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As Niners quarterback Colin Kaepernick stepped off the team plane in New Orleans Sunday night, he wore a knit 49ers cap and was singing along softly to a song on his headset.
He hardly appeared to be a young player about to begin the biggest week of his football life.
“Pressure comes from a lack of preparation,” he told the assembled media about 90 minutes later. “This is not a pressure situation. It’s a matter of going out and performing.”
So begins the 49ers Super Bowl week, six days of preparation and practice, as well as mass amount of hype and media attention that will culminate in Sunday’s Super Bowl game against the Baltimore Ravens.
Niners head coach Jim Harbaugh says his team will enjoy the journey, but he also believes his team has the right focus – that this is just one more week of work toward its goal. He’s hoping the 49ers can treat this as just another week on the NFL schedule and a slightly different road trip.
This week, the 49ers will practice and hold meetings at the New Orleans Saints facility, and also hold meetings at their hotel, the way they did the past two seasons when they traveled east on two-game road trips.
“I just want us to enjoy the moment, enjoy the preparation, enjoy the competition when the game comes,” Harbaugh said.
Harbaugh told reporters Monday that the extra pressure that comes with playing in a Super Bowl shouldn’t be a factor this week.
“Dashon Goldson had a quote on our quote board about 2½ weeks ago that said, ‘We get fresher under pressure,’ ” Harbaugh said. “That bodes well for us.”
Added Harbaugh: “We’re super happy to be here. I think this team has the best focus on unity and winning I’ve ever been a part of.”
Since taking over as head coach of the 49ers last season, Harbaugh has a 27-8-1 record (including playoff games). He’s a built a team in an old-fashioned way, with a reliance on a running game, solid defense and special teams, but now has added the special talents of Kaepernick, who can break open a game with his strong arm or his quick feet.
Still, Harbaugh never has coached in a Super Bowl. He plans on enjoying the experience while also keeping his team focused.
“These are uncharted waters for a rookie Super Bowl coach,” Harbaugh told reporters. “But that’s exciting. It’s a great thrill, and we have a desire to be in uncharted waters. We always strive for that kind of challenge.”
To see part of that talk, click here.
Many Super Bowl teams have arrived for the game with video cameras rolling and a lot of celebration. When the Niners arrived, they were low key, much like Kaepernick.
Offensive tackle Joe Staley told the media that’s by design.
“That’s the way we were approaching this,” he told USA Today. “Nobody said anything. We’re not down here to have a good time. We’re here to compete for a Lombardi Trophy.”
As part of their preparation for this week, Harbaugh had center Jonathan Goodwin speak to the team. Goodwin, playing for the Saints, won a Super Bowl in 2009.
“I just told them it’s an unbelievable feeling,” Goodwin told USA Today. “It’s hard to put into words. Winning the NFC Championship Game was great. But winning the Super Bowl is probably 100 times better. I just shared with them that we want to come down here, and it’s a business trip. It’s not necessarily to have fun. It’s to win a football game.
“We have to stay focused throughout the week and try to accomplish the goal we set in training camp.”