Jim and John Harbaugh may be the highest-profile coaching brothers in the country. And yes, they look a lot alike. But no, they’re not twins.
John has all the older brother bragging rights, but Jim probably got all the younger sibling special treatment. John also has the Super Bowl trump card, having defeated his baby brother in the 2013 edition of the big game. But regardless of who’s older, they’ve both carved out strong coaching careers.
The elder brother, John, started his coaching career in college before moving to the pros and holding down a decade-plus-long tenure as the Ravens’ head coach. Jim, on the other hand, began coaching in the NFL before shifting back to college, and after one NFL pit stop, he’s back in the amateur ranks as the head coach at Michigan.
Here’s more to know about the Harbaugh coaching family.
Are Jim and John Harbaugh twins?
No, Jim and John Harbaugh are not twins.
“He was usually bigger and better looking,” John said of Jim in a Q&A with the University of Michigan’s website. “He had the edge.”
John is the older brother, born in September 1962, while Jim was born in December 1963. They’re the sons of Jackie Cipiti and Jack Harbaugh.
“It made us real close,” John said about being 15 months apart in age. “We know how each other thinks. It’s not like we have to explain how we’re thinking to one another. Usually, we’re three steps ahead with each other in the conversations. It’s like, ‘How did we get to this point?’ We know, but nobody else knows. And there was that competitive part of it. I always rooted for Jim wherever he played — here and in the pros. I lived and died with his games.
“We always shared a room,” Jim added. “Wherever we lived, whatever town we were in, we always had a room. So, for 16 straight years, until he went off to college (at Miami of Ohio), I had somebody to share everything with, somebody to laugh with and tell stories to, get advice from.
“I remember those times when we were supposed to be sleeping and our parents had put us down to bed. It would be: whisper, whisper, whisper. And then we’d start talking and laughing. Mom and Dad yell up, ‘Go to sleep!’ So we’d start whispering again, and before long we’d be talking. Those were some of the best times — just there in that bedroom with things that were shared or talked about, and the laughs we had.”
How old is Jim Harbaugh?
Jim Harbaugh is 57 years old, having been born on Dec. 23, 1963, nearly a Christmas baby.
Harbaugh’s birthday was notable for him personally in 1995, when he turned 32. That day, he quarterbacked the Indianapolis Colts to a clinched playoff berth with 225 passing yards and a touchdown.
How old is John Harbaugh?
John Harbaugh is the older Harbaugh brother and is 58 years old. He was born on Sept. 23, 1962.
Maybe John being older is what contributed to Jim’s stronger football playing career. After all, everyone says that the younger brother always turns out to be the better player.
How Jim and John Harbaugh became high-level football coaches
Being the sons of Jack Harbaugh certainly helped Jim and John’s path to college football and the NFL. Jack played at Bowling Green, then in the AFL for a year, before coaching at many college stops, including a long tenure as the head coach at Western Kentucky.
John, the older brother, played college football at Miami (Ohio) as a defensive back before immediately going into coaching. Jim first played in the NFL from 1987-2001 after being a first-round pick out of Michigan as a quarterback.
Five college stops as an assistant came first for John before he joined the Philadelphia Eagles’ staff in 1998. He was with Philly through 2007 before becoming the Ravens head coach in 2008. John is the fourth-longest tenured head coach in the NFL, behind just Bill Belichick, Mike Tomlin and Sean Payton.
Jim became the Oakland Raiders’ quarterback coach after his retirement as a player, then was the head coach at San Diego and Stanford. He came back to the NFL to coach the San Francisco 49ers before returning to his alma mater Michigan as head man in 2015.
Jim and John became the first pair of brothers to coach in the NFL, and they one-upped that by facing off in the 2013 Super Bowl, Super Bowl 47. The Ravens and John won that game, 34-31, in the famous big game where the lights went out midway through. That game also featured Jim’s son, Jay, as a coaching intern for his uncle John with the Ravens.
After John won that game, he told media that it was “a lot tougher than (he) thought it was going to be” to deny his brother a Super Bowl ring. The world may never know what the Thanksgiving table is like at the Harbaugh house with only one brother wearing such a ring.