x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Super Bowl 47: Why the San Francisco 49ers will win

Jim Harbaugh wins the battle of brother coaches, and he has the better quarterback and defence, too, writes Paul Oberjuerge.

San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh is one year younger than his brother, John, the coach of the Baltimore Ravens, and showed more intensity during a press conference for Super Bowl 47 on Thursday. John G. Mabanglo / EPA
San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh is one year younger than his brother, John, the coach of the Baltimore Ravens, and showed more intensity during a press conference for Super Bowl 47 on Thursday. John G. Mabanglo / EPA

On Friday, the Harbaugh brothers, John and Jim, shared a stage in New Orleans for the final Super Bowl pre-game press conference, and it was a teaching moment.

We discovered that John, coach of the Baltimore Ravens, is comfortable in front of a large group. His body language was relaxed. He smiled. He joked.

Meanwhile, little brother Jim, coach of the San Francisco 49ers, had little to say and no emotion to share. He was a sullen ball of pent-up … something. Energy? Rage, perhaps.

And that final box to tick – which of two intense brothers is the more intense? – went in favour of the San Francisco coach. The 49ers already have so many things going for them.

Their defence clearly is superior to Baltimore's, and the history of the Super Bowl indicates that preventing touchdowns is a far more reliable predictor of success than scoring them.

But it is not as if the 49ers are inept in the attack, though they were nearly so, a few months ago.

The introduction of Colin Kaepernick as quarterback in mid-season made them a nearly complete team. Before, they won with defence and the run game. Since, they can beat you in the air, too, or with broken plays in which he takes off for a run.

The only aspect of the 49ers that engenders any doubt is their kicker, the veteran David Akers, who has missed five of his past dozen field-goal attempts.

In a close game, that can be vital, but no one should expect one. The 49ers are better at nearly every position, including coach. At a banquet, you want John Harbaugh. In a Super Bowl, go with Jim.

poberjuerge@thenational.ae

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