NEW ORLEANS -- To those looking for the next relative unknown to stamp his mark on a Super Bowl, Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh offers a suggestion: Jay Harbaugh.
For all the talk the past couple weeks about Harbaugh brothers John and 49ers coach Jim, John Harbaugh said his nephew just might turn out to be the X factor Sunday.
Jay Harbaugh, 23, is Jim's oldest son but works for the Ravens as part of their video and strength staffs. He was a coaching intern in the 49ers scouting department for part of 2011, his father's first season in San Francisco.
"I'm appreciative that Jim allowed Jay to come out," John said Friday. "Maybe that will be our edge. Maybe it will be Jay. He's really good. He's a hard-working guy, and he's excited about the game and competing."
Working for his uncle and pulling for the Ravens to beat his father's 49ers on Sunday places Jay in an awkward situation. Same goes for Jim Harbaugh.
With that in mind, Jim said he and Jay have had limited contact this week. Jim said he has texted Jay letting him know how proud he is of his son.
"I'm really thankful and proud that Jay is doing what he loves to do," Jim said. "John being there and hiring him, I hear he's doing a phenomenal job."
Jay Harbaugh told the Los Angeles Times that he doesn't have mixed emotions about competing against his father.
"I couldn't fathom even considering not being all in with the team that I'm a part of," Jay said. "Any true competitor feels the exact same way. You have to be totally all in with your team. Otherwise, there's no point. No point to being a part of it, putting in all the time that you do and making the sacrifices."
Jim is careful to avoid giving the impression that he and his son might be comparing notes in advance of the game.
"I don't want people thinking I'm talking to him about the game," Jim said. "I've heard he's done a great job and that means the world."