As the Ravens prepare to square off with the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, Harbaugh is calling upon his experiences from Super Bowl XXXIX when he was the Philadelphia Eagles' special-teams coordinator.
The Eagles lost that Super Bowl following the 2004 regular season to the New England Patriots in Jacksonville, Fla., but Harbaugh learned a lot about how former Eagles coach Andy Reid went about preparing his team.
"It’s been a long time and I don’t have the memory stick going that well right now, but Andy left me a book this thick for Super Bowl playing," Harbaugh said upon arriving in New Orleans for Super Bowl XLVII. "That’s Andy, that’s meticulous. I think the experience of going through the Super Bowl experience one time is positive for a coach, and it’s positive for a player. You have a sense of the timing a little bit. You understand how the week goes.
"You understand the distractions, the potential distractions, and you understand the timeline for the game as much as anything. That will be a plus, but they’re all different. I remember it was Jacksonville; it was kind of cold that week. That’s the biggest memory I have of that week. And the fact that we did not win, you never forget that.”
Coming up with and orchestrating a detailed schedule and practice regimen and avoiding potential distractions are among the priorities for Harbaugh this week as he gets ready to face his brother, Jim Harbaugh, on the opposing sideline.
Like most coaches, Harbaugh is devoted to a certain routine.
“Sure, we’re going to have a similar schedule to what we always have, as much as possible," Harbaugh said. "If it weren’t for the media we could do it 100 percent the way we always do it. So you guys are in the way right? No, just kidding. It’s OK. We’re going to embrace all that. I think we embrace the things that are a little bit different about it because we’re at the Super Bowl.
"It’s got to be a little bit different. Let’s put that where it belongs, make the most of it, and let’s make the most of our preparation. We’re going to get our full meeting times. We’re going to get our full practice times. We’ll be ready to go on Sunday.”
Harbaugh displayed a sense of humor during his first news conference down here, noting again the uncanny resemblance between Newsday football writer Bob Glauber and Indiana basketball coach Tom Crean, Harbaugh's brother-in-law.
He was asked about his coaching influences, which include former Michigan coach Bo Schembechler as well as family, including his father, Jack, a former Division I-AA championship coach at Western Kentucky, as well as his brother.
"Well looking at you, I think of Tom Crean right away," Harbaugh said. "Stand up for the cameras so they can take a look at you, you’re a Tom Crean look alike. You know, you talk about Bo Schembechler. We grew up with coach Schembechler, and [with] Bo, Woody [Hayes], ‘The Ten Year War’, all those kinds of things.
"That’s a foundation for all of us. I would say Jim probably, and Tom. Those are the guys we talk to almost every single day during the offseason and sometimes during the season just about coaching and issues we have. So we try to keep it in the family.”