NEW ORLEANS - It has been an eventful 24 hours for John Harbaugh, and perhaps the only thing he wishes he could take back was an outburst toward an NFL official toward the end of the Super Bowl power outage.
Harbaugh apologized for his behavior this morning at the Ravens press conference.
“The whole blackout thing, I way overreacted,” he said. “It wasn’t anything to do with the blackout. The blackout had nothing to do with the game. The 49ers just outplayed us for a stretch. They played great. We did not, for a stretch of the game, but I was proud that our guys bounced back and finished.
“I was just concerned about some things that had to do with the headsets and coaches in the press box and if you have to bring guys down. It was really stuff that was never going to be an issue because they handled it so well. A total overreaction on my part and I feel bad about it. It was the one thing I look back on the game and I am disappointed in myself about, because I didn’t have very much poise in that moment.”
Harbaugh spoke at length about a number of other topics, as well, but perhaps the most interesting were his comments on his brother, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh, and the rest of their family.
John Harbaugh called coaching against his brother in the Super Bowl a difficult task he’d rather not do again.
“As you stood there on the field before the game, I kind of came to the conclusion that the only thing that would have been worse is if one of us wasn’t there,” he said. “The only thing that would have been worse than that is if neither one of us were there. It feels pretty rough. It’s really tough.
“The toughest moment of all was walking across the field. If you can imagine, you feel an incredible amount of elation with an incredible amount of devastation. Those two feelings went hand in hand in that moment. I’m still feeling it. That’s just reality. I’m proud of it. He’s the best coach in the National Football League. His record proves it over the last two seasons. What he’s done is just incredible. It hasn’t been done before that I know of. I’m just really proud of him.”
Harbaugh said he hasn’t spoken to his brother since their postgame handshake, but expects him and the 49ers to bounce right back to an elite level.
“Jim is a great competitor. Jim will do what he has always done. He will come out swinging. He will go back to work and work on the draft,” Harbaugh said. “Everybody in this room that has ever competed understands what we all go through when you lose a tough game or a big game.
“It’s tough because you put so much in to it, your heart and your soul. You feel for everybody. No one will handle it better than Jim Harbaugh. He is the best coach in football, and he will have that team roaring back again very soon.”
If it was hard on Harbaugh, it also had to be strange for his parents.
“Thanks to Roger Goodell for what he did for my parents. He had them in the box, along with Tom and Joanie Crean,” Harbaugh said. “I didn’t know until Roger just told me, they didn’t say a word through the whole game. I think the week was great. They were under orders from Jim and I both to enjoy the week and have a great time. That was our instructions, and they did. They made they most of it and had a great time.
“I think it was great for them right up until kickoff, then it wasn’t so great. I think they are just happy that we are beyond it now, and they’re proud as can be. They are happy for both of us. There is not a loser in the Super Bowl. We are kind of a ‘one-or-nothing’ society, but that is so not right. Those are two great teams that just fought a heated battle, played a great football game, a historic football game, a really exciting game. We will be watching that on NFL Films for years to come. That’s what counts. That’s what is deserving of respect.”
Considering the fact that it came as a win over his brother, Harbaugh said he doesn’t intend to watch it again, however.
Harbaugh was also asked about safety Ed Reed’s future with the team. Reed can become a free agent and seems to be back and forth about whether he plans to continue playing.
But Harbaugh hopes to have him back in a Ravens uniform.
“We had that conversation yesterday on the bus ride away from the stadium actually,” Harbaugh said. “He and I both agreed that we want him back. I want him back, and Ed wants to come back. Like Joe (Flacco) says, you never know how these things are going to work out, but we are going to work like crazy to work it out because Ed’s a Baltimore Raven, and hopefully we can make that happen.”
One other topic covered is an overall look at what got the Ravens here. They lost four of their last five games, including three in a row to start December before getting healthy and hot at just the right moment, when the playoffs began.
Could that losing spell have helped the Ravens?
“I think our situation is kind of unique,” Harbaugh said. “We’ve been galvanized throughout. We won a lot of tough games, close games all the way throughout. We lost a couple tough ones. Philadelphia comes to mind. Seeing these guys sitting there. I don’t think it was so much that, that we needed to be reminded of anything, but it was lot of difficult things.
“We had a lot of injuries. We played some teams that were playing really well. If you look at our schedule, we didn’t play anybody that had nothing in place. We didn’t play anybody that was on the downside of their season. We played everybody at their best with the most at stake. If you look at the games we lost, we lost to Pittsburgh and they had everything at stake in terms of making the playoffs in overtime on a field goal. We lost to Washington on the road. They were making their playoff run and were their hottest and their best with everything at stake. They went down and scored eight points in the last minute and kicked the game-winning field goal in overtime.
“Those were tough losses, Denver coming in and just rolling and the game kind of got away from us. They made some plays on us. That was probably our worst performance of the year. We bounced right back against the New York Giants and played our best game of the year in the regular season. The Cincinnati game was more of a game where we really were not playing anybody. I thought our young guys played really well. I was happy at that game and said so at the time.
“Through all that adversity, I think that adversity does help. It makes you tougher. It does callus you up. Through all that, we were improving. Even when we were losing, I felt we were improving the young guys were playing which helped drive the playoffs.”