NEW ORLEANS (AP) - The Baltimore Ravens’ reputation for trash-talking arrived at the Super Bowl before they did.
While the Ravens were en route from Baltimore to the Big Easy, the San Francisco 49ers were already preparing for war of words with the chattiest team in the NFL.
“Most teams don’t really talk that much, but I’ve heard stories about them talking a lot,” San Francisco guard Alex Boone said. “Guys have told me not to get into it with them. We’re not here to get into a yelling match.”
That might change a bit Sunday when both teams play for the NFL championship at the Superdome.
The Ravens developed their swagger years ago under coach Brian Billick, who rarely backed away from a microphone and made no effort to put a muzzle on his players, most notably Shannon Sharpe and Tony Siragusa _ both of whom are now being paid to blab as television commentators.
Baltimore’s current coach, John Harbaugh, doesn’t encourage such brashness. But he won’t stop it, either. After the Ravens beat New England to win the AFC championship, Baltimore safety Bernard Pollard insisted that Patriots quarterback Tom Brady should be fined for a leg-up slide even though Brady apologized afterward.
Linebacker Terrell Suggs topped that in an interview with Yahoo Sports, calling the Patriots “arrogant” and telling them “to have fun at the Pro Bowl.”
Now that he’s on football’s biggest stage, Suggs has taken it down a few decibels, judging by his tone at Monday’s media interviews. Here’s a bulletin: He said nothing the 49ers might consider clipping from a newspaper and pinning to the bulletin board for motivation.
“I’m going to talk to you guys with the obligated time that I’m supposed to talk to you guys … and I’m going to stick to that,” Suggs said.
Asked if he might say something juicy later in the week, Suggs replied, “Nothing I do is scripted. You’ve got to wait and see what I come up with.”
“Our guys are class guys. We’ll play with character, we’ll play with class,” Harbaugh said. “We’ll be a tough, hard-nosed football team. That’s the way we’ll play. Before the game, after the game.”
That’s not what the 49ers have heard.
“Talk is cheap. I’ll leave it at that,” linebacker NaVorro Bowman said. “We’ve all got to play with those pads on. That’s what does the talking for us.”
Linebacker Ray Lewis does much of the talking for the Baltimore defense. After leading the unit in an emotional chant following each pregame workout, Lewis yells the signals on the field and usually has something bold to say to an opponent he’s dropped to the turf.