NEW ORLEANS -- Yes, the Baltimore Ravens do know that Super Bowl XLVII will be played in the Superdome, and that the Superdome is an indoor facility. That factoid, however, did not deter John Harbaugh's team from turning down the New Orleans Saints' offer to practice at their indoor facility on Wednesday after the San Francisco 49ers were done using it, but the Ravens decided instead to practice for almost two hours at Tulane's Greer Field baseball diamond, on a quickly-constructed 80-yard field.
That's all the yardage they could manage from foul pole to foul pole, according to SI.com's Peter King, who is providing the Ravens' practice reports this week. Only one assigned writer is allowed to attend and report on Super Bowl practices.
So, instead of the comfy confines of the Saints' place in Metairie, Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco was throwing bombs outside on a day of varied weather and wind gusts of up to 25 miles per hour.
“You know, I think Tulane has done a remarkable job," Harbaugh said on Thursday. "The people at Tulane – it has really been incredible what they’ve done there. They’re building a new stadium, and on campus 30,000 seat stadium. It’s going to be first class; it’s going to be beautiful. The people are so nice, so professional. Everything has been great at Tulane. The facility is under construction right now so that’s a little bit tough. It’s put us on the baseball field. We’re going to work some things out today to try to accomplish what we need to accomplish over the course of the week and we’re working that schedule out right now. We just have to see how that plays out. We’re working on that.”
According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, the Ravens are not planning to stick to the plan for Thursday afternoon's practice. Harbaugh, as he intimated, is working out the scheduling for the Metairie facility with brother Jim.
"Flacco had a sharp practice, hitting wideout Torrey Smith on one deep touchdown thrown through a crosswind," King wrote in his pool report. "Flacco also hit Anquan Boldin in tight coverage on a perfectly thrown ball downfield. Judging by one practice in difficult conditions, it appeared that the 10-day layoff since Baltimore’s last game has not affected the quarterback who has thrown eight touchdowns and no interceptions in the Ravens’ 3-0 playoff run."
“We had a great practice,’’ said coach John Harbaugh as his players left the field late Wednesday afternoon. “We didn’t like the wind, but we got all of our work done. Spirits are high. They looked great. Our players are upbeat and happy. They don’t complain about anything.”
Harbaugh didn't any specific reasons for the environmental switch, but he did say on Wednesday that the Ravens will also prepare for the noise of an indoor stadium. The coach may want to simulate the environment of a usual game week -- Super Bowl coaches talk about that all the time -- but the Ravens also have a practice bubble back at home in case of inclement weather.
“We've played in Atlanta, we’ve played in some of these places," Harbaugh said. "You’re right, we don’t play in domes very often. We have an indoor practice facility that helps us. We’ve been in there a lot of the last few months so we’re pretty sure we’ll be okay. We’re looking forward to it. It’s a great venue.”