NEW ORLEANS — One down, one to go.
The San Francisco 49ers arrived Sunday night to begin on-site preparations for their game against the Baltimore Ravens in Super Bowl XLVII next Sunday in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Ravens are due in Monday afternoon.
The Niners’ charter flight touched down at Louis Armstrong International at about 6:50 p.m. — 40 minutes ahead of schedule. A little more than 90 minutes later, coach Jim Harbaugh and six players spoke with reporters at their hotel as the Super Bowl media crunch officially began.
Center Jonathan Goodwin, who won a Super Bowl ring with the Saints three years ago, said he already had made reservations at a few of his favorite restaurants.
“Flying down here with my teammates was special,” he said. “What a hard-working group of guys. To see these guys experience this success and get to this stage is something I’m really happy about.”
Harbaugh was brief and businesslike as he spoke for about 15 minutes. His opening statement: “We’re super excited to be here. Questions?”
It was quite a contrast to the emotional Harbaugh often seen on the sideline, but tackle Joe Staley said Harbaugh’s emotions aren’t the best indicator of why he has been so successful in getting the 49ers to the Super Bowl in his second season.
“That motivation stuff is overrated,” Staley said. “There are lot of motivated guys in the locker room. It could be a dry professor up there talking. It’s about X’s and O’s. What he’s so good at is knowing schemes and being deceptive in how he uses schemes.”
Harbaugh said he had brief conversations last week with former Super Bowl coaches Bill Cowher and John Madden about preparing for the game.
“Our team is really focused on winning,” he said. “We’re treating this week like a normal week. Getting here on Sunday, we’ll start Monday like a normal week leading up to a Sunday game. That’s our plan. This team is focused on unity and winning better than any team I’ve been around.”
This is San Francisco’s second trip to New Orleans in the past nine weeks; the 49ers beat the Saints 31-21 on Nov. 24 in the Superdome.
“Our whole team has played in this stadium,” Harbaugh said. “I don’t know if that counts as an advantage.”
Both teams will have similar news conferences Monday before the Media Day circus takes place Tuesday in the Superdome.
San Francisco has been victorious in each of its five previous Super Bowl appearances. The 49ers won 28-24 at Atlanta 28-24 on Jan. 20 to wrap up their first Super Bowl berth since they defeated the San Diego Chargers 49-26 after the 1995 season.
“The 49ers have had a tradition for a while,” linebacker Patrick Willis said. “For a while they were winning Super Bowls and contending all the time, then there was a lull. It feels good to be a part of what’s going on right now.”
The other San Francisco players on hand were quarterback Colin Kaepernick, defensive tackle Justin Smith and safety Dashon Goldson.
Harbaugh and six other 49ers players will have a media availability Monday. Later, Ravens coach John Harbaugh, Jim’s brother, and six of his players — including linebacker Ray Lewis and safety Ed Reed from Destrehan — will speak with reporters.
The NFC champion 49ers will practice this week at the Saints’ training facility in Metairie. The AFC champion Ravens are slated to practice at Tulane.