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Harbaugh's parents have tough choice

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff  January 16, 2012 07:37 PM

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Ravens coach John Harbaugh has his team in the AFC Championship Game, but still isn't sure if his parents will be on hand Sunday in Foxborough to watch it.

That's because his parents must decide between that game and one in San Francisco in which his brother, Jim, will lead the 49ers as they play for the NFC title. He acknowledged they could split up and each attend one.

"It’s pretty neat. I’m proud of him. He’s proud of what we’re doing. Our parents are pretty fired up. They have a tough decision, you know?" Harbaugh said. "They’re at home; they’d have a place to stay. So, they will probably go out there, I guess. It’s good.”

Here's a selection of comments from Harbaugh, provided by the Ravens media relations staff:

How much was yesterday’s offensive performance based on just being rusty, or was it the Texans defense?
The Texans’ defense sure deserves a lot of credit. I wouldn’t say rust has anything to do with it.

What have you seen from the Patriots’ rushing defense?
I don’t have an answer for that right now.

What do you remember about you guys looking at Rob Gronkowski when he was coming out of the draft? He was a guy that had missed some time with the back [injury], but had obviously had a clean bill of health once he was picked. How interested were you guys in him? We were very interested in Rob. There were medical concerns, but we loved him – loved him as a player, loved him as a guy. We were pretty certain he was going to be a good player, and he’s exceeded our expectations.

Do you have an idea of how different New England is now from the last time you played them?
It’s hard to say that right now. Maybe more later in the week, [I’ll] talk about that. We just aren’t deep enough into them yet. Then [again], we probably wouldn’t share it with you anyway.

You achieved your goal of winning the division and you’re obviously closing in on the main goal. Would winning the AFC mean anything, or is that just a stepping-stone to where you want to be? It would mean a lot, but it’s not the ultimate goal. You’re not going to win something like that and just stop. You’re not going to say, ‘That’s enough, we don’t expect to go any further.’ In hockey, they don’t touch the [conference] trophy, right? Is that how it works? (Reporter: “That’s right. It’s bad luck.”) It’s bad luck to touch the trophy. I don’t think we have that superstition in football, but we’re going to be proud of that trophy if we can manage – just like we’re proud of this last division [win]. We’re proud of every accomplishment. We’re humbled by every defeat. And then you look ahead, and really, to me, that’s the answer. That’s what we’ll do, just like that’s what we’re going to do this week. That’s what we always do.

What have you seen from the Patriots defense?
I see a 13-3 … 14-3 defense. That’s what I see. That’s the bottom line. They’re good enough to be 14-3. So, it’s pretty impressive.

Can you explain the importance of Joe Flacco beyond just the numbers?
I’ve done that many times, and I don’t really feel like running down all those things right now. I can just tell you in this last game, he won, and his quarterback rating was what? (Reporter: “Ninety-seven.”) Ninety-seven. That’s a winning performance, and Joe – I told him last night – I thought he played very, very well. In a lot of situations in this game when he was under duress, he handled himself really well. There were plenty of things he’d like to have back and could have done better, and he’d be the first to tell you that. So, you just try to get better, you try to improve and you try to play winning football, no matter what position you play. And that’s what we value around here.

News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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