A few odds and ends as the NFL prepares for Super Bowl XLVII … When you coached as long as Don Nehlen did you are going to know just about everybody who is anybody in the profession.
And it just so happens that one of his closest friends in the profession is going to be sitting on pins and needles this Sunday evening – Jack Harbaugh. Jack is the patriarch of pro football’s No. 1 coaching family with sons John (Baltimore Ravens) and Jim (San Francisco 49ers) leading their respective teams in Super Bowl XLVII.
“Jack and I went to Bowling Green together and Jack coached for me at Bowling Green,” said Nehlen from his winter home in Florida. “We almost raised those kids, Jimmy and Johnny, they’re great friends of ours.”
Nehlen knows his old buddy is going to have a tough time watching his two sons go against each other on Sunday, but at the same time, the elder Harbaugh will be beaming with pride knowing his boys will be making pro football history this weekend.
It is the first time in NFL history two brothers will be coaching against each other in a Super Bowl.
“Jack coached all his life and he got kicked around a lot and here his two sons hit the jackpot,” said Nehlen. “Jack and I coached together at Michigan, too. Jim was just a little squirt running around when I was at Michigan. When I coached the quarterbacks, I had him in our camp.”
As for which son Nehlen will be pulling for, the former Mountaineer coach said that’s one choice he gladly doesn’t have to make.
“One of them is going to win and one of them is going to lose, but they’re both great winners in my book,” said Nehlen.
* West Virginia may not have any players in this year’s Super Bowl, but that doesn’t mean WVU won’t be represented in this year’s big game. Follansbee, W.Va., native and West Virginia University graduate Jaime Andreozzi is in her eighth season as a member of the Baltimore Ravens cheerleader squad.
According to her biography on the Ravens' team website, Jaime explained why she wanted to become a Ravens cheerleader, “Years before I tried out for the team, I was on a flight with a soldier who was returning home from Iraq. We talked about all of the entertainers that had been over to visit and perform for them. He told me that the highlight of his deployment was when the Ravens Cheerleaders came to his base to visit. This made me realize that I wanted to be a part of a team that gave back to the community.”
Way to go Jaime!
* Although he is not coaching in this year’s Super Bowl the Super Bowl once again becomes the primary goal for former Mountaineer player and assistant coach George “Duke” Henshaw.
Henshaw was recently hired by Tennessee Titans coach Mike Munchak to coach the Titans’ tight ends. Henshaw is making his second appearance in Tennessee, having previously coached on Jeff Fisher’s staff. Henshaw has also coached with the Broncos, Giants and Saints in the NFL.
Duke once worked on Bobby Bowden's coaching staff at West Virginia University.Check out Antonik's new book The Backyard Brawl: Stories from One of the Weirdest, Wildest, Longest Running, and Most Intense Rivalries in College Football History now available in bookstores. A portion of the sales benefit the WVU Department of Intercollegiate Athletics. Also, be sure to "Like" the new Backyard Brawl Facebook page and tell us your personal WVU-Pitt story.