Goodwin, Haggans Return to Super Bowl


Of all the players who walk in and out of the 49ers locker room on a daily basis, only two have Super Bowl rings: Jonathan Goodwin and Clark Haggans.

But just because they've already been there before, it doesn't mean the emotions that go with it are watered down. Goodwin's smiling face said it all after the thrilling 28-24 win in at Atlanta in the NFC Championship game last week.

"Feels just as sweet. I'm in heaven," Goodwin said amongst the chaotic postgame locker room scene. "I want to win it. I don't want to just get there, I want to win it."

Now that he's had a couple of days to digest it, Goodwin is gearing up for two weeks of preparation before Super Bowl Sunday.

Since the 49ers have clinched the NFC title, Goodwin and Haggans have shared stories of their championship runs. Goodwin earned his ring as the starting center on the New Orleans Saints during the 2009 season, while Haggans earned his as a starting linebacker with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2005.

"There's no better feeling than that, honestly," Haggans said. "It's euphoric; that's the best word I got for it."

Haggans also knows how it feels like to come up short. He was part of the 2008 Arizona Cardinals team that streaked into the Super Bowl only to lose to the Steelers, his former team.

In all, four active 49ers have Super Bowl experience, as Randy Moss lost Super Bowl XLII with the Patriots after the 2007 season and David Akers lost Super Bowl XXXIX with the Philadelphia Eagles following the 2004 season. Receiver Mario Manningham, who is on the Injured Reserve, was also part of last year's Super Bowl-winning team with the New York Giants.

But as Haggans reflects on his past experiences, it's easier for him to remember the sweet taste of victory than the bitter sting of defeat.

"The win. Always the win," Haggans said. "About 90 seconds after the game, you look up to the scoreboard and it's the best feeling. It's indescribable. I was talking to Goody (Goodwin) about it and all you can do is shake your head, because you don't have the words."

For Goodwin, it will be a return to the city that embraced him, his teammates and his family as they reinvigorated New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina.

The 11-year veteran center spent five seasons with the Saints and said he's looking forward to playing the Superdome again. He'll also be happy to reunite with his wife and newborn son, Cade, who was born last week near the family's home in Columbia, S.C.

As happy as he is to play in New Orleans, Goodwin's main aim is to fly back to the Bay Area with the Lombardi Trophy and give San Francisco its second World Championship parade in six months.

"That would be something special for the city and it's something that we hope to give them," Goodwin said. "But we still got to prepare pretty well. It won't be easy."

Goodwin and Haggans have been eager to help their teammates get prepared for the big stage of the Super Bowl. Part of that equation is the increased media presence that will turn into a full-on frenzy by the time the team lands in New Orleans on Sunday night.

Goodwin, for one, is looking forward to hearing soft-spoken players like guard Mike Iupati take the press conference podiums and hold court.

"He'll do well," Goodwin said after letting out a loud chuckle. "It'll be new to him. I don't know if I've ever seen Mike talk to you guys (reporters). But he's a nice person, a gentle giant."

Once all the hype and buildup subsides, it will be back to football for the 49ers and Ravens. For a sport that is centered around men with relentless work ethics, Haggans said it's almost an odd feeling to reach a point where you win the championship and there's no more work to do.

"Can't do nothing else," Haggans said.

While many moons have passed since Haggans reached the pinnacle of football, the memories are still fresh in his mind. If all goes well in New Orleans, he'll have another championship experience to look back on for the rest of his life.

"It never goes away. That type of experience, this type of experience for everyone in the locker room, living in the now, in the moment – it's timeless, " Haggans said. "Every time you sit there and reflect and think about it, it will always seem like yesterday.

"You can probably ask guys that played from the 49ers teams that won the Super Bowl years ago, they remember it just like yesterday. You remember exactly what you wore to the game, after the game, what you ate. I know I can."


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