Harbaugh in a 'hoodie' to watch Manning

March 28, 2012, 12:18 am
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They did not fly commercial. And the private jet of 49ers ownership registered no flight to North Carolina.One of the great mysteries of the 49ers' late involvement in the pursuit of Peyton Manning was how coach Jim Harbaugh and offensive coordinator Greg Roman could travel unseen to North Carolina to watch Manning throw passes.Less than a week later, it didn't take long for Alex Smith to be spotted on his red-eye flight from San Francisco to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on his free-agent visit to the Dolphins. So if Harbaugh and Roman had gone through any airport terminal, you can be sure, they would've been spotted.
Sports Illustrated's Peter King puts together a timeline of the Manning events, and it helps explain the lengths the 49ers went to plan their clandestine operation -- which was known by a "handful or fewer" 49ers employees.
Let's put it this way, Harbaugh wasn't walking around wearing his standard black 49ers sweatshirt and khakis. Clearly, the 49ers put a lot of effort into making sure their interest in Manning was kept secretive.After traveling cross-country, Harbaugh and Roman viewed Manning's workout at night on a lighted field on the Duke campus."First they watched from a car by the side of the field, then, to get a better view, they came onto the field, hoodies pulled over their heads so as not to be recognized by some nosy iPhoner," King wrote.Manning later sent a text message to his mother, Olivia: "You'll never guess who I just worked out for. He was wearing a hoodie."His mother's reply?"Bill Belichick?"