Avidan Milevsky on the Harbaugh Sibling Rivalry

Jim Harbaugh and John Harbaugh

For those of you suffering from the prospect of six months without football, we give you one last look at the Super Bowl via Avidan Milevsky, Baltimore Raven fan and author of Sibling Relationships in Childhood and Adolescence: Predictors and Outcomes.

As you might have guessed from the title of his book, Milevsky was not commenting on the Ravens’ punter taking a safety but rather what the game said about the relationship between Jim and John Harbaugh the coaches of the 49ers and Ravens respectively. In a blog post The Super Bowl of Sibling Rivalry, Milevsky wrote about how the pressure would be on John, the older brother, to beat his brother Jim, who enjoyed far more success as a football player. Further complicating the rivalry is the fact that the Harbaughs’ father is also a football coach.

After the game, Milevsky wrote a post entitled The Super Bowl Lesson to Parents of Siblings in which he discussed the much-anticipated post-game handshake between the two brothers:

Based on everything that is known about the dynamics of sibling rivalry you would have expected Jim to reach his brother midfield, lunge toward his brother’s neck and try and strangle him. Instead, the Harbaugh brothers taught us all a valuable life lesson. What I saw at that moment was profoundly special. What I saw at that moment was a disappointed Jim genuinely happy for his brother’s victory. What beauty, what maturity, what class. After all the tension and hype it all ended with two brothers embracing.

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