From its beginning, the Super Bowl has been filled with larger-than-life personalities. One of the most memorable for me was Super Bowl III MVP Joe Namath, who famously “guaranteed” a victory for his underdog New York Jets.
Since then we’ve seen famed quarterbacks such as Roger Staubach, Terry Bradshaw, Joe Montana, and John Elway. And many notable coaches have spanned Super Bowl history, from Vince Lombardi to Tom Landry, Bill Walsh, and Bill Belichick.
But my vote for the most intriguing Super Bowl personalities of all time would go to two people who’ve never played one snap of Super Bowl football. In fact, they’ve never been on the payroll of an NFL team. Until recently, few people had even heard of them.
My vote would go to Jack and Jackie Harbaugh, parents of John and Jim Harbaugh, coaches in Super Bowl XLVII. It’s no easy task to raise just one Super Bowl coach—but two? That’s quite a feat.
What a reminder about what true leadership is all about. Jack and Jackie won’t be remembered as much for their individual accomplishments as for the success they instilled in others. Their children built upon their legacy and took it farther than they could have ever dreamed.
So instead of worrying so much about our own credentials or accomplishments today, let’s learn from Jack and Jackie Harbaugh’s example. Let’s raise up kids, disciples, and protégés who dream their own dreams and do great things in life—far surpassing our own achievements.
This was the spirit behind Jesus’ message to His disciples before He left the work of the Kingdom in their hands: “Anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works” (John 14:12).
After all, that’s what real leadership involves: helping those around us to accomplish “even greater works.”