NEW ORLEANS -- After 60 minutes and probably 100 questions, Jim Harbaugh launched himself down the podium steps Tuesday with the same tight smile he had going up an hour earlier.
How'd Super Bowl media day go for you, Jim?
"Enjoyed it," Harbaugh said with nod of his head.
I think he was telling the truth, mostly -- Harbaugh certainly seemed determined to embrace his responsibility, the role and the entertainment value of the media madness.
The 49ers coach was patient throughout this long-anticipated endurance test, even during the 20 questions about playing against his brother John's Baltimore Ravens.
He was pleasant. He didn't snarl at anybody.
Harbaugh batted away the obviously
And through most of the session, his wife, Sarah, stood nearby with a smile that broadened more and more as the man of the hour kept (sort of) smiling.
"He was actually very prepared," Sarah Harbaugh told me near the end of the period.
"When I talked to him last night, I said, 'You know, you've got an hour tomorrow. You've got to be kind and happy.' And he was up for the challenge. And he was excited to do it.
"I'm just seeing him now, but I guess he's done well today. I'm happy. He's spunky."
Harbaugh had a few prepared answers, carefully explained why he has no plans to meet with his brother until Friday's joint news
It was a Harbaugh-Plus performance, and it had to please 49ers officials who may or may not have been holding their breaths on this one.
Harbaugh shot down a few bizarre questions ("are you making sport of me?" he fired back at one TV reporter), but also smartly made light fun of his closed-in world view.
Sample answer, when asked about social media: "The Tweeters? My personal opinion is it's a time drain -- a lot of time is used on the Facebook-ing and the Tweeter and things like that," Harbaugh said.
"It seems unnecessary. Just seems like a modern-day diary. Seems like you're just writing your thoughts down in diary form, and I was never a diary guy."
He gave his most telling, most thought-out reply (twice) when he was asked directly about the emotions of coaching against his brother.
"The thing I also think about is the San Francisco 49ers, our players, they're my brothers," Harbaugh said, before launching into a passage from Shakespeare's "Henry V."
" 'For he who sheds blood with me shall also be my brother.' And I feel that about our players. I felt that and still do about our Stanford players and our (University of San Diego) players."
That's pure Harbaugh--it's not a big deal to be playing against his brother for a championship because everybody on the 49ers is a brother to him, metaphorically.
And he wants to win. That's always the first and only focus.
Harbaugh will never be a stand-up comedian or world-class orator, but that wasn't bad for this moment and this game.
"He is who he is to a 'T' all the time," Sarah Harbaugh said. "And he'll never change. Even the things I really want him to change, he really won't." And what would some of those things be?
"Oh, let's see -- chewing tobacco," Sarah Harbaugh said, laughing. "His outfits.
"But all that stuff, I've grown to love. It's just Jim, and he's going to be who he is, and no one's going to change him, not even me."
Harbaugh didn't put on a new persona for media day, but he got through it. The big day passed, without incident.
That's a win for the 49ers, and now they move on to winning the actual game.
That's what Harbaugh was thinking about Tuesday, I'm sure, for all 60 minutes -- not the questions, or the questioners, or his brother, or anything else.
Winning the game. Which he again referred to when asked what it'd feel like to console his brother if the 49ers won on Sunday.
"Life is full of bitter disappointments," Harbaugh said. "I think we all understand this going into this game.
"Both want to desperately win, be a part of a championship, the great thrill of winning. We understand the other side of that and we'll do everything in our power not to let that happen."
That's the soul of Harbaugh, that's who he is. He kept the smile on his face and stayed patient for 60 minutes.
But every answer circled back to the same basic answer: Jim Harbaugh lives to win, not to talk about it.
He did just fine at media day, because he viewed it as a necessary step toward the real victory.