indiana Pacers, and Denver Nuggets. According to Hayes, the deal would send George and Kenenth Faried to Cleveland and Kevin Love to Denver.

Presumably, Indiana would end up with good picks and a few young assets.

Click here for the complete story.

Will the Harris signing mean more time on the edge for Hightower?

Will the Harris signing mean more time on the edge for Hightower?

David Harris is expected to be a savvy middle linebacker who will line up his teammates when they help. He's expected to provide some level of leadership, even in his first year in New England, as an accomplished-but-hungry 33-year-old who has not yet reached a Super Bowl. 

What Harris is not expected to do is improve the Patriots pass rush. He was in on one sack in 900 snaps last season.  

But in a roundabout way he might. 

MORE: How does Derek Carr's new deal impact Jimmy Garoppolo?

There are dominos to fall now that Harris has been added to Bill Belichick and Matt Patricia's defense. How much will Harris play, and whose playing time will he cut into? Those questions don't yet have answers, but one of the more intriguing elements of the Harris acquisition is how he will benefit Dont'a Hightower's game.

If Harris can pick up the Patriots defense quickly -- and all indications are that there should be few issues there -- he could take some of the all-important communication responsibilities off of Hightower's shoulders. 

Ever since taking the reins from Jerod Mayo as the team's signal-caller, Hightower has had to be on top of all requisite pre-snap checks and last-second alignment changes. It's a critical role, and one that Hightower performs well, but those duties place some added stress on the player wearing the green dot. Perhaps if part of that load can be heaped onto Harris' plate, that might allow Hightower to feel as though he's been freed up to focus on his individual assignments.

Harris' presence might also impact where on the field Hightower is used. Hightower may be the most versatile piece on a Patriots defense loaded with them, but with Harris in the middle, Hightower could end up playing more on the edge, where he's proven he can make a major impact (see: Super Bowl LI).

For Belichick and his staff, having the ability to use one of their best pass-rushers -- and one of the most efficient rushers league-wide, per Pro Football Focus -- on the edge more frequently has to be an enticing byproduct of the move to sign Harris. Especially since there are some question marks among the team's end-of-the-line defenders behind Trey Flowers and Rob Ninkovich. 

We'll have to wait for training camp before we have an idea of how exactly Harris fits in with the Patriots defense. But the effect he'll have on his new teammates, and Hightower in particular, will be fascinating to track.