In covering Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh for more than five seasons, there are three areas that he believes are key to winning: hard work, attention to detail and preparation.
This is even more evident when you look at how every minute of his day is devoted to making the Ravens better, outside of those brief moments with the family. Harbaugh gave a rare rundown of his weekly schedule to Kevin Van Valkenburg of ESPN The Magazine, which includes reviewing the offensive game plan while on the treadmill, bringing his dad in to watch game tape, and sleeping at Ravens headquarters.
"Sleeping at the office is about maximizing my time," Harbaugh said. "I can get more done if I eliminate time I'd spend driving home. Plus, if I come home too late, chances are I'll wake up my wife."
This exhaustive schedule shows why coaches like John Fox and Gary Kubiak are dealing with health issues. Harbaugh not only sits in on the meetings for offense, defense and special teams, he makes sure he has a pulse of the locker room. He eats breakfast and lunch with players, and he meets with the "player leadership committee" the day after the game.
The most stressful part of the week is Monday through Wednesday. That's the time when coaches need to dissect the opponent and formulate the game plan before the three days of practice. Monday and Tuesday are the nights where he's up to 11:15 watching tape of the upcoming opponent. The week eases up, which is a relative term in the coaching world, by Friday. That's when he gets a chance to play basketball with his daughter and read "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" with her.
But it's quickly game day on Sunday, and the weekly grind continues for Harbaugh and the rest of the NFL coaches.