NEW ORLEANS Knowing the 49ers' coach as he does, Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh said he doesn't think his brother Jim will spend much time brooding over falling short of the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history.
In the first Super Bowl meeting of head-coaching brothers, the Ravens took a 22-point lead Sunday at the Superdome and held off the 49ers' late rally, sealing a 34-31 win with a defensive stand in the final minutes.
John Harbaugh met with reporters Monday morning and said he hadn't talked with Jim since their brief postgame handshake on the field, but he had an idea of what his younger brother by 15 months was going through.
"Jim is a great competitor," John Harbaugh said. "Jim will go do what he's always done. He will come out swinging. He'll go back to work, and he'll go to work on the draft.
"It's tough because you put so much into it, your heart, your soul. You feel for everybody. But no one will handle it better than Jim Harbaugh. Like I've said, he's the best coach in football, and he'll have that team roaring back very soon."
In his "best coach" declaration, John cited the 49ers' improvement in Jim's first two seasons. Jim Harbaugh is the third NFL coach since the 1970 merger to lead his team to division titles in each of his first two seasons and the fifth to record double-digit wins in the two seasons after taking over a team with a losing record.
John Harbaugh, meanwhile, is in rarefied air himself as the first coach since the merger to take his team to three conference title games in his first five seasons and to win a playoff game in each of his first five seasons. He's also 2-0 in head-to-head meetings with Jim and now has a 1-0 advantage in Super Bowl rings.
He said the "toughest moment of all" Sunday was walking across the field to greet Jim after the game.
"You feel an incredible amount of elation with an incredible amount of devastation," John said. "Those two feelings went hand in hand in that moment, and I'm still feeling it."
It reflected the emotions of the rest of the Harbaugh family parents Jack and Jackie, sister Joani and Joani's husband, Indiana basketball coach Tom Crean who watched Sunday's game from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's box. Goodell told John Harbaugh the family "didn't say really a word throughout the course of the whole game."
John Harbaugh said he wasn't sure when he would contact Jim.
"We'll get a chance to talk at some point. There's no hurry," he said.
Somewhat kiddingly, John Harbaugh was asked if he thinks the notoriously competitive brothers would ever sit down together and watch the game, which included a 35-minute power outage and two noncalls on the 49ers' offensive series that Jim Harbaugh later pointedly disputed.
"Absolutely not," John said.