Football divides twins

Published 12:01 am Sunday, January 15, 2012

ERIC SHELTON | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Identical twins Harry Smith, left, and Harold Smith were on different sides of the fence when it came to Saturday’s anticipated NFL game. Harry is a 49ers fan, whereas Harold is a Saints fan.

NATCHEZ — Harry and Harold Smith may be twin brothers, but they didn’t watch the game together Saturday afternoon.

When Harold’s team, the Saints, took on Harry’s team, the 49ers, each brother watched the game at a separate location. Harry said he didn’t want to make the atmosphere any more anxious than it already was.

“We take it seriously,” Harry said. “There’s too much tension.”

Harold echoed his brother’s feelings.

“This is our Super Bowl,” Harold said.

But Harry and Harold didn’t mind exchanging verbal blows before the Saints and the 49ers squared off Saturday afternoon in the NFC Divisional Round.

“We’re going to have to score,” Harry said. “We’re need to come out with our game face on, and we have to play a perfect game — offense, defense and special teams.”

Harold said he didn’t like the 49ers’ chance of doing so.

“Not going to happen,” Harold said.

But Harry was more confident in his team.

“Even though we’re the underdogs, we’re going to make it happen,” Harry said prior to the game. “Today we’re serving hot dogs, because we’re the underdog. Tomorrow, we’re serving cheese, because (the Saints fans) will be eating cheese.”

Harold said he’s been a lifelong Saints fan, and chastised his brother for jumping ship during the team’s rougher years.

“New Orleans has been my team ever since its existence,” Harold said. “I’ve stuck with them through the good times and the bad, and I’ve been with them the whole time.”

Harry, by contrast, adopted the 49ers in the 1980s, Harry said.

“I started off a Saints fan, and they were doing so bad that I had a friend tell me I needed to pick a team,” Harry said.

And Harry said he chose the 49ers because of players like Jerry Rice, Steve Young and Joe Montana. But Harold has a different take on his brother’s defection.

“He went with the 49ers to go with a winning team,” Harold said.

Harry said he likes what head coach Jim Harbaugh has done with his favorite team, especially on defense.

“He’s really turned them around,” Harry said. “I love our defense. We’re heavy (on that side of the ball). And by the way, (Harold is) lying. I chose the 49ers because of the players.”

Harold said after many losing seasons, it’s nice for the Saints to be on top. But that didn’t change the fact that Harold was tense prior to the game, he said.

“I’ll be watching it at a local hospital just in case,” Harold joked. “I’ll go ahead and book it and get the IV ready.”