SANTA CLARA -- 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh today described the upcoming Super Bowl meeting between the 49ers and Baltimore Ravens, coached by his brother John, as a "blessing and a curse." It's the first time that two head-coaching brothers will meet in the Super Bowl, and Jim Harbaugh is already aware -- perhaps drawing from the experience of the Thanksgiving 2011 meeting between these two teams -- just how much attention that storyline is going to draw over the next two weeks.
"(It's) a blessing because that is my brother's team," Harbaugh said. "And also personally I played for the Ravens, have great respect for their organization, worked with (general manager) Ozzie Newsome and (former owner) Art Modell, his love and passion for the National Football League. Know many of the Baltimore Ravens players and have great respect for them and their team and I'm happy for them. Happy for us that we've made it to this point.
"The curse part would be the talk of two brothers playing in the Super Bowl, and what that takes away from the players that are in the game. Every moment that you're talking about myself or John, that's less time that the players are going to be talked about."
Harbaugh said he'll try to answer "as few as possible" questions when the teams get to New Orleans about the brother angle.
"I can choose to take the approach that this is our football team and we have to do what's best for our football team to win the next game," he said. "Our focus is always that, so it's easy to do that. The next game is the biggest game. The opponent we're playing is the opponent. We have to prepare. It doesn't matter who the coach is, what relationship you have with somebody on the opposite side. You're trying to beat them. That'll be my approach."
* Harbaugh indicated in no uncertain terms that David Akers is the 49ers' kicker going forward. Akers made just 69 percent of his field goals in the regular season, won an open practice competition at the beginning of the playoffs to keep his job, but missed his lone attempt from 38 yards on Sunday against Atlanta.
"The decision's been made," Harbaugh said. "David Akers is our kicker."
If the 49ers were looking for kicking help, they would not be able to return to the man they had in camp just last week. CSN Bay Area reported earlier today that league rules stipulate that because Billy Cundiff was waived during the playoffs, he is ineligible to join any team until after the Super Bowl.
-- Matt Kawahara