Hype for Jim Harbaugh 'warranted,' John says

Josh Katzenstein
The Detroit News
Jim Harbaugh

Phoenix — Jim Harbaugh has yet to coach a game for Michigan, but his legend has already grown to epic proportions.

His brother John, though, clarified on Tuesday exactly what happened with the tale from earlier this month of Jim and Michigan director of football operations Jim Minick saving people from a car wreck on I-94.

"He did not save her, as he's pointed out many times," John Harbaugh, coach of the Baltimore Ravens, said Tuesday during the NFL annual meetings. "That's how these myths grow, right? Epic, epic stories.

"He said they were just driving. He said it was the most horrific wreck he'd ever seen. It was like NASCAR. The car was flying 50 to 100 yards sideways and end over end. He said he got there and it didn't look very good for the people in the car, and he said he prayed along with Jim Minick, his buddy who he was with. And he said God made a miracle happen, and the people were OK, not even really a scratch. So pretty amazing."

John Harbaugh smiled when asked about his brother and has said recently that Jim is thrilled to be the head coach at Michigan, where he played quarterback before a 15-year NFL career.

Jim took over at Michigan after four years as coach of the San Francisco 49ers, where he led the team to three playoff berths and a Super Bowl appearance, losing to John's Ravens after the 2012 season.

Jim was also the head coach at San Diego from 2004-06 and Stanford from 2007-10, winning an Orange Bowl with the Cardinal his final year before leaping to the NFL.

"I think it's warranted," John said of the hype surrounding his brother. "His career has begun. He's a great football coach. He was a great player at Michigan, obviously. He was a great NFL player, underrated I would say. And he underrates himself probably as a player. But great coach, great family man. I love him to death.

"I think he's going to be a great coach at Michigan, and there's no doubt in my mind that they're going to be contending for the national championship shortly."

In addition to being a Good Samaritan, Jim appeals to fans as an all-American guy, typically wearing discount khakis and enjoying trips to the Cracker Barrel restaurant. John hopes that lifestyle can help the family land more endorsements. Jim has already done a commercial for Dockers with his wife.

"I'm waiting for Cracker Barrel to call — khakis, too," John said. "They haven't called. Where are the marketing deals? I see all these guys get these marketing deals."