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NFL pressured a man to give up his request to trademark ‘Harbowl’

John-Harbaugh-Jim-HarbaughWith the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens set to square off in Super Bowl XLVII, much of the buzz surrounding the game has centered around the brothers Harbaugh competing against each other for the Vince Lombardi trophy. John and Jim Harbaugh both had great teams heading into the season, so it is not shocking that they are the only two coaches left standing.

A man from Indiana named Roy Fox anticipated a potential Niners-Ravens matchp, so he decided to try to make some money off of it. Last February, Fox says he paid more than $1,000 to file trademarks for the phrases “Harbowl” and “Harbaugh Bowl.” However, his plan never came to fruition because of pressure from the NFL.

“Right before the conference championship games last year, I thought to myself, ‘Can you imagine if these guys played each other?'” Fox told ESPN.com. “If Pat Riley would go through the trouble of trademarking three-peat, why shouldn’t I try this?”

In August, the NFL sent a letter to Fox expressing concerns that his recent trademarks could be confused with the league’s trademark of Super Bowl. NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy explained the purpose behind that letter.

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Darren Sharper: Bad blood exists between Mike Tomlin and John Harbaugh

As you may have expected, it seems like there is an explanation for the awkward handshake that took place between Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh and Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin last weekend. Darren Sharper, who played college ball with Tomlin at William and Mary, appeared on Showtime’s “Inside the NFL” on Wednesday night and explained the history between his former teammate and Harbaugh.

“There’s bad blood between these two coaches,” Sharper said, via USA TODAY. “You think about the fact that the teams do not like each other, so that carries over to the coaches because they’re the ones preaching to the team before the games. And before this game there was a little bit of an incident in which Coach Harbaugh had some comments after they beat the Pittsburgh Steelers which he knew the camera was on, too.”

After the Ravens beat the Steelers 13-10 at Heinz Field a few weeks ago, television cameras captured Harbaugh telling his players that they were the more physically tough team, the more mentally tough team, the better team and the team that knows how to win football games.

“Coach Tomlin, like all coaches do, they watch everything,” Sharper continued. “They read the papers — they try to say they don’t — they read the papers, they look at television, and he thought that was a message towards his team.

“I know this for sure. I talked to Mike, and after the game I asked him about the handshake, and he said that there is some bad blood there. And he did not appreciate what Coach Harbaugh said postgame after the first victory.”

Based on Sharper first-hand knowledge, it sounds like the excuse Tomlin gave about wanting to get to the locker room before his players so he could welcome them is bogus. Harbaugh’s comments after the first game were the same ones we hear from coaches after victories all the time. There’s no love lost between Steelers and Ravens. Perhaps Tomlin is simply falling into line.

John Harbaugh and Mike Tomlin exchange tense postgame handshake (Video)

The Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Baltimore Ravens in an extremely hard-fought game on Sunday, and anyone can understand why Ravens head coach John Harbaugh may have been frustrated after it ended. However, Harbaugh approached the postgame handshake with a good attitude and attempted to congratulate Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin, who for whatever reason wasn’t having it.

The exchange between the two coaches after the game was awkward, to say the least.  I don’t know if I would add it to our list of handshakes that have gone wrong over the years, but you could definitely sense some tension. That’s not uncommon with a heated rivalry like the one the Steelers and Ravens share, but why was Tomlin being so cold after his team — led by veteran backup quarterback Charlie Batch — won on the road against one of the best teams in the AFC?

Harbaugh was congratulating Tomlin, who is obviously a passionate guy. He clearly didn’t appreciate the way Tomlin tried to just shake his hand and jog away, and I can’t say I blame him. Fortunately for NFL fans, this simply adds another interesting element to one of hardest-hitting rivalries in football.

John Harbaugh reportedly diffused Ravens player revolt back in October

The Baltimore Ravens may have one of the best records in football, but that doesn’t mean their season has been free of problems — both on the field and behind the scenes. In fact, just last month head coach John Harbaugh found himself having to work through a player revolt that started when several Ravens veterans did not want to practice in pads.

