(Reuters) - Archie Manning, who fretted over showdowns between his quarterbacking sons Peyton and Eli, reached out to Jack Harbaugh as his coaching sons prepare to battle on the National Football League’s (NFL) biggest stage.
Sibling rivalry will reach new heights in New Orleans on February 3 when John Harbaugh’s Baltimore Ravens battle younger brother Jim Harbaugh’s San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl.
“We just talked Monday and it’s one of those deals where he said ‘We just kind of pinch ourselves’, and that’s the way me and (wife) Olivia have been when the boys are playing against each other or when they get to Super Bowls or so forth,” Manning told ESPN Radio on Wednesday.
Manning said he also spoke with Jack Harbaugh, himself a former college football player and coach, ahead of a U.S. Thanksgiving Day game in 2011 when Baltimore beat San Francisco in the first NFL game between head coaching siblings.
It is familiar territory for former NFL quarterback Archie Manning as his sons have opposed each other twice in regular season games with Peyton’s Indianapolis Colts teams beating younger brother Eli’s New York Giants both times.
Archie has not had to squirm watching his boys duel for the Lombardi Trophy but has had the pleasure of watching Peyton, who has since joined the Denver Broncos, win it in 2007 and Eli triumph in 2008 and 2012.
”I told him (Jack Harbaugh), just enjoy the journey it’s so special. The sad part of it is, the Broncos are going to play the Giants again next year,“ Manning said. ”We don’t look forward to that game for one reason - someone is going to lose.
”And that’s what’s going to happen in the Super Bowl ... Someone’s going to lose. As a parent, that hurts you.
“Any parent is going to be elated when their child is part of a Super Bowl winning team, but they can’t be as excited as all the others because they’ve got one that’s also lost.”
The Harbaugh brothers do not figure to have much time for family gatherings before the Super Bowl but will get to share at least one unique moment together in the build-up to the game.
In a break with tradition, the NFL has scheduled a joint press conference for the two head coaches on February 1 in New Orleans, where brothers can be brothers before they lead their teams to battle.
Reporting by Larry Fine in New York; Editing by Frank Pingue