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Sports

January 19, 2013

No coaching carousels for Patriots, Ravens

FOXBOROUGH — Bill Belichick has this nice habit. He coaches in Super Bowls.

John Harbaugh has established an impressive trend, too: winning playoff games.

When they face off Sunday for the second straight year in the AFC championship, Belichick’s Patriots and Harbaugh’s Ravens will offer further proof of the value of stability.

No coaching carousels in New England and Baltimore.

Belichick has been on the job since 2000 and has gone to five Super Bowls, winning the first three. One more trip to the big game and he will tie Don Shula for most Super Bowl coaching assignments.

“He never changes,” veteran guard Logan Mankins said. “It’s always the same way from him. He coaches the same way. He demands the same things. So, when you have that leader in that role, I think it’s easy for everyone else to fall in line.”

Harbaugh has managed something Belichick, Shula and every other NFL coach has not: winning in the postseason in each of his first five years on the job. He’s also been to seven conference title games, four as an assistant in Philadelphia.

“There’s nothing like the playoffs in the National Football League,” Harbaugh said. “I’ve never been in any other sport, so it’s hard to compare it to a seven-game series or something like that. But, it would be hard to imagine, for me, a more exciting thing than being in the NFL playoffs and getting to championship games and ultimately the Super Bowl. That’s what it’s all about. To me, it’s the pinnacle of sport.”

Belichick and Harbaugh have reached the pinnacle in the AFC, which hardly is enough for them. They will remain true to their philosophies and personas as they try to guide their teams to New Orleans.

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