NEW ORLEANS – It was fitting that the podiums for Donte Whinter and
All season long, the Lumber Co. has been bringing hard hits to opposing teams, en route to being named the starting safeties for the NFC Pro Bowl team. But Whitner and Goldson never made that trip to Hawaii for the NFL’s annual All-Star game. Instead, they spent their Sunday on a plane from the Bay Area to New Orleans for Super Bowl XLVII.
“I’m happy I’m not in Hawaii,” Whitner said. “I’m happy that we are here. Nobody wants to be in Hawaii.”
The two respected defensive backs enjoyed the light tone of Tuesday’s media day sessions, answering questions – some football-related and some off-the-wall – for an hour.
At one point, a reporter asked Goldson who has the best hair on the team.
“Me, of course,” Goldson said, pointing to his long dreadlocks.
Then he was asked who has the second-best hair on the team. Goldson looked to his left towards Whitner’s podium and then responded, “Donte.”
Of course, the competition wouldn’t have been complete without a comment from the bald-headed Whitner, who was relayed Goldson’s comments a few minutes later.
The two safeties have become close friends since they became teammates on the 49ers for the 2011 season. Both players spent the summer as free agents before they both eventually signed with San Francisco.
In the two seasons since, Whitner and Goldson have been a critical part of the defense’s identity as one of the most physical in the league.
“It’s excellent,” Whitner said. “Before last year, free agency came, neither one of us knew what we were going to do. We didn’t have a lot of people calling us, knocking our door down to come. So to team up and really prove that we feel like we are two of the best in the National Football League and have the chance to prove it Sunday, it feels good. That’s my brother on and off the football field. We’re going to have each other’s backs on Sunday.”
The 49ers may be in New Orleans, but their work isn’t done. It’s Super Bowl or bust.
Players and coaches alike have been sharing that sentiment since the team secured its second straight playoff berth of the Jim Harbaugh era. For Whitner, he won’t be satisfied unless the 49ers are successful in their quest for a sixth Super Bowl trophy in franchise history.
“No, wouldn’t say this is the moment,” Whitner said. “I would say when the confetti is coming down on Sunday night, that will be the moment. You always dream of making it here. Some guys like London Fletcher and Takeo Spikes haven’t been here or to the playoffs. You never know when it is going to come. You have to seize the moment and seize the opportunity, and that is what I am going to do.”
The entire team’s close-knit nature was on display Tuesday, from the podiums to the playful scene at the team picture afterwards. On Sunday, Whitner is hoping the world sees the best football team that the NFL has to offer.
“I would say this is the most talented team I have been on,” Whitner said. “Not only talented, but guys come and work hard. When you mix talent and hard work, the results are the Super Bowl.”