Ron Hartman

Years ago, whenever Jack Harbaugh was teaching his young sons about life as a football coach, he had a favorite saying that both boys heard hundreds of times, frequently when they were enjoying their lunch, which typically was a PB&J or bologna sandwich. 

“Who’s got it better than us?” Jack Harbaugh would ask. And the two boys, John and Jim, would answer in unison along with their dad, “Noooo-body!” 

That saying about gratitude just reinforced Jack’s words about always appreciating what you have. Both brothers credit their father’s teachings for helping them become the first brothers to become NFL head coaches. They even went on to face off in Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans in 2013, as John’s Ravens outlasted Jim’s 49ers, 34-31.

Now, nine years later, those Niners are at it again, reaching the NFL’s final four on a weekend so dramatic it was almost surreal. Saturday’s two games seemed like the wackiest NFL day ever; then Sunday’s games made Saturday seem tame by comparison. 

When the smoke cleared, the Chiefs had won an overtime game for the ages, and the Rams were set to host the 49ers on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. for the NFC Championship. And here’s the kicker: Super Bowl LVI will be played two weeks later, on Feb. 13, in the same stadium, SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles, as the Super Bowl returns to L.A. for the first time since 1993. 

The Rams are 3½-point favorites, but they’ve lost their last six meetings with the Niners.  

Wow! Jack Harbaugh had it right. Nobody’s got it better than us here in the Great Northwest.

I was always an East Coast guy, so I enjoy being out west because the games start in the morning and finish at a decent hour, too.  

And boy, how times have changed! Back in the day, maybe 25-30 years ago, the West Coast had become sort of the laughingstock of the sports world. All of the teams stunk. The Lakers and Clippers. The Dodgers and Giants. The Raiders and Niners. It was embarrassing.  

When the Rams moved to St. Louis in 1995, some thought the Rams-49ers rivalry would lose its luster. Former San Francisco running back Roger Craig never felt that way. 

"The Rams will always be the 49ers' biggest rival,” Craig once said. “It doesn't matter if they no longer play in Los Angeles. If the Rams played their home games on Mars, it would still be a rivalry."

Now, look how the tables have turned. The Yankees and Red Sox made the AL East baseball’s best rivalry for many years. Not anymore. Without question, the premier division in baseball is the NL West, topped by the Dodgers, Giants and Padres.

Who’s got it better than us? Noooo-body!

Who’s the best team in pro sports? The West Coast has that covered, too. With three titles in the last eight years, Golden State is poised to win at least two more before Steph & Klay call it quits. Other than Draymond’s big mouth, everything about the Warriors’ franchise is first class. You want to argue that the Patriots are the better team because they’ve won more titles? Maybe so, but they also treat their players like trash, kicking them to the curb whenever they show a little age, even Tom Brady. And speaking of Brady, how great are the Pats if they don’t luck into getting Brady in the sixth round of the 2000 draft? The Pats might deserve the silver, but the Warriors check all the boxes here. They take the gold. 

Even though it’s a down year for the Trail Blazers due to injuries, they’ll be back and hungry next season. They’re an exciting franchise and it’s terrific having all Portland and Golden State games televised. 

Who’s got it better than us on the West Coast? Nobody! 

With Selection Sunday (March 13) just 45 days away, could the Pac-12 men and women have the kind of success they enjoyed during last year’s March Madness? The Pac-12 men placed three teams in the Elite Eight – while top-ranked Gonzaga of nearby Spokane reached the championship game – and two Pac-12 teams (Stanford, Arizona) played for the women’s title. 

Oregon failed to reach the Elite Eight of either tourney last season, but the Ducks – after a miserable start – set a Pac-12 record last week by becoming the first team ever to sweep two top-five teams (UCLA, USC) on the road. Meanwhile, the women rallied furiously to defeat No. 7 Arizona in overtime, 68-66. So look for the Ducks to stick around for a while at this year’s festivities. 

Meanwhile, Oregon State, one of the three Pac-12 men’s teams to reach the Elite Eight, has struggled mightily and is off to an inexplicable 3-14 start. The OSU women are 9-4, having had their schedule shuffled around due to Covid cancellations. 

Dan Lanning, fresh off of winning a national championship as defensive coordinator at Georgia, brings the toughness of SEC football to the Oregon campus. Now that players have the freedom to move around and transfer to schools of their choosing, a lot of fans are up in arms, wondering why so many players are jumping schools. But this new transfer rule is good for the players, and it’s good for schools like Oregon, because word-of-mouth will help many players make their decisions about where to go. 

Getting back to the NFL: Thanks to the 49ers and Rams, the NFC West, which also includes the Seahawks and Cardinals, is clearly the NFL’s strongest division. Then there’s the AFC West, which already has Patrick Mahomes and Sheldon’s own Justin Herbert, but if the Broncos are successful in landing Aaron Rodgers – as rumored, the AFC West would suddenly become the NFL’s elite division with Rodgers, Herbert, Mahomes and Derek Carr as its gunslingers.

That would be wonderful. Because nobody’s got it better than us.

