Harbaugh's lesson from Belichick

Head coach Bill Belichick watches the Patriots practice in preparation for the AFC championship game. (Winslow Townson/AP Photo)

I know this is a baseball blog, but with the NFL's conference championships on Sunday, I've decided to relay a little story about the two head coaches in the AFC championship game.

Three weeks after the Eagles lost the Super Bowl to the New England Patriots in early 2005, I ran into John Harbaugh in a hotel bar during the scouting combine in Indianapolis. Harbaugh, then the Eagles' special teams coordinator and now the Baltimore Ravens head coach, was excited because he had just come from a conversation with Patriots coach Bill Belichick.

Harbaugh said halfway through his conversation with Belichick, he realized that the three-time Super Bowl champion coach was picking his brain and pumping him for information that might help him at some point in the future.

"So I thought, 'I have to come up with something to get out of him,' " Harbaugh told me.

At the time, Nick Saban had just left LSU to become the head coach of the Miami Dolphins. Saban and Belichick are close friends.

Harbaugh's question for Belichick: "Do you think Saban will be successful in Miami?"

"Oh yeah," Belichick said.

"Why?" Harbaugh countered.

"He'll get rid of all the (wimps)," Belichick said.

As the Ravens get ready to play Belichick's Patriots for a trip to the Super Bowl, I wonder if Harbaugh used that conversation to help build a Baltimore team that has reached the playoffs in every season since he has been there.