STEELERS vs. RAVENS AFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME SUNDAY, JANUARY 18, 2009 KICKOFF IS AT 6:30 P.M. HEINZ FIELD
RAVENS CONFERENCE CALLS
HEAD COACH JOHN HARBAUGH
When your brother was throwing that pass at Three Rivers Stadium 13 years ago, where were you?
My wife and I had an apartment in Cincinnati and I was coaching the University of Cincinnati and we had just finished up a recruiting weekend. We were watching the game and I thought he caught the ball too.
Are you hoping for a different outcome this year in the AFC Championship game?
You know the amazing thing about that whole drive was it really came down to about three plays even before that like it usually does with the Colts that the Steelers came up and made some plays on defense. The Colts may have dropped an interception and got tripped up on a draw or something like that that could have won it even before that. In the Harbaugh family that game is kind of historic.
Can you talk about some of the problems James Harrison presents on the outside, particularly when you have to play at his field?
Well, he's a great player and he has a high motor. He is powerful and he's built for leverage, so he's got a pretty unique build as a football player. He combines it with speed and quickness and all those things. You know he's the best defensive player in the NFL this year according to the voters.
What did you know about Rex Ryan coming into the season and what have you learned since working with him?
I've known him since the 80's when we coached against each other in the Ohio Valley Conference. Then we worked together at the University of Cincinnati in the 90's. So we have become and stayed friends ever since. I knew what kind of a man he was, what kind of a person he was, and really what kind of a coach he was. Having worked with him for a year, I knew he was a great coach. Having been with him this year, that's only grown stronger. I don't know that I have learned anything new. I've probably had a chance to sit with him in more meetings and see that part of what he does, a big part of what he does, that is so unique, is that he has such a great rapport with the players and is just a tremendous includer of everybody in the room. That may be one of his greatest motivational strengths
Does that have any effect this week with his name (Rex Ryan) coming up for jobs? Is that any kind of a distraction?
He's totally focused. That's no distraction.
Would you be shocked if there were a lot of points scored in this game?
No we never try to make predictions or comparisons or anything like that. You can't do that in the NFL. We leave the predicting up to you guys. We just try to go out there and see what happens and try to react to it, I guess, and try to find a way to win a game. Other than that, it just doesn't benefit to try and figure that stuff out.
Did Frank Walker spit on Mitch Berger in the last game? The Steelers say it did happen.
I think that has been established that that didn't happen. The things that we do know that happened were Frank was rushing the field goal, just like we assigned him to do, coming off the edge. He got blocked by the wing just like he was suppose to do. I guess Mitch (Berger) for some reason thought he was trying to take out Jeff's (Reed) knee. We saw it on tape. That did not happen. He was not trying to do that. That was clear on tape. Mitch (Berger), he's a good guy, I got a lot of respect for him, reacted and jumped up in Frank's (Walker) face for some reason. That's what we know happened. After that, pretty well established, that we know didn't happen. I believe Frank (Walker). He told me he didn't spit in anyone's face and I respect him and believe him, got no reason not to.
Joe Flacco – Not a rookie according to Tomlin; Do you subscribe to that?
We never subscribe to that and it doesn't matter. The Rookie quarterback label is one that makes sense when you write a label or talk about a guy, I understand that. But for us, he is our quarterback and he has been our quarterback. He has played really well. He is our guy. He the guy we are going to try to win football games with and that is what he is.
Can you talk about guys who are injured and the physical state from last week?
Not really, wouldn't be a need to talk about it. It is what it is.
Re: Steelers running the football
They've always been a really good running team. I think they are committed to running the football. They are just a fundamentally, solid, sound football team under Mike Tomlin and it has been for years. They continue that tradition. They are very physical in what they do. We have always has respect for their running game. Obviously they have a really good back, tremendous offensive line. It is important to them to run the ball and we always know that it is something when you play the Pittsburgh Steelers you are going to have to defend.
Did Willie Parker look healthier and more confident to you?
I didn't even look at it like that. We didn't say he is more confident than he is before, you just look at the standpoint of structure and talent, ability and what he is doing and try to figure out a way to defend him as best you can.
What impresses you about Ben Roethlisberger?
I'm most impressed that he chose Miami University. I am most proud of that because he is a fellow alum and I've always been proud of the fact that he went there and played well for our school. I think as a football player in the NFL, he is a proven winner. He is very difficult to defend because he is so strong and so courageous and he finds a way to make plays, moving around the pocket, throwing the ball on time. He is accurate. He is just a very dangerous guy.
Do you have discussions with your team about Hines Ward getting under players' skin and causing penalties?
I don't think Hines Ward is trying to get under anybody's skin. He is trying to play the football game and he is a competitive guy and our guys know all of the Steelers players as well as they know us. We know what kind of game it is going to be and we expect it to be hard fought, disciplined, tough, clean football game.
*How do you feel about trash talking and what is said between these two teams?
I'm pretty sure if you watch this year you haven't seen us do any trash talking. We are just focused on playing football games and trying to win a championship.
Do you address trash talking with your guys?
No we talk about a lot of things with our guys.