Jim Harbaugh and his 49ers arrived in town Sunday evening while John Harbaugh and his Ravens arrive Monday afternoon. This isn’t the first time the brothers will face one another as both teams were the Thanksgiving night game last season with Baltimore beating visiting San Francisco 16-6.
The 49ers were led then by quarterback Alex Smith who had a game to forget as he was sacked nine times to snap an eight-game San Fran winning streak at the time. Colin Kaepernick is now under center and both the 49ers and Ravens offense has grown since the 2011 meeting.
San Francisco will practice all week at the Saints training facility while the Ravens will call Greer Field at Turchin Stadium home. Tulane’s baseball stadium has been re-striped to a football field in the outfield from left to right.
If it appears that San Francisco is comfortable being in the Big Easy it could be because they are. The Saints took on the 49ers on November 25 in a game the 49ers won 31-21. The 49ers won their fourth championship in the Superdome back in 1990 as they thumped the Broncos 55-10 in Super Bowl XXIV. “There is a great 49er history with our team and we’re proud of that,” said Jim Harbaugh Sunday night after his team arrived to the team hotel.
The 49ers are a perfect 5-5 in Super Bowl appearances having never lost a big game winning four in the 1980s. “What I remember, I played against some of those teams, as you described, dominant,” Harbaugh recalled while clearly making the point that this is a different time and team. “The organization has a tremendous history and we’re very proud of it. This is new business and our team is focused on winning a championship.”
“The 49ers had a tradition for a while where they were winning Super Bowls and contenders all the time,” 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis told reporters Sunday. “They kind of went through a dry spell, so it feels good to be back. It feels good to be a part of what’s going on right now considering the first four years were pretty bad.”
GOODY IS BACK
Goodwin says he chose the 49ers because they simply had the better offer but that it wasn’t easy knowing what he was leaving. “I flew out there with my wife,” Goodwin says, “I was at one of their practices and I went out to eat with Coach Harbaugh and Greg Roman. That night I decided I was going to come and in the morning I changed my mind. Then on my way to the airport to fly back to New Orleans, I ended up changing my mind again.”
San Francisco made it clear that they wanted Goodwin not only for what he brought on the field but for having won a championship as well. The experience he had of winning the Super Bowl with the Saints has already been passed to coach Harbaugh. “I just told him it’s an unbelievable feeling, a feeling that’s hard to put into words,” Goodwin says of the advice he’s given. “Winning the NFC Championship is great, but winning the Super Bowl is probably a 100 times better. I shared that we want to come down here and it’s a business trip, not necessarily to have fun. It’s to win a football game. We have to be able to stay focused throughout the week and try to accomplish the goal we said we wanted to do in training camp.”
The center has thought about what it would be like to add another memory to a place that already holds plenty. “I love the city of New Orleans. It’s definitely a place I want to come back and visit often,” said Goodwin. “To be able to go in the Superdome where I already have a lot great memories and a chance to make another great memory, is something I would always cherish. Hopefully we can get the job done but it’s definitely a special feeling to be back here in New Orleans playing in this game.”