Connections abundant as Ravens, 49ers convene in New Orleans


NEW ORLEANS — With the San Francisco 49ers having already arrived in New Orleans Sunday night and the Ravens landing on Monday afternoon, much of the Super Bowl discussion will be dominated by the Harbaugh brother, but the organizations are linked in a number of other ways.
John and Jim Harbaugh are the first pair of brothers to be NFL head coaches, but a number of other coaches, players, and personnel share ties with the opposite side in some shape or form.
Struggling 49ers kicker David Akers never played in Baltimore, but he has played for both Harbaugh brothers as Akers worked with John Harbaugh in Philadelphia from 1999 through 2007 and has played in San Francisco in the last two seasons.
Baltimore’s No. 3 tight end Billy Bajema was selected by the 49ers in the seventh round of the 2005 draft and spent four seasons with San Francisco, playing in 61 games. Meanwhile, former Ravens linebacker Tavares Gooden has spent the last two years in San Franciso after spending the first three seasons of his career in Baltimore.
The coaching ranks of each team is strongly connected as well as San Francisco defensive coordinator Vic Fangio worked under both Harbaughs. Before joining Jim Harbaugh at Stanford in 2010, Fangio served as special assistant to the head coach and linebackers coach for the Ravens in 2008 and 2009. Current 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman was an assistant offensive line coach for the Ravens in 2006 and 2007.
Meanwhile, Ravens wide receivers coach Jim Hostler was the quarterbacks coach in San Francisco for two years before he was promoted to the 49ers’ offensive coordinator position in 2007. Baltimore’s offensive line coach Andy Moeller was a teammate of Jim Harbaugh at the University of Michigan from 1983 through 1986. Ravens defensive quality control coach Matt Weiss has also worked under both Harbaugh brothers as he was an assistant for Jim Harbaugh’s staff at Stanford for four years before being hired by Baltimore in 2009.
The connections even stretch to the front office as 49ers director of player personnel Tom Gamble worked as a pro scout for Baltimore during the 1997 season.
Three Maryland natives are currently playing for San Francisco, including linebacker NaVorro Bowman, linebacker Cam Johnson, and tight end — and University of Maryland product — Vernon Davis. Five Ravens players hail from California: linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo, tight ends Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson, and cornerbacks Asa Jackson and Jimmy Smith.
The Baltimore head coach will address the media for the first time in New Orleans Monday at 6:45 p.m. ET and will be followed by media sessions with quarterback Joe Flacco, linebackers Ray Lewis and Terrell Suggs, running back Ray Rice, safety Ed Reed, and center Matt Birk.