SANTA CLARA -- Jim Harbaugh's preparations for Super Bowl XLVII took an unexpected turn Friday morning when he called into a sports-talk radio show. Not just any show, however.
Harbaugh took notes while listening to sage advice from Pro Football Hall of Fame coach John Madden, who hosts a daily segment on KCBS 740-AM.
Madden coached the Raiders to their first Super Bowl championship, a 32-14 victory over the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl XI in January 1977. Harbaugh will try matching that feat Feb. 3 when his 49ers face the Baltimore Ravens in New Orleans.
"What advice can you give me as first-time coach going to the Super Bowl?" Harbaugh asked.
"You're a heck of a lot better coach than I ever was," Madden answered.
"Bullcrap. Bullcrap," Harbaugh responded.
"No, no. No bullcrap," said Madden. "The job you've done there, and I say this when you're not on here, is one of the all-time great coaching jobs."
From there, Madden gave Harbaugh pearls of wisdom on Super Bowl preparations.
"I just know the team that complains the most usually loses," Madden said. "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 repeated those nuggets while jotting them down, noting how the "complaint" item was "really profound."
At the end of their 10-minute chat, Harbaugh told Madden how appreciative he was and that
"He's go more important things to do," Madden said. "I was surprised he took that much time out to talk on the radio."
Twenty-four hours earlier, Harbaugh's older brother John, the Ravens' coach, made his own off-the-wall call.
Identifiying himself as "John from Baltimore," the older Harbaugh brother pulled a prank during a national-media conference call with his parents, Jack and Jackie, and sister Joani. John Harbaugh asked if it was true the parents liked Jim more, eliciting a pause before the parents figured out it was their oldest son.
In a later segment on KCBS, Madden said of Jim Harbaugh: "You know what he's going through and where he is and what it means. Whatever he's done before or going to do after, this is going to be one of the biggest things in his life.
"When you talk about memories and great times, he's living it right now. You talk about a game and the meaning of it. This game means so much and it means so much only if you win it."