Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Quotes from Baltimore Ravens' John Harbaugh ahead of Sunday's Super Bowl between the Ravens and San Francisco 49ers.
QUOTES FROM BALTIMORE RAVENS MEDIA SESSION
HEAD COACH JOHN HARBAUGH
(opening statement) "Thank you for being here. I want to thank all the fans for being here, that's a great deal. We're excited to be here. The Baltimore Ravens are fired up. We've had a great trip so far. We've had some football work, but more than anything we're looking forward to getting started on that tomorrow. We're trying to make the most of our day today."
(on his brother Jim Harbaugh saying that John is a better coach) "He's just trying to soften me up. Thank you very much, that's a great question right there. He's just trying to soften me up. I know how he operates, I've heard that before. He's a great coach. I'm proud of Jim, I'm proud of what he's doing. Proud of their accomplishments, I'm very impressed by their team. It's not surprising. It's the same way that he's played and coached or whatever he's done his whole life. That's kind of how that team works."
(on their sibling rivalry) "Do you have a brother? So you understand, right? Anybody who has a brother especially on that's close in age, gets it. You just grow up fighting for everything. You fight for the extra hotdog. You fight for girls. You fight for everything. We both got our girls, but we both want a victory this week. .
(on whether they ever fought about who would win the Super Bowl) "No we never predicted that. We had our fights, we had our imaginary games more often in the back yard. We were never coaches, I could tell you that. We were the quarterback and the receiver, we were the stars, we were the players. The truth of it is that's what this game is going to be decided by. It's not going to be about the coaches. It's about the guys playing the game and making the plays, like it always is. That's how it always plays out."
(on whether they are living their childhood dream) "Living our childhood dream? Yeah, I would say so. To me, in life you never know where your dreams are going to take you. While it's great to dream, it's more important to kind of leave open the possibilities of what God's got in store for you and just see where that takes you. To me that's what happened here. These are kind of beyond my dreams. I don't know if I could have ever possibly dreamed that this was even remotely possible."
(on the first Super Bowl in New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina) "That's a great thing. It's been really neat to drive around town. We've had the police escort so we beat the traffic a little bit, and we've had a chance to look at the city and see the rebuilding that's been done. I see all the documentaries and seen all the different things that the different stars have done to help rebuild the city. To see it up close and personal it's kind of special. To see the Super Dome is in such great shape. As a coach I haven't been here in five or six years, we were with Philadelphia and played down here for a divisional game. It looks great, the whole city looks great."
(on his dad saying that he once considered a career in politics) "I wish I could think of something really clever to say like, ‘President Obama said he wouldn't let his kids get into football, our dad wouldn't let us get into politics so maybe that's what it was.' I wanted to do that but dad said, ‘No, it's not safe,' which it probably isn't."
(on what lessons he has taken from his father) "The biggest thing about our dad was just competing. That's one thing he always taught us. It didn't matter - he wanted us to win, he always said they keep score for a reason so you want to have the most points. But if you gave it everything you had, if you gave it a fight right until the end then you were okay by him. But if there was ever a time you didn't run out a pop fly, or finish out a play or you wanted to quit before the season was over, that was unheard of. So that's rubbed off on us pretty well."
(on his dad's coaching style) "My dad's leadership style as a coach was enthusiasm; as he says, ‘Enthusiasm unknown to mankind.' He was a go-getter, the best motivator I've ever heard. He's talked to our team and Jim's team a number of times. You'll never hear a better motivational story from anybody than Jack Harbaugh. His teams were rough and tough and physical. He ran the triple option, I've seen a little bit of that from Jim's team now so I'm starting to wonder if they've been having some conversations behind my back. But my dad was a great coach."
(on how he's liking New Orleans so far) "So far all I've really seen is our hotel. I really can't comment on any of the cuisine or anything like that but Jacoby Jones' mom brought over some great food. We all ate homemade Jambalaya. We had chicken, we had macaroni and cheese; there was a whole bunch of stuff. I don't know what it was but it was good and she won a lot of us."
(on how the losing brother will handle the loss) "We've been down that before as NFL coaches, but pretty much our whole lives. We don't need consoling. We've been in so many battles we pretty much know we don't need it. The other guy wouldn't want to hear it anyway, just move on and move to the next one. We'll probably get a good golf game going sometime in the offseason and that will be good revenge for somebody."
(on the celebration after the game) "I haven't really thought that far ahead. I'm sure that Mr. Bisciotti has something planned for after the game and as players and coaches it's our job to make sure that it's a happy party. That's what we have to get done and the only way to do that is by winning."
(on whether he has talked to his brother recently) "We didn't spend a whole lot of time talking. We did talk a little on the phone last night which was cool. We were talking about tickets and making sure mom and dad had a hotel room. That was pretty much the conversation, logistics."
(on whether his parents will be wearing half Ravens, half 49ers clothes) "They would never do that. They would never wear half and half clothes. They'll probably be neutral. My guess is they'll probably be out of camera view once the game starts and they will be a bundle of nerves."
