The 49-year-old Jim never reached a Super Bowl, falling a last-gasp pass short during a 15-year NFL career as a quarterback. The 50-year-old John never played in the NFL.
Still, both will tell you, ‘‘Who’s got it better than us? No-body!’’ — one catchphrase they got from their dad.
‘‘We can’t put into words what it means to see John and Jim achieve this incredible milestone,’’ their brother-in-law, Indiana basketball coach Tom Crean, said on Twitter. ‘‘We talked to Jim (before) his team plane left. All he wanted to know was how was John doing? How were they playing? One incredible family who puts the care, well-being and love for each other at the forefront like most families do. Again, we are very proud of them. Going to be exciting to watch it unfold.’’
John worked his way up from the bottom of the coaching ranks, while Jim was the star college quarterback at Michigan, a first-round draft pick and eventual Pro Bowler who made coaching his career once he retired.
John already has the one-up, while Jim’s team is the early favorite. John’s Ravens beat the 49ers 16-6 on Thanksgiving night 2011, in Jim’s rookie season as an NFL coach — though both know that means nothing now.
‘‘I just want everybody to know, that was a four-day deal and every story has been told,’’ John said. ‘‘We’re not that interesting. There’s nothing more to learn. The tape across the middle of the room story, OK, you got it? It’s OK. It was just like any other family, really. I really hope the focus is not so much on that. We get it, it’s really cool and it’s exciting and all that.’’
Said Jim, ‘‘Completely new business.’’
In spite of his efforts to avoid the topic, Jim did take the opportunity to express how proud he is of John.
‘‘He’s a great football coach, a real grasp of all phases — offense, defense, special teams. I think he could coordinate at least two of those phases and do it as well as anyone in the league,’’ Jim said. ‘‘I've got half the amount of coaching experience he does. Again, it’s not about us. I keep coming back to that. I'm really proud of my brother. I love him. That’s the blessing part, that this is happening to him.’’
And, fittingly for the big brother, John feels the exact same way.
AP Sports Writer Dave Ginsburg in Baltimore contributed to this story.
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