Baltimore Ravens players were given a couple days off to plan for their trip to New Orleans to play the San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl but can expect to be all business when they return for practice on Thursday.
"You go to sleep at night, you sleep, you get up and you go to work. That's what we'll do," Ravens head coach John Harbaugh told reporters about how his players will prepare before leaving for New Orleans on Monday ahead of the February 3 clash.
"We've got too much work to do. This is the biggest game of the year. This is the best two weeks of the NFL football season. It's the weeks that you work for."
Baltimore's coaches will dive right into work to prepare for a 49ers team that boasts a rugged defense and an unpredictable offence led by double-threat quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who can make big plays by running as well as passing.
"We will be preparing this week as if we are playing the game this week," Harbaugh said. "We'll have to get as far down the road in our preparation this week as we possibly can, and we'll try to take advantage of every minute we possibly can to get ready to play this team."
Neither John Harbaugh nor his brother, Jim, head coach of the 49ers in what has been billed as the HarBowl, has taken a team to the Super Bowl, which brings its own unique set of logistical considerations.
Players need to sort out details such as tickets, flights and hotels for their family and friends.
Coaches and the front office have additional concerns including arranging a place to practice, offices for coaches and meeting rooms besides the chore of juggling media obligations in New Orleans with on-field work.
The Baltimore coach, however, has some familiarity with it having gone to the Super Bowl in 2005 with the Philadelphia Eagles as their special teams coordinator.
"The length of the game is different - the pre-game, halftime and all those things are different than a regular game," the Ravens leader said. "Just to try to prepare our guys for that."
(Reporting by Larry Fine in New York; Editing by Frank Pingue)