In the biggest duel between brothers since Cain and Abel (well, maybe not that big), there’s another Harbaugh sibling who’ll be watching the Super Bowl with gritted teeth. Her name is Joani Harbaugh Crean, the younger sister of Baltimore Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh and San Francisco 49ers Head Coach Jim Harbaugh.
For the last 20 years, she's been the spouse of Indiana Hoosiers men's basketball head coach Tom Crean. She spends her time nowadays in and around Bloomington as a real-life basketball wife, but growing up, “football was everything,” she told USA Today in 2011. And by everything, she means she used to doodle on her father’s football plans (he coached in Ohio and Michigan among other places) as a child -- talk about early starts.
"I think that was a way to keep me busy while I was tagging along," she told the newspaper. "But I could use the hot splice machine at the age of 10, yes. Impressive, huh? I think I could even go back today and use it," she said.
Crean is also no stranger to social media. She's a member of the social networking site, MarriedtotheGame, which connects coaches' wives. “The guys compete on the court, but there has to be a real-life connection,” she told the Washington Times in 2011.
The Creans have three children: Megan, 17, Riley, 13, and Ainsley, 7, according to Tom Crean's coach IU bio. It means that despite her affinity for all things sports-related -- especially Hoosier basketball -- Joani Crean is a mother first. Period.
“I’ve learned that in the grand scheme of things that the happiness of my kids needs to come before whether or not Indiana loses or wins a basketball game," she told the Indiana Daily Student, “and that’s taken quite a few years.”
“You have to, as a parent, remember that your kids are going through changes in their life. I’ve got one in puberty, another one who’s driving and one who’s six. Balance? I don’t know if I have an answer to that question.”
And she probably doesn't have an answer to who she'll be rooting for on February 3 in the Super Bowl (choose between brothers? Come on, now!). But no matter who wins, one thing is certain: Joani Harbaugh Crean will be game.
Below, she gives a tour of the community on "The Tom Crean Show":