Some people will tell you that Thanksgiving is about being thankful. Those people are better than me, and I’ve come to terms with that. In the Emerson household, Thanksgiving has always been about the three F’s: family, food, and football.
This year the holiday is going to be tense as family and football come together in a whole new way. 2011 marks the first ever matchup between two brothers: the Baltimore Ravens face off against the San Francisco 49ers on November 24th, each team coached by a Harbaugh brother.
John Harbaugh coaches the Ravens, while his younger brother Jim Harbaugh leads the 49ers. They are the first pair of brothers to coach in the NFL, and Thursday’s game therefore marks the first time two brother coaches have ever faced off in an NFL game. This game is even more special because it will take place on Thanksgiving, so after one brother’s team beats the other, they can go share a meal together. I’m sure that won’t be awkward at all.
The sibling rivalry becomes even more personal in my household. You see, my younger brother Anthony is a Ravens fan and I am a 49ers fan (Drama!!!!). Now, if you’ve been following the 49ers at all in the last ten years, you know it’s tough being a fan. Ordinarily if they lose, it isn’t too big of a deal; but this year, the Niners are actually impressive (shocking, I know).
So this year, it matters as the 9-1 49ers take on the 7-3 Ravens. My brother and I have hardly been talking the last month in preparation for this game. That may have something to do with the fact that my I-phone broke and I’m forced to use a phone from the 90’s, but still, the tension is definitely there.
Back to the actual matchup: both teams will be playing off of limited rest, as most might remember Thanksgiving is (once again) on a Thursday this year. The 49ers have all but secured a playoff berth (a win and a Seattle Seahawks loss this week would secure it), but they are still in the hunt for a first round exemption and a win here would certainly help.
However, the Ravens might be a bit more desperate for a win. While they are currently first place in their division, the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals are right behind them nipping at their heels.
This may be the most dramatic game outside of the playoffs this year. Both teams could use a win, and there is virtually no rivalry stronger than sibling rivalry. Regardless of what happens, I hope Mama Harbaugh makes some dang good pumpkin pie to help them move past their little feud. I know Mama Emerson is up to the challenge.