(on whether Ray Lewis could be the teams chaplain after he retires) "We have already used him as our team chaplain so Ray could double up anytime he wants. He can coach; he can do whatever he wants. I think Ray's got big plans. Ray's that kind of guy and when he's done playing he's always a guy trying to affect people and change the way that people think and make an impact on the world. I've got a feeling he's going to do that in some big ways."
(on the way the team has overcome adversity this season) "Really proud of our players and our coaches, what our guys have been able to accomplish - to me it's built the whole season we played four games in the first 17 days of the season. We've had personal tragedies with guys like Torrey Smith. Pernell McPhee has been through a lot. Coaches have been through a lot of different things that people don't know about. It's hard to understand if you're not on the inside of a team with what's going on. So many times the adversity and the criticism and the white-hot spotlight of the National Football League and you lose one game and everybody kind of thinks it's the end of the world. Inside your team it can either push it apart of push you together. I think our guys have been drawn together because of that. We're more a team than any team I've ever been around and I've been around some great teams. These guys are as close to that as any team that you'll ever be a part of. They really love each other, they really do, and they really care about each other. That's why they win even better as the season goes on and better as games go on they find ways to win games."
(on playing for the fans) "Our fans have been fantastic all year, no less so than at the Inner Harbor man. We had the sendoff and the fans were incredible; there were thousands of fans there. We'll be looking for that wall of purple just like we always do at home. I'm sure there's going to be a bunch of fans here, they're going to provide us with a lot of noise and support our guys. But we'll probably hear all our fans all the way back in Maryland. We'll hear them all the way back there. We've taken those fans with us; we've carried them to the Superdome. They're going to be in our hearts. They're going to be with us here in New Orleans and we're going to try to win this game for them."
(on what was implemented at the beginning of the season that lead to the team's success) "I think we implemented something that is pretty important for every team and that's just work, the willingness to work. We have a bunch of guys that didn't mind working, a bunch of guys that love to work and compete. If you start with that as a foundation you stay loose, you stay focused. Accountability is big. Take care of one another. Do what you can to get from one day to the next. We try to get better every single day."
(on who won when he went one-on-one with his brother) "I have to say that most of the time I won. I was older in all honesty. I won most of the battles early. He will probably refute that. We had a lot of arguments over it. Who cut the grass last, that was the biggest thing. He refused to admit that it was his turn. He refused to do that."
(on how he is preparing to face a head coach that he is so familiar with) "My philosophy going against another coach is thank goodness we don't square off against each other in the middle of the field, nobody would pay to see that. That's an old Coach Reid-ism. It's a great opportunity; it's going to be fun. But it's two teams going against each other. It's the players, those are the guys that really deserve the attention. Those are the guys who have really won the games to get here. I know Jim feels the same way. I love our team, I love our players. I love the heart they bring out there and the competitive determination they bring to the table."
(on what coaching philosophies he got from his dad) "I think everything that we are as coaches goes back to when we were kids. So not so much about watching Super Bowls together, it was more about that experience. Growing up as Jack Harbaugh's son, who coached at the University of Michigan for several years for Bo Schembechler. That's what molded us. That's the philosophy we came to understand. Things like the team being the number one thing. Things like you're either getting better or you're getting worse, you never stay the same. I hear Jim say that all the time about getting one percent better. That's the kind of stuff we grew up with so to me that just come so naturally for us."
(on the importance of the fullback position) "Fullbacks, as a former fullback, they all look the same. That's the build of a fullback right there. It's definitely the toughest position to play. It's an unsung position and he's the guy that plows open the holes for the tailback. The tailback gets the yards and the fullback gets the bruises. It's going to be a big battle. They've got great linebackers, (Patrick) Willis and NaVarro Bowman are two of the best linebackers in the game and Vonta (Leach) is probably the best fullback in the game right now. I think the game is going to hinge at large in those battles that are won or lost in the trenches."
(on whether they are focusing on the run game or the pass game) "You know, you go either way really. We think we're pretty balanced. I'm sure we'll be involved in both. But with the run game, whatever team can run the ball the most is going to have a big advantage in this game."
(on the importance of the Ravens victory over the Giants) "The Giants game was a turning point in the sense that we won our division. So that got us over the hump that way and we knew that we'd be playing at home in the first round. But I think it was more of a progression, the Giants game. Throughout the course of those three losses we were improving as a football team. We were improving throughout the course of the season; you didn't always see the outcome because we had injuries and different things that were affecting us. Our effectiveness was different from one week to the next because of different adversities that we were facing. But our guys throughout the course of the season found ways to win games at the end of really tough situations and you can point at a whole bunch of different games and see that. We were unable in those three games to find a way to win one of those games at the end, especially the two that were the close games. And then against the Giants it kind of all came together for us from an execution standpoint. We were starting to get healthy, we were able to build on that through the playoffs and here we are now."