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49ers Arrive for Super Bowl XLVII

Posted Jan 27, 2013

NEW ORLEANS – A room full of national media members got a taste of the unique personalities of San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh and a handful of his standout players.

Sunday night’s debut media session for the NFC Champions featured Harbaugh and second-year quarterback Colin Kaepernick addressing the team’s handling of newfound national attention.

Both explained how the 49ers are fit to handle the adversity that’ll come with increased attention now that the team has made it to New Orleans to play the Baltimore Ravens on Feb. 3 for Super Bowl XLVII.

“Enjoy the moment, enjoy the preparation,” Harbaugh said of how his team plans to handle the Super Bowl stage. “I think that’s what our team loves most, the meetings, the practices, the competition.”

The 49ers might boast one of the most complete teams in all of professional football, but what makes them most formidable is the togetherness in which they play.

Spending an entire week in New Orleans should only bring the group together.

“It’s really like a family,” Kaepernick explained. “We spend more time with each other than anybody else.”

Harbaugh compared this week to the 49ers’ week-long trips in Youngstown, Ohio, where the club utilized ownership’s Midwestern connection to split back-to-back East Coast trips earlier this season. The 49ers won the second matchup of the Youngstown trek in consecutive seasons.

“I think it’s a good thing we’ve done this the last two years,” Harbaugh explained. “We had meetings at hotel then went to a facility to practice.”

The 49ers will utilize the New Orleans Saints facilities this week as they prepare for the Ravens on Sunday.

Harbaugh wouldn’t reveal much in regards to his team’s preparation plans this week. The 49ers coach said his plan was to keep to the team’s normal routine when given two weeks to prepare for a game.

“We got a good idea,” Harbaugh said. “It’s what we’ve done and it’s been successful so far… Our team is focused, focused on wining.”

Besides Harbaugh and Kaepernick, several leaders in the 49ers locker room were made available to the press. Defensive co-captain Justin Smith couldn’t help but marvel over all of the cameras in front of his face as he sat in a hotel ballroom.

“It’s pretty interesting to see what it’s all about,” said Smith, who’s shown no lingering effects from a triceps injury that cost him the final two games of the regular season.

Smith downplayed the media attention, but reiterated Harbaugh’s message about the team being together all week being the biggest takeaway from the experience now underway.

“If anything,” Smith began, “it’ll bring us together, we’ll be on the same floor all week.”

Harbaugh’s plan is to treat the Super Bowl like another two-week buildup to either a season opener or a Divisional Playoff. The 49ers beat the Green Bay Packers in both of those circumstances.

The only difference in preparing for the Ravens with two weeks is the attention that comes along with it.

“Unchartered waters,” Harbaugh said. “But that’s exciting, too. We have a great thrill and great desire to be in unchartered waters.”

San Francisco, however, has been through five other Super Bowl experiences without a defeat. Harbaugh, a 15-year NFL quarterback, went to Super Bowl XXIV in New Orleans, a 55-10 victory by the 49ers over the Denver Broncos.

“There’s a great 49ers history with our team and we’re proud of that,” Harbaugh told reporters.

The 49ers coach went on to explain how his team has dealt with challenges this season. He went on to quote Pro Bowl safety Dashon Goldson.

“We get fresher under pressure,” Harbaugh said, summing up Goldson’s quote that was written in the team’s locker room during the postseason. “That bodes well for us.”

While Harbaugh respects the previous Super Bowl-winning teams in 49ers history, he wants his own players to experience the great thrill of victory in the biggest game in professional sports.

“This is new business and our team is focused on winning a championship,” Harbaugh said.

Still, it’s hard not for the players to downplay the team’s history. Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Staley has been with the club since 2007 and is very much aware of the previous five championship teams.

“They’re proudly displayed,” Staley said of the five Vince Lombardi Trophies in the team’s Santa Clara headquarters. “There’s a real tradition, you’re reminded by the fan base as well.”

Staley will be reminded of that tradition throughout the week. It’s hard not to during Super Bowl festivities, but the two-time Pro Bowler plans on keeping his focus on writing his own chapter in San Francisco’s proud history.

“We’re trying to establish our own identity,” Staley said. “We’re trying to create our own tradition, thing everyone can be excited about.”

Togetherness was evident among this year’s team when they left the Bay Area. Before the players took off for New Orleans, Michael Crabtree gave offensive skill players Jumpman track suits with matching Air Jordans.

Kaepernick was thrilled.

“Everybody was excited,” said Kaepernick, who wore the black and red outfit on the flight along with the team’s wide receivers and tight ends.  “Free Jordans? I’ll take it any day.”

Sneakers aside, there’s a great deal of mutual respect among this year’s 49ers team.

Whether it’s in Youngstown or New Orleans, they’re happy to be in the same place together.

But even with all the media attention coming their way, Kaepernick and his teammates are keeping their humble, but hungry approach.

“It’s just head-down, keep working,” said Kaepernick, who will make his 10th career start at the Super Bowl.

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