Harbaugh: Our fans turned that stadium into a fortress


Harbaugh: Our fans turned that stadium into a fortress

SANTA CLARA -- Coach Jim Harbaugh generally does not like to root for a particular outcome that impacts which opponent his team faces.But he had a couple different reasons to want the New York Giants to defeat the Green Bay Packers. The Giants' 37-20 victory over the top-seeded Packers means that the 49ers will remain home for the NFC Championship Game on Sunday at 3:30 p.m."In terms of having the game here, that is an advantage for us," Harbaugh said Monday. "And I really say that after feeling the game this past Saturday in Candlestick."Our fans turned that stadium into a fortress. That's as good as it can get. Our crowd was behind us. Our players felt it. It was a great environment. It felt like somebody locked the gates and put us in here, and we have 70,000 and a city behind us. It just felt that way. It felt good. It felt like an advantage."The 49ers capitalized on that home-field advantage for a 36-32 victory over the New Orleans Saints on Saturday in an NFC divisional playoff game. Then, Harbaugh and his staff watched the Giants-Packers game to see which team would join the 49ers alive in the NFC end of the bracket."If I ever root, it's for the team that's playing harder," Harbaugh said. "And it became evident that the Giants were playing harder and just executing better, and played as a team. That's a formidable opponent. That's a worthy opponent. That is a scary opponent. That's one that we will have to come with every ounce of our 'A game,' as well."Giants coach Tom Coughlin described his squad as "a dangerous team." So how dangerous are the 49ers?"We're a good football team," Harbaugh said. "I like our team. I think we're a tough team when we're prepared and we have our focus and we fight like we did, shoot, every game we played this year. We're a darn tough team to beat."

Roger Goodell: 'What we are trying to stay out of is politics'


Roger Goodell: 'What we are trying to stay out of is politics'

NEW YORK — The NFL is not changing its national anthem policy to require players to stand during the national anthem.

Commissioner Roger Goodell and several owners said Wednesday at the league’s fall meetings that altering the language from “should stand” to “must stand” was not discussed.

New York Giants owner John Mara noted that Cowboys owner Jerry Jones “spoke at length” to the other owners about the anthem issue. Jones has said any Dallas player who doesn’t stand for “The Star-Spangled Banner” would not be playing.

Goodell reiterated that the league and its 32 clubs “believe everyone should stand for the national anthem. It’s an important part of our policy and the game. It’s important to honor our flag and our country and I think our fans expect that.”

Asked about any owners who threatened discipline for players who didn’t stand, Goodell said the owners didn’t discuss it.

“There was a fair amount of conversation and I think our clubs see it the same way. I can’t deal with hypotheticals,” Goodell said.

Reminded that President Donald Trump tweeted again Wednesday about the demonstrations during the anthem, Goodell said there was nothing unpatriotic about his league.

“Everyone feels strongly about our country and have pride,” he said, adding the NFL is “not afraid of tough conversations.

“What we are trying to stay out of is politics.”

Goodell noted that only six or seven players are still kneeling or are involved in protests.

“We hope we will continue to work to put that at zero,” he said.

On Tuesday, in an unprecedented move for a league meeting, a group of 11 owners and more than a dozen players met for more than two hours at NFL headquarters. Among the topics discussed was enhancing the players’ platforms for speaking out on social issues.

“I understand the way they feel about these issues,” Goodell said Wednesday. “We feel the same about patriotism and the flag and I believe our players feel that way. We have a great deal of support for the efforts of our players.”

Trump blasts NFL for not demanding players stand during national anthem


Trump blasts NFL for not demanding players stand during national anthem

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is again criticizing the NFL over players kneeling during the national anthem.

Trump said on Twitter Wednesday that the “NFL has decided that it will not force players to stand for the playing of our National Anthem.”

He adds: “Total disrespect for our great country!”

Trump appeared to be responding to the NFL annual fall meeting on Tuesday. The league invited players and representatives from their union to discuss social issues.

The topic of the national anthem was not discussed at length. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said owners did not ask players to commit to standing during the anthem.

Trump has suggested the owners should “fire” any players who knelt during “The Star-Spangled Banner.”