NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Soon after arriving in New Orleans for the Super Bowl late Monday afternoon, the Baltimore Ravens found out exactly why this football game is different from all the rest.
Coach John Harbaugh and several players were surrounded by hundreds of members of the media at the team hotel, and there were still plenty of questions to be asked before Harbaugh, then the players, were whisked away by Ravens officials.
Wearing the same suits they wore to travel from Baltimore, Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Terrell Suggs, Matt Birk and Joe Flacco sat behind raised tables while being peppered with questions.
Harbaugh was asked how it would be possible to cope with the distractions while preparing his team for Sunday's game against the San Francisco 49ers.
He said the team is operating on a regular schedule — except for various interview sessions with the media.
'"It's your fault," he told the crowd reporters, cameramen and photographers, grinning all the while.
Harbaugh wore a dark suit and striped tie. After someone commented on his attire, which was a sharp contrast to the sweat shirt usually worn by his brother Jim, coach of the 49ers, John Harbaugh said, "My wife picked it out. Thank you."
Earlier, after the Ravens' charter plane came to a stop on the tarmac at Louis Armstrong International Airport, a purple Ravens flag was held up against the cockpit window by one of the pilots.
Harbaugh was among the first off the plane. He smiled and nodded at onlookers as he descended the stairs from the plane, then gave an airport worker a friendly pat on the shoulder.
Most Ravens players wore suits and ties and walked matter-of-factly from the plane to a waiting bus without gesturing in any noticeable way. Ray Lewis looked professorial in a gray suit and glasses as he strode with purpose across the tarmac.
The 49ers arrived Sunday night.