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'Harbowl' a family affair for Gottfried

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N.C. State basketball coach Mark Gottfried's not sure which cousin he will root for in the Super Bowl, Jim Harbaugh and the San Francisco 49ers or John Harbaugh and the Baltimore Ravens. Either way it will be a win for the extended family.

The Gottfrieds and Harbaughs are connected by blood and professionally. Mark Gottfried and the Harbaugh brothers are second cousins (their grandmothers, paternal on each side, were sisters).

Jack Harbaugh, the father of the famous NFL coaches, is Gottfried's godfather. Jack grew up with Gottfried's dad, Joe, and uncle, Mike, in Crestline, Ohio. Jack and John Harbaugh were assistant coaches for Mike Gottfried at the University of Pittsburgh in 1987.

The athletic connections have continued through generations. Brandon Gottfried, Mark's oldest son, is a junior tight end at Stanford, where he was recruited by Jim Harbaugh.

The success of the Harbaugh brothers, who are the first in NFL history to meet in the Super Bowl (and only brothers to have coached against each other in an NFL game), is not a surprise to Gottfried.

"They're both obviously very good, being sons of a coach," Gottfried said Monday. "They grew up around the game. They're both very competitive and they've always been that way."

Gottfried didn't say which team he would root for in the Super Bowl but he did take his four sons to Baltimore on Dec. 23 see the Ravens beat the New York Giants, 33-14.

Gottfried did say he was happiest for the Harbaughs' parents, Jack and his wife, Jackie.

"It's unbelievable really," Gottfried said.

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About the blogger

Joe Giglio covers the ACC for the News & Observer, where he has worked since 1997.