5 Brothers Besides the Harbaughs Who Faced Off For a Championship
Coaching brothers John and Jim Harbaugh are set to square off in the Super Bowl next month when the Ravens and the 49ers meet in the big game. This is every brother’s dream, fulfilled; a nationally televised competition to see which brother reigns supreme, fueled by a combination of sibling rivalry and professional glory. It’s also not the only time in history that it’s happened.
While the Harbaughs are the first coaches to face off against one another at this level, some brothers have had to overcome personal feelings in the name of the title when they were matched up on the court, field, or ice. Setting aside the Williams sisters who are always good for some sisterly love, here’s a look back at the best brotherly battles:
The Meusel brothers
Of the two baseball playing Meusels, it was Bob who had the prominence. But his brother Emil, known as “Irish,” could hit, too. Irish played for the New York Giants, posting his best numbers in 1922 as the Giants stormed their way to the crown. It was the second consecutive year that the Giants had bested Bob’s Yankees for the title. But in 1923, Bob got his revenge as the Yankees took down the Giants in the World Series.
The McEnroe brothers
John certainly knew how to work up a crowd and remains a household name today, but his tennis-playing brother Patrick has become a forgotten man over time. The two tennis players squared off in 1991 at the Chicago Open. It was Patrick’s first ATP Tour final — he lost to brother John in three sets. Patrick rode that second place finish to the semifinals of the 1991 Australian Open, but he never could best his brother on the biggest stage.
The Sanchez brothers
Neither of the Sanchez boys are as famous as their sister Arantxa who lit up the women’s tour in the 1980s. But Emilio rose to some fame himself as he won three Grand Slam doubles titles and the men’s doubles silver medal at the 1988 Olympic Games. In 1987, Emilio met his brother Javier in the final at Madrid, with Emilio walking away the victor in three sets.
The Niedermayer brothers
In 2003, Scott Niedermayer helped lead the Devils to their third Stanley Cup championship in eight years, solidifying a mini-dynasty. However, this title was a bit bittersweet. On the other side of the ice were the Mighty Ducks, including Scott’s younger brother, Rob. “I really didn’t know what to say,” Scott said after the last game. “I wish he could’ve been with us, carrying the trophy around. I just told him I was proud of him.”
The Reardon brothers
Before the Niedermayers, you have to go all the way back to 1946 to find another example of brother vs. brother for the NHL championship. The last brothers to play each other for the Cup were Boston’s Terry Reardon and Montreal’s Ken Reardon. Ken was a defenseman the team leaned on for their crown, but he retired soon afterward due to injuries. He’d go on to become a popular NHL executive for the Montreal Canadiens, and is a member of the Hall of Fame.
Terry also got to taste of winning during his career — Boston engraved his name on the 1939 Stanley Cup despite the fact that he only played four games for them that season. Aw, a brotherly happy ending: at least they could share their triumphs and both be winners.