The squeaky wheel may get the grease, but it doesn't get the Vince Lombardi Trophy. This, according to John Madden, who had 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh in rapt attention and jotting down notes when Harbaugh appeared on Madden's radio show this morning.
"I just know the team that complains the most usually loses," Madden said on KCBS 740-AM. "The other thing I know is, you haven't done anything yet. The team that celebrates having gotten there the most usually loses a little focus."
Harbaugh liked that message so much, he had the players gather around him following the late-morning walk-through and relayed it to them. "I thought it was really good insight - some that I've never heard before and shared it with the team just a few minutes ago," Harbaugh said during his Friday press conference.
Harbaugh, who was an assistant coach when the Raiders went to the Super Bowl in 2002, said he would have a set of rules and curfews for his players in New Orleans, which he declined to discuss. But he insisted he wanted the 49ers to enjoy the experience.
"I want them to enjoy every minute and especially enjoy the competition," he said. "And that's the most exciting thing to look forward to - playing the game, that ball being kicked off."
This was Harbaugh's second press conference since the 49ers' 28-24 win over the Falcons Sunday. He will have to address the media six times beginning Sunday, and he's bound to get the sort of questions he doesn't like - such as ones he's answered before - during the week. Given Madden's advice, is this going to be an issue for him?
Said Harbaugh: "I don't know where you've gotten the impression that I don't enjoy talking to the media or the fans. I do enjoy these sessions." (a few guffaws ensued).
Harbaugh also said he's been in contact with another former pro coach from the Bay Area, Tony La Russa this week. Asked what La Russa told him, Harbaugh said, "Nothing that I would share. Tony doesn't quite like it when I do that."
The reporters who cover the 49ers on a daily basis voted Gore the winner of the annual Garry Niver Award. The honor is given to the player who is most professional and cooperative in dealing with the media. Niver was a long-time beatwriter who covered the 49ers for the San Mateo Times.
The 49ers will hold their final practice of the week tomorrow (Saturday) before taking off to New Orleans on Sunday.
Running back Kendall Hunter, who tore his Achilles tendon in New Orleans Nov. 25, has been out of a walking boot for two days. Hunter said he's trying to "take it slow" as far as his rehabilitation but that he aims to be at full strength before training camp in July.