DUNGY: If I were to describe you and your brother Jim, two words would be intense and competitive. Is that from growing up with a dad as a coach or is that from growing up together?
HARBAUGH: Probably both. Our dad made everything competitive. It always was a world championship, a national championship, Big 10 championship. It was always at stake in everything we did.
DUNGY: And never did it cross your mind to let Jim win.
HARBAUGH: Of course not. He never did win, as I recall. You look back on it; there never was a time when he did win, in my mind (laughter).
DUNGY: One of the first times I ever scouted, I was at the University of Michigan and Jim was quarterbacking. Bo Schembechler yelled at him like I had never seen a coach yell at a quarterback and he (Jim) didn’t blink an eye. Did you guys get some tough coaching from your dad when you were young?
HARBAUGH: We got tough coaching from Bo when we were young. Jimmy had been hearing Bo since he was about nine years old, getting chewed out. There was a time when we were playing and we were on the sideline with the other coaches’ kids, and we were playing touch football over on the side. Somebody threw a pass and it went over everybody’s head onto the middle of the field into Bo’s practice. Of course, Jim was the youngest one so it was like, ‘Go get it.’ So he had to go out and get the ball and Bo just went off.
DUNGY: What did you learn from your dad that you use now?
HARBAUGH: The biggest thing our dad taught us is that enthusiasm is real. He talks about coaching with an enthusiasm unknown to mankind. To me, that’s how he lives his life. And the relationships he had with his players. After the game, all the coaches would bring their families over to the house. You know that kind of an atmosphere, that’s the way my mom and dad were. What else would you rather do than be a part of a football team?
DUNGY on playing home playoff games: How much have you guys talked about that?
HARBAUGH: We have. We don’t even need to talk about it because we do know. We want to be at home, but we have to earn that. We haven’t earned it yet, but that’s something that this game and the upcoming two games are going to determine.
DUNGY: If you don’t get to the Super Bowl, will it be a disappointing season?
HARBAUGH: Well, yeah. You know how it is. It’s not a matter of if; it’s a matter of when. That’s how we look at it. We’re going to try to make ‘when’ this year. That’s the goal.
DUNGY: Why is Jim good (as a coach)?
HARBAUGH: A lot of reasons. I think he’s good because he’s Jim. He’s a good decision maker. He makes good judgments. He’s got a vision. He’s got a picture of what he wants it to look like. He’s not worried about what other people think. He’s not afraid to be himself. He’s a good person and he cares about people. He wants them to do well so that they can shine, not for any other reason than that they can be their very best.
DUNGY: If I said that about John, would I be saying the right thing?
HARBAUGH: (Laughter) I hope so.
DUNGY: I think I would.