NEW ORLEANS – What does Bourbon Street look like during the week leading up to Super Bowl XLVII?
Don’t ask Frank Gore.
San Francisco’s all-time leader in carries, rushing yards and rushing touchdowns hasn’t left his room for sightseeing this week in New Orleans. Excuse Gore, he’s too busy focused on the biggest game of his eight-year career, Super Bowl XLVII this Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens.
Gore’s story is quite unique. To know San Francisco’s feared running back is to know how much the game of football means to him. Being in the Super Bowl isn’t good enough; it’s an opportunity to represent for his friends and family. Most importantly, it’s a chance for Gore to pay another tribute to his late mother, Liz.
“My mother means everything to me,” Gore explained on Monday at the 49ers second media obligation of Super Bowl week. “She was a tough woman. She raised me and my brother and my sister. That was a lot of weight. I love her. She means everything. (This game is) for her.”
Gore enters Super Bowl XLVII with plenty of hardships under his belt. Asked about the injuries he’s suffered in both college and professionally, Gore said he’s had surgeries on both knees, both shoulders and his hip.
Still, the 29-year-old runner shows no signs of slowing down.
In Gore’s mind, the toughness of the 49ers running attack bodes well for the franchise bringing home a sixth Super Bowl title. It’s hard to know if the 49ers would have advanced to the big game if not for Gore’s 91 yards and pair of touchdown runs in the NFC Championship.
“It’s hard to break us,” Gore said. “We’re going to fight to the end. We have a great team.”
The 17-point comeback win over the Atlanta Falcons was a strong indication of how the 49ers have bounced-back from adversity all season long. Gore’s been that way, a fighter, throughout his football career.
After a productive collegiate career at the University of Miami, Gore’s made the postseason only twice in eight NFL seasons. As a young runner selected in the third-round of the 2005 NFL Draft, Gore dealt with coaching turnover and losing seasons with the 49ers. Through it all, his passion for the game never wavered.
“It was real tough,” Gore explained. “It was tough coming to work, especially for me, coming from a winning program in college. I wasn’t ever used to losing. I used to take it hard. I’m glad that Coach Harbaugh and his coaching staff came at the right time and we’ve done good things.”
“I’m just happy with our coaching style and who we have now,” Gore added. “It’s changed everything.”
With Greg Roman’s never-ending playbook of running plays, Gore rushed for his team-record sixth, 1,000-yard season in 2012. The production carried into the postseason where Gore (209) and quarterback Colin Kaepernick (202) stand as the NFC’s top two postseason rushers.
Gore’s certainly enjoying the offensive production as the team heads into Sunday’s matchup against the Baltimore Ravens, a team that features well-known linebacker Ray Lewis, a Miami alum like Gore.
“Ray is a great player,” Gore said. “He’s been doing it for a long time. He’s the best at the business. I love him. He’s like a brother (to me). We come from the same school.”
Gore even noticed how Lewis’ first career sack being televised this week. It just so happened to be against Jim Harbaugh, the man responsible for reshaping San Francisco’s professional football team.
Meanwhile, Gore, the 49ers rushing king, who reached the NFC title game last year under Harbaugh, sees an even more determined team in 2012. Based on how last season ended for the 49ers, it was tough for Gore to bounce-back, but he did it.
Gore said he sat out of the 2012 Pro Bowl because he was so disappointed in not reaching the Super Bowl. Looking to come back with a vengeance, Gore and teammates set new goals, mainly repeat as NFC West division champs and reach the Super Bowl.
"Once we got in the Super Bowl it was different, real different,” Gore said. “Last year we were kind of happy about beating New Orleans. This year, we beat Green Bay, but we were like, ‘Cool, let’s go get the next one.’ It’s just different. Our mindset was totally different this year than last year.”
The 49ers, like Gore, want it that much more this time around.
That will-to-win is fresh on everyone’s minds as they meet the press this week in New Orleans.
“This year everyone knew that we had a good team,” Gore said. “So we knew it was going to be tough and it was tough. We knew, in the locker room, that we have to be ready every week.”
The 49ers will need to be at their best to bring home the franchise’s sixth Super Bowl. Gore doesn’t see any pressure in keeping San Francisco’s perfect Super Bowl record intact either.
In his mind, it’s all about playing the team’s hard-nosed brand of football.
“We’re going to do our best as a team to win,” Gore said. “We want to win. We just have to go out there and do what we did all year, being the 49ers.”