The 49ers went through the ringer on Tuesday, as they dealt with Media Day in New Orleans. It involved sitting around for an hour and getting just about every possible question thrown your way. 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh, often prickly with the media, was pretty solid at Media Day, as he answered plenty of questions. He has been surprisingly solid overall throughout the build-up.
Here is a rundown of the many topics he discussed. He spoke about QB Colin Kaepernick, the 49ers offensive line, facing off against his brother and several things about his youth. One of my favorite questions and answers was when someone asked him how to tell the difference between the two brothers and Jim said, I'm taller. Pretty simple really!
HEAD COACH JIM HARBAUGH
(on coming back to win the NFC Championship game after being behind) "The thing we notice the most, not anything that was said or talked about, but just the reaction of the players on the sideline. Nobody flinched, no finger pointing. Just understanding what they needed to do."
(on whether the 49ers have the advantage in the trenches) "That will be a huge challenge in the pass. Baltimore up front, the offensive line and defensive line are huge. It's like 320 pounds of gristle across the front. We're up to the challenge. I feel like our guys are up to the task."
(on his game plan for Colin Kaepernick) "You'd like for your opponents to think of all the possibilities."
(on why he decided to start Colin Kaepernick) "The way he played. Colin deserves all the credit for the way he's produced, the way he's acquitted himself in these games. Our team has great faith in him. The thing you see in his eyes is the competitive fire, the poise beyond his years."
(on what the York family means to him) "Tremendously talented, special family. There's a lot of finger prints on the success of this team. A lot of credit goes to the York family."
(on his message to the troops overseas who will be watching the Super Bowl) "There's so many things that we try to be about that you do every day. The biggest thing is that you lay it on the line. We try to emulate that, we try to be about that. It's not in the same manner that you do, but it's by your example."
(on what Super Bowl XLVII means for his family) "I think it means a lot. I know they're very excited about it."
(on comparing this week to the week his team spent in Youngstown, Ohio) "There are a few similarities to our experience in Youngstown. The fact that we stayed in a hotel in preparation for a Sunday game. Had meetings there, bussed to another facility. There are some similarities."
(on whether he is enjoying New Orleans) "Personally, for myself and our coaches, it's a very normal week. Find ourselves in the film room, dark rooms, watching tape of the Baltimore Ravens. They're very excited today to get out on the practice field with our team and meet with the players and continue our preparation for the Super Bowl."
(on where he will be celebrating) "I don't think that's something you need to plan. I think that's something that will be amazing."
(on getting in the mind of an opposing head coach that he knows so well) "I haven't considered that. Mainly, we're just focused on our own preparation. Our expectation is to have a great day today. Great meetings and great workout over at the facility and continue our preparations for the game."
(on the 49ers biggest challenge) "It's going to have to be earned. Playing against the Baltimore Ravens, there are two big challenges. Number one is their talent and also their character. They're a team that plays with a great amount of heart."
(on Ray Lewis) "Ray Lewis is one of the greatest players to ever play the game. He's a fine person, he's a great football player, and a man I truly respect."
(on whether he will see his brother before the game) "I believe we're having a press conference together on Friday, so I would see him then."
(on the press conference that his parents are having) "Yes, my parents are very excited and they're very proud of their entire family. This is a special week for them."
(on how he would rate his brother as a coach) "He's a great coach. He's very talented. I've said it many times, I think I'm half the coach that he is but I'm trying. That might be a little bit generous. I have less than half the experience he has, less than half the playoff appearances, wins, etc. We know the task ahead of us, we know the great challenge ahead of us."
(on his least favorite thing about John Harbaugh) "I don't have that on the tip of my tongue."
(on his dad's leadership style as a football coach) "This is the way I'd describe my dad: the song "Cats in the Cradle", my dad was the direct opposite of that song and we both turned out just like our dad. When we were growing up, my dad would play catch with us, he would take us to games and, most of all, he believed in us. We grew up just like him."
(on whether he has any good luck charms) "In terms of good luck charms, there aren't any. We're superstitious about not being superstitious."
(on if he's worried that his brother can read his mind) "No. Worried about a lot of things, but I have not noticed that he has any clairvoyant powers."
(on who Ray Lewis' first sack came against) "I've been informed that that was myself."
(on whether he will spend time with John socially before the game) "Not that there is planned."
