John Harbaugh said when the Baltimore Ravens' schedule was released in the spring, the date Nov. 23 got stuck in his mind.
"I just remembered the date, for whatever reason," Harbaugh told reporters at his news conference in Baltimore Monday. "That got stuck in my mind a little bit. That might be the only one I remember the exact date on."
Understandable. The Ravens' head coach spent 10 seasons in Philadelphia, working nine as the special teams coordinator and his final one as the secondary coach. He knows the Eagles' organization better than any in football.
Harbaugh tried to say this game doesn't carry any extra weight for him, but by the time he was done saying it he had essentially admitted otherwise.
"Not really," he said. "I'd like to say it does. I think it'd be a good story. It'd be interesting to talk about it. I've got a lot of great relationships there. I love those guys -- the coaching staff, players, people who are really good friends. But the Ravens are my football team. The guys in this room that just had this team meeting in here, these are my guys and I'm proud to be their coach. It's more about our guys than it is about their guys, for sure.
"I know you say, 'Well, that's what he's going to say.' Now, competitively, you're going against your brothers. It means something. It's exciting. There's a little bit of something at stake and it'll be fun before the game. But when the game starts, it's going to be our players playing against their players and whoever plays the best is going to win. It wouldn't be much of a showdown between me and coach Reid out there. I think I'd be able to cover him and he'd probably be able to block me. That'd be my guess."
Harbaugh has done a terrific job in his rookie season as the Ravens' head coach. Baltimore, 6-4, has already won once more than it did a year ago despite starting rookie quarterback Joe Flacco, a first-round pick from Audubon High School in South Jersey and the University of Delaware. You can read more about Flacco from Marc Narducci in tomorrow's Inquirer.