By John Clayton
Pro Football Writers of America
NEW ORLEANS—First, it’s the Harbaugh Super Bowl. On Friday, it will be the Harbaugh dual press conference. Thursday offered the Harbaugh dual practice.
Preferring to move from the field built on the baseball field at Tulane University, John Harbaugh moved the Baltimore Ravens practice to the New Orleans Saints facility in Metairie, La., putting both John and Jim Harbaugh in the same facility at roughly the same time as they prepared their teams for Super Bowl XLVII.
With the help of the Saints and local merchants, the NFL was able to acquire approximately 100 feet of piping drapes to block the views of both teams. The league covered up all the windows in the weight room. The brothers worked together on the arrangements while the NFL football operations staff did their best to create two separate, secure practice venues in the same site.
“Just cooperating spirits,’’ Jim Harbaugh said.
This isn’t the first time two teams practiced on the same field for a Super Bowl. In Super Bowl XXXVIII in Houston, the New England Patriots and the Carolina Panthers both used the Houston Texans facility, which is located at Reliant Field.
Rain forced the Patriots to spend three days at the Texans facility because of soaked field at Rice University. The Panthers moved a Friday practice from the University of Houston to Reliant Stadium, meaning the two teams shared the facility for one day of practice and a Saturday walk-through.
The 49ers had a 100-minute practice that overlapped with the Ravens by about 10 minutes. The Ravens were scheduled to go on the field around 4 p.m. central.
Jim Harbaugh said Wednesday that he would have no problems if the Ravens ended up practicing at the same facility.
“We’re focused on what we’re doing,’’ Harbaugh said. “I’m sure they are the same.’’
For the second consecutive day, the 49ers practiced at a crisp pace. After working indoors Wednesday because of the winds, the 49ers went outside for the first time in New Orleans.
The 49ers worked on their core offense, defense and special teams and devoted some time to situations.
“I thought yesterday was outstanding, but today was a photo copy of that,’’ Harbaugh said. “In some ways, it was maybe a little better. I’m real pleased, real pleased.’’
Harbaugh described his team as loose and focused at the same time.
“You don’t want burnt meat, stale bread or overripe fruit,’’ he said of the two quality practices. “It’s coming along nicely.’’
Linebackers Aldon Smith and Ahmad Brooks were limited in practice for the second consecutive day but did some work.
After 70 minutes, the 49ers moved into the Saints indoor facility. During that time, they tried some field goal kicking. Spontaneously, players started to yell to create crowd noise for David Akers. At one point, Aldon Smith grabbed some kind of an amplifier to further help with the noise as Akers kicked.
“That’s the first time they ever have done that in two years,’’ Harbaugh said of the manufactured crowd noise. “David made all of them (field goals), which was even better. His mechanics are real good. That bodes well. Good things will happen for us in that area.’’
The 49ers did turn on a simulated noise machine to give the team a crowd noise sound, something they could expect in Sunday’s game.
A shorter practice is scheduled for Friday.