Years ago, whenever Jack Harbaugh was teaching his young sons about life as a football coach, he had a favorite saying that both boys heard hundreds of times, frequently when they were enjoying their lunch, which typically was a PB&J or bologna sandwich. 

“Who’s got it better than us?” Jack Harbaugh would ask. And the two boys, John and Jim, would answer in unison along with their dad, “Noooo-body!” 

That saying about gratitude just reinforced Jack’s words about always appreciating what you have. Both brothers credit their father’s teachings for helping them become the first brothers to become NFL head coaches. They even went on to face off in Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans in 2013, as John’s Ravens outlasted Jim’s 49ers, 34-31.

Now, nine years later, those Niners are at it again, reaching the NFL’s final four on a weekend so dramatic it was almost surreal. Saturday’s two games seemed like the wackiest NFL day ever; then Sunday’s games made Saturday seem tame by comparison. 

When the smoke cleared, the Chiefs had won an overtime game for the ages, and the Rams were set to host the 49ers on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. for the NFC Championship. And here’s the kicker: Super Bowl LVI will be played two weeks later, on Feb. 13, in the same stadium, SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles, as the Super Bowl returns to L.A. for the first time since 1993. 

The Rams are 3½-point favorites, but they’ve lost their last six meetings with the Niners.  

Wow! Jack Harbaugh had it right. Nobody’s got it better than us here in the Great Northwest.

I was always an East Coast guy, so I enjoy being out west because the games start in the morning and finish at a decent hour, too.  

And boy, how times have changed! Back in the day, maybe 25-30 years ago, the West Coast had become sort of the laughingstock of the sports world. All of the teams stunk. The Lakers and Clippers. The Dodgers and Giants. The Raiders and Niners. It was embarrassing.  

When the Rams moved to St. Louis in 1995, some thought the Rams-49ers rivalry would lose its luster. Former San Francisco running back Roger Craig never felt that way. 

"The Rams will always be the 49ers' biggest rival,” Craig once said. “It doesn't matter if they no longer play in Los Angeles. If the Rams played their home games on Mars, it would still be a rivalry."

Now, look how the tables have turned. The Yankees and Red Sox made the AL East baseball’s best rivalry for many years. Not anymore. Without question, the premier division in baseball is the NL West, topped by the Dodgers, Giants and Padres.

Who’s got it better than us? Noooo-body!

Who’s the best team in pro sports? The West Coast has that covered, too. With three titles in the last eight years, Golden State is poised to win at least two more before Steph & Klay call it quits. Other than Draymond’s big mouth, everything about the Warriors’ franchise is first class. You want to argue that the Patriots are the better team because they’ve won more titles? Maybe so, but they also treat their players like trash, kicking them to the curb whenever they show a little age, even Tom Brady. And speaking of Brady, how great are the Pats if they don’t luck into getting Brady in the sixth round of the 2000 draft? The Pats might deserve the silver, but the Warriors check all the boxes here. They take the gold. 

Even though it’s a down year for the Trail Blazers due to injuries, they’ll be back and hungry next season. They’re an exciting franchise and it’s terrific having all Portland and Golden State games televised. 

Who’s got it better than us on the West Coast? Nobody! 

With Selection Sunday (March 13) just 45 days away, could the Pac-12 men and women have the kind of success they enjoyed during last year’s March Madness? The Pac-12 men placed three teams in the Elite Eight – while top-ranked Gonzaga of nearby Spokane reached the championship game – and two Pac-12 teams (Stanford, Arizona) played for the women’s title. 

Oregon failed to reach the Elite Eight of either tourney last season, but the Ducks – after a miserable start – set a Pac-12 record last week by becoming the first team ever to sweep two top-five teams (UCLA, USC) on the road. Meanwhile, the women rallied furiously to defeat No. 7 Arizona in overtime, 68-66. So look for the Ducks to stick around for a while at this year’s festivities. 

Meanwhile, Oregon State, one of the three Pac-12 men’s teams to reach the Elite Eight, has struggled mightily and is off to an inexplicable 3-14 start. The OSU women are 9-4, having had their schedule shuffled around due to Covid cancellations. 

Dan Lanning, fresh off of winning a national championship as defensive coordinator at Georgia, brings the toughness of SEC football to the Oregon campus. Now that players have the freedom to move around and transfer to schools of their choosing, a lot of fans are up in arms, wondering why so many players are jumping schools. But this new transfer rule is good for the players, and it’s good for schools like Oregon, because word-of-mouth will help many players make their decisions about where to go. 

Getting back to the NFL: Thanks to the 49ers and Rams, the NFC West, which also includes the Seahawks and Cardinals, is clearly the NFL’s strongest division. Then there’s the AFC West, which already has Patrick Mahomes and Sheldon’s own Justin Herbert, but if the Broncos are successful in landing Aaron Rodgers – as rumored, the AFC West would suddenly become the NFL’s elite division with Rodgers, Herbert, Mahomes and Derek Carr as its gunslingers.

That would be wonderful. Because nobody’s got it better than us.

Ron Hartman is a writer and copy editor with The Chronicle.