The 2013 Super Bowl Matchup: Marketing Ploy?
This year’s Super Bowl matchup, with a kickoff early Sunday night, February 3, is already being called the Harbaugh-Bowl in the media.
The sporting event got its nickname from the fact that Jim and John Harbaugh are the two coaches of the 49ers and the Ravens, respectively, which are facing off in Super Bowl 47 that night. The Harbaughs are brothers―something that has never happened before in the history of the game. Some cynics believe that the low probability of two brothers squaring off at the Superdome is further proof that the brothers didn’t earn their trip to Super Bowl 47, that someone rigged the NFL playoffs to ensure a marketing/ratings/media-story bonanza.
It’s so fortuitous that Kathy Ensor, a statistics professor and department chair at Rice University, put the odds of Jim and John having met at the Super Bowl as “astronomical.”
Of course, Jim and John Harbaugh have played against each other in the NFL before. John’s Baltimore Ravens beat Jim’s 49ers on Thanksgiving of 2011. That game broke ratings records for the NFL, and conspiracy theorists in sports blog comment sections are using that as another reason to remain skeptical of the fortuitous event. (The NFL has not responded to our request for comment on this allegation.)
Three calls that favored Jim’s 49ers in winning over the Atlanta Falcons add fuel to the argument. After having two personal foul penalties lead to crucial scores, it all came down to a crucial 4th-and-4 play. The Falcons made a pass that could have sealed a victory for them; instead, the 49ers defense arguably roughed up the receiver but the officials declined to call pass interference. And so, instead of a Falcons-Ravens standoff it’s become a sibling rivalry that has tainted the Super Bowl for many fans.
Of course, it certainly wouldn’t be the first time that the Super Bowl has been marred by controversy. Did everyone hear how some ex-Raiders suspect their coach of throwing the 2003 Super Bowl (pictured above)?
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