According to Michael Silver of Yahoo! Sports, Harbaugh broke the bad news to the Ravens about a full-pad practice on Halloween morning — 10 days after they suffered a 43-13 loss against the Houston Texans.

“It was practically a mutiny,” one Ravens player said. “It came very close to getting out of control. But the way Coach Harbaugh handled it was amazing. He let people have their say, and he listened, and he explained himself, and pretty soon it was like a big group-therapy session. In the end, a lot of positive things were said. We didn’t practice in pads, but we came out of there stronger as a group.”

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John Harbaugh on Joe Flacco: ‘Pay him whatever he wants’

If the Ravens front office was looking for leverage in contract negotiations with Joe Flacco, they found none this week. Baltimore is expected to give Flacco more freedom this season and let him run the no-huddle offense, and he turned that freedom into 21-for-29 passing, 299 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions in a 44-13 win over Cincinnati Monday night. He also got the ultimate endorsement from his head coach after the game.

“Pay him whatever he wants,” John Harbaugh said while bursting into laughter, according to the Baltimore Sun. “Pay the man.

“We’ve always stood up here, and we’ve always, all our coaches, the organization, we know what we’ve got in this guy. Of course he is (elite). He is a winner. He is one of the toughest quarterbacks I have ever been around. He’s the best quarterback I’ve ever been around.”

Flacco and his agent certainly appreciate the kind words. We already knew he had confidence based on statements like this one that he is made in the past. Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome has openly stated that he wants to see Flacco back up his comments and perform like an elite quarterback, and if Monday was any indication he just might do that this season. With Matt Schaub having just received a four-year, $62 million extension from the Texans, Flacco is in a great position. If he continues to play like he did against the Bengals, the Baltimore front office should be happy to open its check book.

Photo Credit: Greg M. Cooper-US PRESSWIRE

John Harbaugh says the Patriots’ Super Bowls are ‘stained,’ have asterisks

On Tuesday morning, Ravens coach John Harbaugh spoke about the cheating culture of the NFL during a radio appearance. With the Saints having recently been roasted for running a bounty program, the topic is still fresh on everyone’s minds. Naturally, you can’t talk about cheating in football without Spygate coming up. Despite the fact that Harbaugh and Bill Belichick are relatively close, the Ravens coach decided to remind listeners that the Patriots’ Super Bowl rings have baggage attached to them.

“You know, the funny thing about that is in the end everything is brought before the light of day,” Harbaugh said during an interview with 98 Rock in Baltimore. “Even the thing in New England — no matter whether those things had any impact on whether they won their championships or not, they’ve got asterisks now. They’ve been stained. So to me it’s never worth it. Yeah, you’ve got to figure out ways to use the rules to your advantage and figure out ways to make the most of everything. …

“That’s what success is in this world. You’ve got to find ways to do things better than somebody else. But if you’re cheating, in the end you’re going to get discredited. It’s just not worth it.”

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John Harbaugh: Patriots Scoreboard Error Was Not a Factor for Us

All the talk about the scoreboard error at Gillette Stadium that led to Ravens’ kicker Billy Cundiff’s rushed field goal attempt moved John Harbaugh to issue a statement Wednesday. The Baltimore coach put any questions about the scoreboard mistake to rest.

“We knew what the down and distance were on our last series,” said Harbaugh. “The scoreboard was not a factor for us. Any suggestion that the wrong down information was a deliberate effort to affect the outcome of the game is nonsense.”

The suggestion that the mistake was deliberate was endorsed by the Ravens kicking consultant during a radio interview, prompting the statement.

I’m glad that Harbaugh said what he said for two reasons. One, pointing fingers at a scoreboard error is a really lame excuse for missing a routine kick. Two, it would reflect really poorly on Harbaugh if he said his coaching staff wasn’t on top of things in the final seconds of the AFC Championship Game. They were. It’s Billy Cundiff’s fault, not some stupid scoreboard operator’s, that the kick was missed.