John watches as many Stanford games on TV as he can, and at one point last season when the Ravens were struggling, he told his staff, "We need to play like Stanford." When Jim has a chance, he flies to Baltimore, stands on the sideline and helps his brother. Last year Jim noticed that the Steelers were timing the Ravens' snap count and told John, who made an adjustment.
They don't compare each other's accomplishments. They're too busy hustling. Jim, eight years after asking the Raiders how to turn on a computer, is a regular Twitterer. John, more than 30 years after people started tagging him as the studious one, says, "I'm kind of a bulldog."
John watches all of Stanford's game film in the off-season and sends Jim player evaluations, defensive schemes and special teams schemes. Jim has sent John offensive ideas. "I'm sure he's helped us in more ways than I've helped him," says Jim, whose Cardinal team is 5--1 and ranked No. 14. "I'm quite sure of that. Gosh, he's a great football mind."
And then Jim Harbaugh, the greatest pure competitor that John Harbaugh has ever met, says, "I'm probably half the coach he is." He smiles. "But I'm trying."
Now on SI.com
Read more articles by Michael Rosenberg at SI.com/rosenberg