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April 26, 2017

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49ers arrive in New Orleans, seek 'focus and unity': coach

NEW ORLEANS -- The San Francisco 49ers arrived in New Orleans on Sunday with head coach Jim Harbaugh hailing the team's "focus and unity" as they aim for a record-equaling sixth Super Bowl triumph against the Baltimore Ravens.

The NFC champions flew 1,900 miles (3,057 km) to the venue for the Feb. 3 title game and after barely an hour in the "Big Easy," Harbaugh started the first of six days of news conferences.

Harbaugh, whose brother John coaches the Ravens, said his team had handled well, the week following the NFC championship win over the Atlanta Falcons.

"Our team has been really focused. Focused on winning and the unity of the team," Harbaugh told reporters.

"I think it is really genuine and I think it is the best focus on unity and winning that I've ever seen or been a part of," he added.

While the weeklong build up to what is the most-watched annual event in the United States contained plenty of distractions with a stream of media and publicity events, Harbaugh said his aim was to try and have a regular routine.

"We try to make it like a normal week. We are in the city starting Monday like it is the week leading up to a Sunday game, that's our plan," he said.

"Our team enjoys the practice, the meetings and especially the competition. We will be gearing up for the competition of a championship game."

Harbaugh, competing in just his second season as a coach in the NFL, said he was looking forward to his first experience of the league's biggest game.

"Its uncharted waters for a rookie Super Bowl coach but that's exciting too. We have a great thrill and great desire to be in uncharted waters — our coaches and players have always relished and thrived in that kind of environment," he said.

The 49ers have not appeared in a Super Bowl for 18 years but the franchise which was so strong the 1980s, have won all five NFL title games that they have appeared in and another triumph would equal the Pittsburgh Steelers record of six victories.

"There is a great 49ers history with our team and we are proud of that," Harbaugh added.

"I played against some of those teams that were dominant. The organisation has a tremendous history (but) this is new business and our team is focused on winning a championship."

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