NEW ORLEANS -- Jim Harbaugh, whose tolerance for prying questions is limited in the best of circumstances, already has seemed on edge regarding the repetition of queries from the 5,000 or so media members at the Super Bowl.
Will he be able to withstand an entire week of this kind of journalistic onslaught? The person in this city who knows him best was asked just that question Monday.
"By all means, take your shot," John Harbaugh, Jim's older brother, jokingly prodded the reporters at his first Super Bowl news conference. "Keep asking him."
The difference in demeanor between the two has never been as clear-cut as it is when they're in the same city preparing for the same game. While Jim arrived wearing khakis and a fleece, John showed up in a dark suit and purple tie. While Jim has labored to answer questions -- he gave a one-word reply to one -- John has embraced the event's circus nature. "It's OK that it's a little bit different," he said.
Of course, Jim has been here for a whole day longer than John. Eventually, the scrutiny of having to answer the same questions over and over again may force both of their heads to spin. But John Harbaugh said that won't be the case.
"I will not crack," he vowed with a smile . . . and a challenge. "You can ask me the same question time and time again. It's going to be the same answer. How long can you last getting the same answer to the same question?"
By the end of the week, we'll find out whose sanity is left standing.
"[He's] another person really to credit in Colin's success because Alex has really helped coach Colin and has been right there by his side," Harbaugh said. "Sitting there in meetings every single day. He coaches Colin now more than I do, and that speaks highly of the kind of person and teammate that Alex Smith is."
49ers running back Frank Gore said he is excited to get his turn on a national stage after a productive career that has existed mostly in the shadows of a bad team on the West Coast. "Coming-out party, baby!" he grinned . . . John Harbaugh, who was on the Eagles' staff when they played in Super Bowl XXXIX, said he was given a book on Super Bowl planning "that thick" (while holding his thumb and forefinger about three inches apart) by Andy Reid. "That's Andy, that's meticulous," Harbaugh said. As for his memories of that experience, he said they were basic. He recalled it was in Jacksonville and it was cold that week. "And the fact that we didn't win," he said. "You never forget that."