Eddie DeBartolo Jr. didn't say hello, clear his throat or even pause a beat to make sure my call had been transferred smoothly.

The rat-a-tat-tat former 49ers owner just picked up the phone in his Tampa, Fla., office on Tuesday and barked two words:

"Go Packers!"

Then he laughed, of course, and I joked that I always knew DeBartolo was a rabid Green Bay fan, despite all those fateful playoff clashes in the 1990s.

"Are you crazy? I hate that team!" DeBartolo said with a chortle at high amplification. "I have nightmares about the Packers and the Cowboys."

And so began another lively conversation with DeBartolo, who was, no surprise, locked in on the 49ers' Saturday playoff meeting with Green Bay ... and things beyond.

He said he'd just sent an email to his nephew, 49ers CEO Jed York, telling him to "enjoy the moment" and understand that coach Jim Harbaugh had everything under control.

But DeBartolo also admitted that he could never relax leading into all the big games of his Super Bowl-studded 49ers' ownership, and he had the luxury of Bill Walsh and George Seifert handling things.

"I don't care who agrees with me or doesn't agree with me, and that includes sports writers, I guess, the 49ers are way better than the Packers," DeBartolo said.

"I think they're totally on a par with Denver. I don't think New England is as good as Denver.

"Now this is just some idiot sitting in Tampa that thinks he knows what he's talking about, but it'll be déjà vu; I think the 49ers will be playing Denver in the Super Bowl."

And yes, DeBartolo says the 49ers will beat Denver in the big game.

DeBartolo brought that potential meeting up with a particular enthusiasm because 23 years ago, Seifert brought Joe Montana and the 49ers to play John Elway's Broncos in Super Bowl XXIV, and won 55-10.

This year's Super Bowl is in New Orleans. Site of that Super Bowl? New Orleans, naturally.

"It was, it sure was," DeBartolo said. "Déjà vu.

"I sat with Bill Walsh the entire game. We watched the game together. I was nervous as could be until about three or four minutes into the game.

"I said to Bill, 'This is going to be a real barn burner.' He said, 'Will you relax? Everybody's open, this game will be a blowout.'"

DeBartolo said he just likes the way the current 49ers have been built and thought they were the best team last season, too.

And as the man who ran the 49ers during the tumultuous Montana/Steve Young quarterback controversy, DeBartolo has credibility to speak about the Alex Smith/Colin Kaepernick switcheroo this season.

"That happens," DeBartolo said. "What are you going to do? Obviously, the coaching staff and Coach Harbaugh have confidence in Kaepernick right now.

"Alex Smith is a really good quarterback; he was coming into his own. He did have a concussion. That's a decision that the coach had to make, and he made it. Of course I feel bad for Alex Smith.

"We had some situations like that. Ours were a little more contentious than the one that's going on now. But that happens. It's part of life and it's part of football."

Mostly, DeBartolo raved about the leadership and decision-making of his nephew, who hired Harbaugh, general manager Trent Baalke and many other new executives.

The key: The 49ers have pushed their new Santa Clara stadium toward a 2014 completion while simultaneously establishing themselves as an elite NFL team.

"Jed's had his plate full," DeBartolo said. "And Jed has been exactly the way he should be. He's been behind the scenes, working on the stadium with the people he's hired, he's got that thing going up and moving, he's done a great job. Kudos to him.

"All the fans in the Bay Area, they ought to be thrilled ... I think he's done just a phenomenal job. And he's kept the family in the background."

By the way, DeBartolo is a semifinalist again for the Pro Football Hall of Fame election, and will find out in a week or so if he made the finalist list.

DeBartolo's deserved enshrinement is complicated by his suspension and forced transferring of the team to his sister, Denise DeBartolo York, after the 1999 season because of his ties to a Louisiana racketeering scandal and his guilty plea for failing to report a felony.

On another nostalgic front, I asked DeBartolo if he planned to attend a 49ers game during their Candlestick swan song next season.

"For what?" DeBartolo said with a laugh. "I guess they're going to blow it up? It served its purpose. Although they're going to be playing there next year.

"I'm going to come to a game or two next year. I'll say goodbye before something happens or something falls in.

"How long ago was it I called it a pig sty? A long time ago."

It was 1985 when DeBartolo made that infamous and relatively accurate Candlestick pronouncement -- a long, long time ago.

But when you talk to Eddie D, and he raises his voice to make a joke or a great point, and the 49ers are winning again, it can sound like right here, right now, all over again.

Contact Tim Kawakami at tkawakami@mercurynews.com. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/TimKawakami.