NFL

John Harbaugh Was Roommates With WWE Star Brian Pillman Before the Wrestler’s Tragic Death

John Harbaugh has had immense success as a head coach in the NFL. The Baltimore Ravens were one of the best teams in the NFL last year, and they have consistently been tough to beat during Harbaugh’s tenure. However, before his coaching career, Harbaugh played college football at Miami University (Ohio). While he was there, he actually was roommates with former WWF — now WWE — star Brian Pillman. 

John Harbaugh has been a great coach for the Ravens

John Harbaugh is a fantastic football coach. Before his coaching career, though, he was roommates with wrestling star Brian Pillman.
John Harbaugh of the Baltimore Ravens looks on during warmups before a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2018. | Joe Sargent/Getty Images

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Harbaugh has been coaching in the NFL since 1998 when he was special teams coordinator for the Philadelphia Eagles, according to Pro Football Reference. He then became the head coach of the Baltimore Ravens in 2008.

After the Ravens went 5-11 in 2007, the season before Harbaugh became head coach, they ultimately went 11-5 in 2008 and reached the AFC Championship Game. That was the first of five straight playoff appearances for the Ravens. They ultimately reached the AFC Championship Game in three of those five seasons and won the Super Bowl during the 2012 season. 

The Ravens struggled in the seasons after they won the big game. They only went to the playoffs once in five seasons from 2013 through 2017. They have since, however, been to the playoffs each of the last two seasons. In 2019, the Ravens went 14-2 as quarterback Lamar Jackson had an excellent season, winning the league’s MVP award. 

Harbaugh was roommates with Flyin’ Brian Pillman

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In college, Harbaugh was a defensive back for the Miami RedHawks, according to Bleacher Report. He was also roommates with nose tackle Brian Pillman, who later became a wrestling star. 

“He was a great guy, but a crazy guy,” Harbaugh said in the Philadelphia Inquirer, according to Bleacher Report. “They started him off as a ‘good guy’ [in wrestling], but they made him into a bad guy. He was one of the ‘Four Horsemen.’ He made a better bad guy. But really, he was the best football player I ever played with.”

Pillman had a three-year pro football career, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. The last place he played during his football career was in the Canadian Football League for the Calgary Stampeders. After injuries cut his career short, though, he decided to stay in Calgary so he could learn wrestling from Stu Hart, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. 

He later made it into WWF a decade into his career, according to the Enquirer. Pillman went on to captivate fans with his athleticism and personality. His WWE bio says that his “high-octane in-ring abilities were matched only by his unfiltered behavior outside of the squared circle.”

During his career, he had an alliance with “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, previously known as “Stunning” Steve Austin. The two won a WCW Tag Team Championship, according to his bio, and later reformed their alliance in WWF. However, Pillman later joined The Hart Foundation, and had a big feud with Austin, according to The Inquisitr.

Pillman passed away in 1997.

Pillman left behind a son when he died

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Pillman ultimately died of heart disease in 1997 at just 35 years old, according to Sports Illustrated.

“Anytime I got a chance to do business with Brian, it was a good time, but it was very competitive,” Austin said, according to The Inquistr. “And, by the same token, be beat the flying s**t out of me when he wore my a** out and that’s the bottom line.”

Brian Pillman Jr., Pillman’s son, was just a kid when his dad died. Harbaugh has ultimately become a crucial figure in his life, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer.

“He has that same nose-guard stance as his dad, and he’s quick and ferocious,” Harbaugh said in 2010, according to the Enquirer. “He’s built similarly. Their mannerisms are the same. It’s uncanny.”

Pillman Jr. played lacrosse at Mount St. Joseph University but then earned a degree at Northern Kentucky University. He has since, however, followed in his dad’s footsteps. Pillman Jr. is now a wrestler in Major League Wrestling. 

“It’s a shame I can’t form my own opinion on Brian Pillman,” Pillman Jr. said in 2019, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. “I can only go based off of the myths and the legends that I’ve heard and stuff like that, so it’s kinda interesting to be following in that kinda shadow of one that you’re never too certain of if you should even be following.”

Flyin’ Brian Pillman might be gone. However, his talent still lives on through his son.