(on how he feels going to the Super Bowl so early in his career) "We're super excited about this. We know we have a great task and challenge ahead of us."
(on how he feels facing his brother in the Super Bowl) "There's no question that it's very exciting playing against my brother, John. The thing I also think about is the San Francisco 49ers, our players. They're my brothers. For he who sheds his blood with me today shall be my brother. I feel that about our players, I felt that and still do about our Stanford players and our USD players. This is their time. This game is about them playing with their brothers. I know the Ravens feel the same way and let the best team win. We hope that will be us."
(on his relationship with Vic Fangio) "I would say this, Vic Fangio, Greg Roman and Brad Seely are the three best coordinators in all of football. Coached together with Greg and Vic at Stanford, and our lives have gone nothing but straight up since those two men joined our program. Had a chance to meet Vic when I would visit the Ravens when Vic was coaching for Baltimore. From the earliest conversations I had with them, I just had the most tremendous amount of respect you could have for a coach and his knowledge. When Vic became available, I'm sure I was the first phone call. I knew about it right away, as soon as it happened, and tried to convince him to come be the defensive coordinator at Stanford and he came. He left an indelible mark on the Stanford football program as he is doing with the San Francisco 49ers."
(on playing in the Superdome after Katrina) "We're happy to be here. I think this is one of the most historic places to have a Super Bowl. Great tradition of having Super Bowls and also want to thank the New Orleans Saints. We look forward to using their facility this week. We were in the weight room yesterday. Tremendous facilities and we appreciate their hospitality. A lot of gratitude towards the Saints."
(on one thing he's concerned about with his team this week) "We're concerned, first and foremost, about playing the Baltimore Ravens. Understanding that task and that challenge ahead of us. The Ravens are a very talented team. Also, they have a lot of heart. They have a lot of character on that team by overcoming adversity week after week, playing at the highest level. Understanding that challenge ahead of us is ingrained in our minds. We want to continue to compete like maniacs."
(on whether he second-guessed himself after naming Colin Kaepernick the starter) "I hesitate to answer those questions about that. All those questions and answers really lead to a lot of self-promotion. The main thing is, the way Colin Kaepernick has played is a credit to Colin Kaepernick and to his teammates. It's their time. I'd rather answer those questions another time."
(on whether he and John fought as kids) "I'm sure we did. As to who won and who lost, I can't remember. I have a hard time remembering what I did last Tuesday."
(on how he would console his brother if he beat him) "That's a very interesting thing. Life is full of bitter disappointments. I think we all understand this going into this game. We both want to desperately win and be a part of a championship. The great thrill of winning is there, but we understand the other side of that. We'll do everything in our power to not let that happen."
(on where his parents will watch the game) "They'll be in the stadium."
(on his team) "Our football team is a focused team. They're focused on unity they're focused on winning, more so than any other team I've ever been around or observed. I think that bodes very well for us."
(on what he remembers about the sack he took from Ray Lewis) "I don't remember anything about that. I could make something up, but I'd be making it up. I don't remember the play."
(on being on the opposite sideline as his brother) "I think it will be a great honor. I said earlier, that's my brother on the other sideline. I love him and care about him very much. He's a tremendous competitor. It's a great challenge and task to play his team. Also, my brothers are on my sideline."
(on working under his dad at Western Kentucky) "It was a tremendous honor and opportunity to coach with my dad. It's something I'll remember forever. All those youngsters that played on the Western Kentucky teams, had a chance to get to know them and watch them compete. That was one of the great thrills of my life to watch those men win the championship."
(on his memories of visiting Tulane for the head coaching position) "I had a wonderful experience interviewing for the Tulane job. I had a great opportunity. It's a tremendous city and a fine university. I was really happy to have the opportunity to interview for that job."
(on whether he watched the Super Bowls with his brother growing up) "Yes, we watched all those games. Watched all those Super Bowls, watched all those championship games. Probably like every other kid, we'd go out at halftime and play in the yard and pretend we were the Dallas Cowboys or the Pittsburgh Steelers or the Green Bay Packers or the San Francisco 49ers. I remember the fun and the competition."
(on preparing Colin Kaepernick for the Super Bowl) "Colin deserves all the credit for that. Colin has worked extremely hard. He has studied extremely hard. He's a wonderfully focused young man and competes like a maniac. He and his teammates have been preparing well for this game and that continues this week because we know the challenge and the task that's ahead of us."